Victor Almeida, an Afro-Brazilian Chevening Alumnus born and raised in Manaus, Brazil, studied as part of the 2015-2016 cohort, an MSc in Transnational Crime, Justice and Security, a degree granted by the University of Glasgow.

A little bit about me

Before #MyCheveningJourney began, I had the opportunity of working as a lawyer and serving as a Legal Advisor at the Federal Prosecution Service in Brazil. These challenging positions gave me a solid background in human rights, but more specifically in Environmental Law. Dealing on a daily basis with environmental harms and public policies made me realize how I needed to pursue out-of-the box solutions to change the reality of the Amazon region, which is where I live. Considering how the UK has adopted bold measures to reduce environmental harms and increase sustainability, studying in the UK became the logical strategy and a good path to achieve my goals. During my degree, I learned from researchers and professors with great experience in criminology, but I saw how green criminology needed the contribution from the so-called global South, formed mostly by developing countries, which is where many environmental harms are taking place.

 

Victor Almeida at the Chevening Farewell event in London

 

How I got into green criminology

After returning from the UK, with a new perspective and a deeper comprehension of green criminality, I served again as a Legal Advisor to the Federal Prosecutor at the Environmental Office. However, after 2 years and a half, a private technology institution invited me to coordinate their Social and Environmental Responsibility Department. This new and exciting position made me realize how digital solutions could also support global efforts to address climate change. In the last 2 years and a half, I applied the knowledge acquired through my academic journey from a different perspective, and currently I am working with technological public policies for the development and sustainability of the Brazilian Amazon.

I am finding this experience very rewarding. However, considering my background in Criminology and the well-known challenges Brazil is facing with its environmental policies, I began to wonder how my expertise could somehow support the understanding of green harms and human rights violations in the context of the Brazilian Amazon.

To contribute to the change of the current scenario, I decided to research those phenomena through the lenses of green criminology, so applying for a PhD in Criminology seemed the obvious decision for me. A thorough search for the best place to pursue this dream led me to the University of Essex, which is a renowned institution with experts in my field of study. After a very competitive selection, I was one of the international candidates awarded with a CHASE Doctorate Training Program studentship.

 

The Amazon fires

 

My work in the Amazon

On this new and exciting upcoming experience, I will have the chance to conduct a novel investigation about environmental crimes and human rights violations in the biggest rainforest of the world. By applying situational crime prevention strategies and crime opportunity theories from a green criminology perspective, I will seek to understand the motivation behind those harms in the Amazon.

For those who are not familiarized with this discipline, green criminology is a recent discipline that resides within the contemporary criminological science, and it aims to research local and global environmental issues, varying from harms against humanity to harms against non-human animals and the environmental.

Once the majority of the green criminology studies were produced by scholars from the global North, I saw this research as an opportunity to contribute for the development of multilateral dialogues about offenses that affect are threatening the future of the planet Earth as we know it. My hopes are that this investigation brings a new comprehension about green criminality, so we can address this matter from different perspectives.

I am proud of being part of the Chevening Alumni community, and I am confident that the next years are also part of #MyCheveningJourney. All the great things that have happened to me in the past 5 years are somehow a consequence of my Chevening Scholarship.

My journey as Chevening Alumnus is very rewarding, but it is, nonetheless, full of ordinary things and issues that are common to all people. Therefore, if you want to pursue further learning, a challenging position or a new project, my advice to you is “embrace your journey”.

 

Your journey is part of your essence and it helped you get to this exact moment of your life. Do not let the success of others define your greatness and success.

We are unique. We are Chevening.