Ubi D’Ambrosio: A Giant Has Died


The Inter-American Committee on Mathematics Education (IACME) with great sadness reports the death of Ubiratan D’Ambrosio (Ubi) on May 12, 2021. This distinguished Brazilian intellectual born in 1932 opened multiple academic universes in Mathematics Education, in the History of Sciences and Technology (especially Mathematics) and in studies and actions for Peace and Progress.

His strategic perspective and his vital commitment to our species make him one of the most important humanists of our time. Although his contributions transcend the borders of his native Brazil and the Americas, as he was an authentic citizen of the world, he always assumed himself as a powerful combatant for the development of Latin America, its nations, its peoples, and its cultures.

Ubi was President of our IACME between 1979 and 1987 and led a second stage in the history of IACME and its conferences. He was also Vice President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) from 1979 to 1983. He was awarded the ICMI Felix Klein Medal in 2005 for his research achievements.

His name is associated with Ethnomathematics, a field of research and practice that had its international launch in his plenary conference “Sociocultural Bases for Mathematical Education” at the International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-5 in Adelaide, 1984).

Ubi had many academic achievements, but we would be remiss if we limited ourselves only to them. His extraordinary personality should be underlined: loaded with a great capacity for teaching and above all an aura to inspire and lead the various generations. He radiated brotherhood and friendship.

For those of us who have followed IACME in new historical stages, we must recognize that we always did so on the shoulders of a giant: Ubi D’Ambrosio. Beyond having a very valuable scientific relationship with him, many of us who make up the current Executive Committee of IACME were his friends. And today we miss, and will always miss, the partner and friend with whom we shared so many moments and always enriching life experiences.

A fraternal hug to his wife and son, to the rest of his family, and also to the many friends who have always accompanied him.

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