Founded in 1997, by three Presbyterian ministers, Faculdade Unida de Vitoria (UNIDA) is a non-profit Higher Education Institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs in Theology & Religious Studies. The Brazilian Ministry of Education accredits all its courses. Its campus is located in the city of Vitoria, capital of the State of Espírito Santo, in southeast Brazil. The metropolitan region of Vitoria has a population estimated at 1.7 million inhabitants. UNIDA has distance-learning units in 16 of Brazil’s 26 federated states.
Brazilian higher education is fruit of the French laicite model. Religion was deliberately excluded from Brazil’s public universities when they were founded in the 20th century. None had a Faculty of Theology and/or Religious Studies for example. Theology & Religious Studies programs developed in private and non-profit higher education institutes, which are normally founded by churches. This division in higher education is exacerbated by the fact that public university campuses are dominated by Brazil’s white middle classes, while private and non-profit higher education institutes are populated by poor and black students.
UNIDAs ‘Faith in the Future’ project is important because it provides quality and accredited higher education (university level) to those normally excluded from Brazil’s university system.
Since 1997, Faculdade Unida has been led by Professor Dr. Wanderley Pereira da Rosa and has the motto “UNIDA: a new word for a new world!”