The annual World Portuguese Language Day is an opportunity to celebrate the global connections at The Catholic University of America. This year, diplomats from several Portuguese-speaking countries attended a crowded May 5 event featuring live music, poetry readings, cultural awareness activities, and food.
“The Portuguese language is a factor of unity for the peoples of Portuguese-speaking countries and this day represents a moment of collective celebration of the importance of Portuguese for the world,” said University Provost Aaron Dominguez during a speech welcoming the dignitaries and all those in attendance to Heritage Hall.
Among the diplomats from the diverse nations where Portuguese is the official language were ambassadors from Portugal and Cape Verde; chargé d'affaires from Angola, Brazil, and East Timor; and a minister-counselor from Mozambique. Each embassy brought samples of their country’s native cuisine to the event.
Rare books, documents, and maps from the countries represented at the event were put on display by Director of the Oliveira Lima Library and Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies (ILAIS) Livia Lopes and social work sophomore Branca Fernandes. The artifacts are from the University’s Oliveira Lima Library, which houses what is considered by many as the most significant Portuguese language collection in the United States.
Artists Mia Tomé and Mario Jorge Cabral performed music and recited poetry to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of famed Portuguese poet Natalia Correia. Later in the evening, Brazilian cultural exports including bossa nova music and writings by internationally renowned poet Cecilia Meireles were performed.
Vice Provost for Global Strategies Duilia de Mello, a native Brazilian, was the master of ceremonies and played a critical role in organizing the event as part of an ongoing effort to highlight the University as a hub for Portuguese language and cultural studies. The event was hosted by the Oliveira Lima Library and co-sponsored by ILAIS and Global Connections. The Global Connections series brings international leaders to campus to promote awareness and conversation about how to make the world a better place for all.