• Bust of Paulo Freire
Attallah College of Educational Studies

» Paulo Freire Democratic Project

The Paulo Freire Democratic Project (PFDP) is a collection of local, regional, and international initiatives based in Chapman University’s Attallah College of Education Studies. These initiatives reflect the political, pedagogical, and ethical imperatives of the great Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, and capture his democratic struggle for social justice. Originally supported by the Jack H. and Paula A. Hassinger Chair in Education, the PFDP began at Chapman’s Attallah College in 1996. It is the living and lasting effect of the inspiration of Paulo Freire upon the hearts, minds, and work of academic scholars and community activists.

Starting with a small group of Chapman professors dedicated to certain core principles concerning education and justice, the project has since grown in numbers. Academic scholars and graduate students from a number of institutions and disciplines, as well as community activists, are part of the project. Through dialogue and action, members re-envision the philosophy of Freire in our contemporary moment. Critical consciousness of injustice and oppression, as well as the material and epistemological forces that perpetuate it in education become the work of the project.

URGENT: Justice for the MST and the Legacy of Paulo Freire

The Paulo Freire Democratic Project (PFDP) unequivocally and in the highest order denounces the latest attack by the Bolsonaro administration on the MST (Landless Workers Movement) of Brazil, on the legacy of Paulo Freire, and on social justice.

Since 1998 the MST has been operating a Paulo Freire Training Center in the state of Pernambuco. The Training Center, established on 14 hectares of land given by the Normandia settlement, has been a source of training in agroecology, environmental health and safety, education, and much more. They have established needed support services including classrooms, daycare facilities, a public kitchen, and cafeteria. Yet, in step with the current Bolsonaro’s repressive national agenda, the courts have ordered the eviction of the Paulo Freire Training Center by September 30, 2019.

The humanizing pedagogy that Paulo Freire professed has profound implications to social justice, human dignity, and freedom. He entrusted his faith and the fate of the world on the oppressed arguing that it is their historical task to liberate the world. These ideals have been manifested among the MST and they have created conditions that empower their communities, placing them as prime targets of a fascist political agenda that attempts to negate their human agency and rights to freedom. 

We must follow Freire’s teaching and resist the current politics of fascists, slave masters, land grabbers, and other conservative reactionaries who seek to recreate the false “greatness” of the time of lynching and genocide. They cannot be allowed to win.

We urge all supporters of social justice and human rights everywhere to join us in denouncing this atrocious action and in demanding the immediate recission of this eviction order. For more information and to support the MST and the Paulo Freire Teaching Center, please visit the Friends of the MST website.

The views expressed here are those of the PFDP member and do not represent those of Chapman University.


PFDP Resources

View the Edu Blog of Co-Director of The Paulo Freire Democratic Project, Peter L. McLaren, Ph.D.

Discover Chapman University's Leatherby Libraries Paulo Freire Archive

Read more about Freire's legacy