On July 7, Elvira Fortunato and Maria do Rosário Martins, professors and researchers of the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, were awarded the Gold Medals Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At the Human Rights 2020 Awards Ceremony, the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, recalled the reasons for granting this recognition “to Maria do Rosário Martins, an eminent academic in the field of public health, for coordinating the first comparative study on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (in immigrant and Portuguese families); and Elvira Fortunato – who needs no introduction – for the work she has been developing in the area of scientific research, also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Elvira Fortunato, professor, and researcher at NOVA School of Science and Technology, recognized the special significance of this distinction as being "above all, the corollary of a path dedicated to a passion that is scientific research, always with the responsibility of sustainability" while highlighting the fundamental importance of teamwork. In her speech, she also mentioned that "Although we are half of the population, women's work is still less valued" therefore dedicating this award "to all women who work and fight every day for more equal opportunities."
Maria do Rosário Martins, professor at IHMT, used her speech to advise that “Literature is unanimous, in all countries the pandemic has exacerbated the existing social and economic disparities” and “if nothing is done, inequalities will amplify, creating an unjust society, where it will be difficult for human rights to prevail”.
“I dedicate this medal to all migrant families in the world, which in times of pandemic were even more distant from their own, often isolated in a society that is generally unfavorable to them”, she concluded.