The International Celso Furtado Center for Development Policies was born of an idea proposed by the then President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva, which was put to Celso Furtado in June of 2004. The President proposed that this “center, a disseminator of innovative projects and policies to fight hunger, poverty and the bottlenecks to development”, should carry the name of Celso Furtado. Its creation constituted a rightful tribute to one of the greatest economists of the 20th Century. To him we owe our understanding that the structures of power and production need to be modified, in order to enable development, to break the bonds of the logic of dependence and concentration of wealth.
Initially presided over by Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, Maria da Conceição Tavares and Rosa Freire d’Aguiar Furtado, the Center presently has 205 partners and has been, since its conception, supported by four public sector corporations: BNDES (development bank), Petrobras (oil company), Caixa Econômica Federal (loans and savings bank) and Eletrobras (energy), to which, in 2010, was added the Banco do Nordeste do Brasil (BNB - bank), and the Agencia de Desenvolvimento do Ceará (ADECE), in 2013.
The Center`s purpose, as stated in the manifesto presented to the Helsinki Conference, in September 2005, is to “deepen, systematize and formulate investigation and research projects on crucial 21st century development themes”, or, as Tania Bacelar de Araujo, present president of the Center`s Deliberative Board put it, perhaps more succinctly: to document development, and to study, formulate, debate and propose initiatives on the subject of development.
In order to achieve its objectives, the Center, which is home to Celso Furtado`s personal library, has come up with a series of projects, which range from study and research grants, to publications, graduation courses, debates on subjects, such as agrarian reform, education and public health in Brazil, programs, such as those dealing with regional development, especially in the Northeast, and the study of the economies of emerging nations, especially China, India, the South Africa and Latin America.
The International Celso Furtado Center is a not-for-profit civil association under private law and of public interest.
In line with these objectives, the Center, in reality, is dedicated to the task of updating the development agenda. In the words of Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, "The International Celso Furtado Center for Development Policies is born with the goal to honor the life of his master. From the outset, this implies the intellectual obligation to face, with equal courage, the theoretical and political challenges of development in our times.”.