Interdisciplinary Conference
Building Bridges in a Complex World

CHANIA, CRETE, GREECE | 6-8 July 2017

Claudia Abreu Lopes

I grew up in Portugal in several cities but Coimbra is the place I call home. My cultural roots are deeply connected with the African continent, since my family’s history is tied to traveling and stories about West Africa, where my parents lived before I was born.

My work focuses on the potential of using new sources of data generated organically by citizens in their daily lives to advance our understanding of the world. I apply this knowledge to projects related to public health, gender equality and governance that contribute to citizens’ well being mainly in African countries. I am currently developing my research in two places. The first one is Africa’s Voices Foundation, a non-profit start-up of the University of Cambridge where I oversee the approach and activities to Research and Innovation. And the second one is UN Women, where I work on the use of new sources of data to monitor and advance gender equality, as part of the Global Development Goals for 2030.

As a social psychologist, I am interested in how people use mental models about the world to come together by shaping common identities and to make sense of collective experiences. In many cases, these intuitive filters perpetuate inequalities, justify intergroup conflict and in more extreme cases reinforce social norms that put people’s lives at risk. I am a strong believer that we can build a better world by challenging hegemonic views and combining different perspectives to find solutions to social problems in Africa or anywhere else.


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