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João Ferrão

This is the story of a 5 year-long journey through the realm of national government made by an academic with no political party affiliation. It was an exciting and demanding journey, whose (relative) success resulted from a fortunate combination of personal characteristics, national circumstances and supranational contexts. It was a journey that shows how an educational background with a weak professional reputation (geography), being a secretary of state of a domain with little social acceptance (spatial planning) in a ministry with no political weight (leadership by a party-independent minister) in a small and peripheral country in the EU context (Portugal) are not necessarily obstacles, and can even be an advantage, in putting innovative policies on the political agenda and fostering them at national and local level. However, this is also the story of the post-journey homecoming, and its effects on the traveller, his values, ideas, practices and priorities as an academic and citizen.