Who We Are

Ambigular was founded in Portugal in 2021. It builds on the work co-founders Maria and Rose developed in China since 2017. Read more about us here! 

Maria A. Brito

maria@ambigular.org

When I was in primary school, I wanted to be a detective. I printed my home phone number and pasted it on street lamps under the title “Detective.” In reality, I didn’t care about solving crimes, but I wanted to solve problems, have adventures, and make sense of the world. I was in love with maps and spinning globes, where my country seemed so small even though I couldn’t see the end of it. I was in love with stories, the ones in books, and the ones I overheard when adults thought I wasn’t paying attention.
 
At the age of 18, I knew I wanted to do something for society, so I went to study at NOVA University, where I obtained a Bachelor of Laws.
 
During my degree, I got involved with human rights groups. This led me to an exchange program at a university in Palestine. When I came back, I organized a series of events with two other women who had been to Palestine. We called it “Once upon a time; a non-told Palestine.” It was a human-centric interactive event, where participants learned about the real-life experiences of both Palestinians and Israelis.
 
I had worked in refugee law in Lisbon and Turkey for two years when I realized I wanted to do something more connected to the stories of people. I hitchhiked from Turkey to Russia, took a bunch of trains, and ended up in China, where I worked in a local NGO for one year. We organized storytelling events to bring attention and understanding to different realities. For example, we invited people from the LGBT+ community and their parents to share their stories with our public.
 
In Shanghai, I co-founded Pyramid of Babel with some friends. We organized events, published a printed magazine, produced podcasts and documentaries. Everything we did was focused on the stories of people we don’t often get to know about. We worked with many communities (people of different ethnicities, migrants, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, and many others), companies, charities, and institutions (such as the New York University in Shanghai, and How Art Museum).
 
In 2020, I moved back to Portugal to implement Ambigular.
 
This is the first chapter of this story.

Rose Dekker

rose@ambigular.org

When I was 17, I discovered the world of philosophy. It was a coincidence: a colleague at the restaurant I was working at said she was going to an open day at the University of Amsterdam, to learn more about their Bachelor’s in Philosophy. I decided to do the same. My high school had not offered philosophy as a subject and I didn’t even really know what it was, but after following the lectures of the open day, I knew this was it – this was what I wanted to study.
 
During my studies, I worked in marketing at a start-up in Amsterdam. Then I had the chance to go abroad for one semester. I wanted to go to a place that had a history of philosophy that had developed independently of western philosophy, to see for myself how philosophy shapes societies. That is how I ended up living in China for almost six years.
 
In Shanghai, I obtained my Master’s Degree in Chinese Philosophy and Culture from Fudan University. At the same time, I got involved with different cultural and media projects. I founded Mansion Magazine, and I continued to work on various media projects throughout my studies.
 
When I met Maria, we joined forces to create Pyramid of Babel: an organization that shared stories by people of different minorities. We published Babel Magazine, created short documentaries, and organized multimedia events and festivals. We had the opportunity to work with many extraordinary people from all walks of life.
 
Through my work and understanding of people, and many hours of reading, watching, discussing, and most of all, listening to others, I got to understand myself and others better.
 
In 2020 we decided to continue our work in Portugal as Ambigular. I started giving talks and facilitating discussions about diversity and inclusion to companies. I continued producing the stories into engaging story products. I want these stories to reach as many people as possible because only when we listen and understand one another can we create a society in which everyone belongs.