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Congregation of the Regent House on 4 December 1997

A Congregation of the Regent House was held at 11 a.m.

 Music was performed at the Congregation by the Choir of King's College, and by the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble.

  The following titular degree was conferred:
Doctor of Law (honoris causa)

of Clare College, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil

The Orator delivered the following speech when presenting The President to The Chancellor:

VICESIMUS iam exit annus ex quo studia apud nos breue tempus hic uir exercuit. iam tum clarus erat libro, quem alii sunt aliter interpretati, de clientela et auctu earum rerum publicarum conscripto quae sunt in continentis transatlanticae meridionalibus partibus institutae. multa uero tum conscribebat, rei domesticae ciuitatium et gentium summa cum laude inuestigator; tum autem, peregrinationibus exilioque confectis, in patriam rei gerendae causa ipse se contulit.
rarius quaerenti cum Socrate num quod ratione praedicatur id re uera possit effici respondetur ita; sed eum honoramus qui reipublicae Brasiliensis aerarium prius paene effusum ea sollertia fouit ut ratione faenoris immane quantum aucta, fideque per totum equestrem ordinem labante, uno tamen anno quae prope dimidiae fuerant ad binas modo centesimas redegerit. id non huius sollertia tantum effectum sed etiam spe fiduciaque populari quam meruit aestimemus licet. o felicem ciuitatem, ubi tanta sit praesto ciuibus cum gratia facundia auctoritate coniuncta sapientia! in mentem fortasse uenerit rem non multo dissimilem a C. Iulio gestam; sed hic plurimis omnium ordinum suffragiis fretus, non ui metuque militari, ad summam peruenit amplitudinem, qui primo a rebus peregrinis, mox ab aerario, nunc ab ipsa re publica is quem adumbrauit olim Plato creatus esse uideatur.
exeunti tibi togato, uir clarissime, in conspectu taberna erit qua nisi libri Prelo Vniuersitatis Cantabrigiensis editi uenit nihil. alteram (neque alibi gentium sunt ullae) in urbe inuenies Sancti Pauli, studiorum tuorum fonte, nuperrime institutam. ita hinc pro nostra parte ad mercaturas inter nos renouandas augendasque tribuatur aliquantum.
floreat in populis uirtus ususque librorum.
uirum doctissimum et amplissimum uobis praesento, professorem olim Simonis Boliuaris sub nomine, inter alumnos Collegi de Clare adscriptum, reipublicae foederatae Brasiliensis praesidem,
IT is now twenty years since Doctor Cardoso spent a professorial year in Cambridge. He was already famous for his book Dependency and Development in Latin America, a work which gave rise to a variety of interpretations. In that year he continued to publish plentifully and with great distinction in the fields of sociology and political economy. In that year he also came to the end of much working abroad, sometimes indeed of working in exile; he went back home to embark on a career in politics.
The question that Socrates asked, whether the practice can match the theory , is seldom answered positively. Here, however, we honour a man who took on the virtually exhausted Brazilian treasury and nursed it so skilfully that despite gross inflation and huge loss of financial confidence he reduced the rate of inflation from over forty per cent. a month to two, within the year. We may reckon that his success was not simply a matter of his skill but also of a public trust well earned. Citizens may count themselves fortunate when they find at their service influence, eloquence and authority combined with the highest intelligence. We may perhaps recall that something not dissimilar was once achieved by Julius Caesar; but this man has not come to supreme power on the back of military might: he has votes, in large number, from all classes of Brazilian society. He was first Minister for Foreign Affairs and then Minister of Finance; now he is President of the Republic itself. In him we may think we see that ruler of ideal qualifications once sketched by Plato.
Sir, when you leave this place in your doctor's gown you will see a shop dedicated to the publications of Cambridge University Press. The other shop - the only other shop - so dedicated was opened in July this year in São Paulo, the city of your own alma mater. May that be a contribution on our part to the further development of trade between us.
May use of books and scholarship abound.
I present a man of distinction in scholarship and in politics, sometime Simón Bolívar Professor of Latin-American Studies and member of Clare College, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil,

His Excellency graciously made a short speech in reply

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Cambridge University Reporter, 10th December 1997
Copyright © 1997 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.