IPLWS in the News
RIC inaugurates first Portuguese Honor Society
Read full article at OJournal.com – Posted by Kevin Andrade on May 3, 2013 in Community News, News from Around Town, Top Stories
Meredith Vieira discusses Portuguese roots at RIC conference - Sociologist talks about new trends in the integration of Portuguese Americans
Fri, 10/21/2011 – 09:09 – O Jornal, Melissa Costa
PROVIDENCE — They may have never crossed paths before, but together they helped define Portuguese acculturation in the United States.
Last Friday, Meredith Vieira, an internationally known reporter, and Dulce Maria Soares Scott, a professor and sociologist, joined forces at a conference on "Current Findings on the Acculturation and Integration of Portuguese Immigrants and Their Descendants," held Oct.14, at Rhode Island College.
In a study conducted by Scott, she indicates that it has been commonly assumed in some Portuguese-American and Portuguese circles that the Portuguese immigrant population and their American born descendants are not well integrated into their respective American societies. An assumption according to her, grounded on three key points. Their lower levels of educational achievement, the degree to which Luso-Americans are geographically concentrated and stick together as a group and the extent to which they choose to retain their ethnic heritage, rather than adopting the mainstream culture.
All of which Vieira's life story contradicts. Born second generation Portuguese, Vieira admits her lack of interest in balancing her integration into American societies with her ethnic identity and Portuguese culture.
"I'm third generation Portuguese. I'm one of those kids that grew up sort of denying my heritage. All I wanted to do was assimilate," stated Vieira, during her keynote presentation. Sitting side by side with Marie R. Fraley, interim director for the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies, which organized the event, Vieira in a very casual conversation explained that she saw herself as Meredith Vieira, an American and not Portuguese-American.
An interesting fact when analyzing Scott's study, which shows that descendants of Portuguese immigrants are well integrated into American society in terms of educational, income and professional achievement and political participation. However, while also culturally and psychologically integrated in America, they retain a simultaneous commitment to their ethnic identity, cultural heritage, ethnic communities, and Portugal.
During the conference, more than a dozen speakers discussed socio-economic advancement, civic engagement and political participation as they relate to maintaining the Portuguese language, custom and ethnic boundaries.
Another interesting finding in Scott's study indicates that luso-descendants have followed a pattern of linguistic assimilation, characterized by a rapid loss of fluency and use of the ancestral language – Portuguese.
A finding that holds true with Vieira, who despite her visit to the Azores and much practice, still can't pronounce her last name in Portuguese.
The study suggests that the native language remains dominant within the immigrant generation but their children are bilingual and their grandchildren speak only English.
All four of Vieira's grandparents were born in the Azores. They left the mid-Atlantic islands in the late 1800's and early 1900's and headed for New England. Establishing themselves in the Providence and surrounding areas.
According to the study, the Portuguese American population is geographically highly concentrated. The 2000 census indicated that more than 72 percent of this population resides in four states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California and New Jersey.
Providence surpassed New Bedford as the Portuguese gateway to America in the early 20 century. According to Scott, in 1911, Providence became the landing port of the Marseilles-based Fabre steamship line that connected Portugal, Azores, Italy and France to the United States. Portuguese immigrants initially settled in the waterfront area of Fox Point, but many moved on to East Providence, where by 1915 nearly 5,000 had settled, an interesting similarity to Vieira's background. She grew up in East Providence.
The study also shows a concentration in the states where Portuguese immigrants originally settled, with the highest number of respondents residing in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and California. Geographic concentration, according to Scott's research, can provide various socioeconomic and psychological benefits to an ethnic population. The "sticking together" of the ethnic population helps that population succeed socially and economically. However, that very economic success will inevitably permit the first generation to launch their children on a path of socioeconomic upward mobility and thus to higher levels of integration and assimilation into the mainstream societies and economies.
A finding well rooted into Vieira's upbringing.
"Growing up in Rhode Island, I wanted to be seen as an American," recalled Vieira, whose first generation parents pushed for education and integration. "The Portuguese community was fairly isolated and kept to themselves and my parents were big on education and getting out into the world."
Vieira, however, admits that as a result of that high level of assimilation she ended up denying her heritage.
"There needs to be a good balance between embracing who you are and moving beyond and embracing the world around you as well," she explained.
Psychological assimilation has been postulated by some sociologists as the last stage in a multi-stage assimilation process, according to the study. At this stage of assimilation, individuals see themselves, and are identified by others, as Americans rather than as members of a specific ethnic group. Descendants of the original ethnic groups may retain some memory of their ancestry, but they no longer identify with it and no longer participate in the ethnic group's social and organizational life. "I never knew a lot about my background and heritage and when I had the opportunity to go to the Azores, two things happened," recalled Vieira, who serves as a good example of psychological assimilation. "One I became incredibly proud of my name Vieira but also ashamed that I had denied it for so long. I had been living a life apart from who I am."
Despite ignoring her ethnic background, Vieira regained appreciation for a part of herself she spent so much time denying. "The Portuguese people embrace life and the simplicity of life and I like that quality very much," stated Vieira. "I left [the Azores] with a great appreciation for them and also ashamed that I have waited so long."
Another component dissected by the study was the Portuguese descendants' interest in Portuguese culture and Portugal. Close to 79 percent indicated that they had visited Portugal, many repeatedly, and that they were planning to visit Portugal again. "When I went to the Azores I didn't know what to expect and I was blown away," stated Vieira, who is hoping to visit Portugal next year with her family.
Vieira expressed looking forward to grandchildren and when O Jornal asked if she would educate her grandchildren about her ethnical roots she answered, "I would love my children's children to know that this is part of who they are and it's a wonderful part of who they are."
Article originally posted on OJornal.com: http://my.ojornal.com/news/meredith-vieira-discusses-portuguese-roots-ric-conference-sociologist-talks-about-new-trends-in#comment-651
Dr. Maria Barroso, a veteran of many fights
Fri, 10/01/2010 - 08:46 — O Jornal, Maria José
PROVIDENCE — Dr. Maria de Jesus Barroso Soares, 85, has been at the center stage of many causes since a young age. The former First Lady of the Republic of Portugal and current President of the Fundação Pro Dignitate de Direitos Humanos of Lisbon has long been an avid defender of human dignity and the well being of mankind. Yet, her first career choice was the theater. She first stepped on stage at the Teatro do Ginásio of Lisbon in 1944 and remained a prominent actress until the 1960s. She holds a degree in Historical and Philosophical Sciences from the Faculdade de Letras of Lisbon and completed the course of Dramatic Arts at the Portuguese National Conservatory. However, her characteristic of involvement against the Portuguese regime at the time cost her dearly.
"I was part of the National Theatre and I was forced to leave," said Dr. Barroso, who visited the Ocean State last week to participate in a banquet and conference at Rhode Island College from Sept. 23 to 25. "I have a habit of saying that my first school was the home of my parents," said Dr. Barroso. "It was there that I learned to discover great human values, solidarity, etc. We were seven children, mother, father and a grandmother. My father was persecuted by the regime, and he was very involved in movements against the dictatorship. My mother was a teacher. We discovered at home great values." Those principles included liberty, democracy and respect for human rights among others, she said. In 1949 she married her university colleague, Mário Soares, who subsequently become Prime Minister of Portugal twice and the country"s 17th President from 1986 to 1996. Although she took her husband"s surname, she opted to use her maiden name in public life. "When I met my husband, I took interest in movements against the regime in Portugal, and I got involved in all of them," she said.
For someone who fought so hard for a better Portugal, the 25th of April Revolution was the culmination of many personal sacrifices. "The 25th of April represents a radical change on all aspects: in the political sector, and with respect to other sectors of the Portuguese life. The rights of women, for example, were absolutely changed. I remember that women before the 25th of April could not be diplomats, could not be judges," she recalled. "The 25th of April opened doors to many careers and justly so."
Over the years, Dr. Barroso has been involved in countless activities at the national and international level aimed at supporting the areas of culture, education and family, childhood, social solidarity, female dimension, health, the integration of the disabled and the prevention of violence. She has instigated reflection and discussion on media violence, having vehemently condemned all situations in which human rights are violated. She has aided and defended the welfare and causes of victims of war, starvation, racism, xenophobia, of abused women and children and social delinquents. She is the former President of the Portuguese Red Cross and has founded or helped create a number of institutions, including the APAV (Association for the Study and Prevention of Violence) and Emergência Infantil (Child Emergency).
Today, despite the fragile figure of a woman in the winter of her years, she continues to take an interest in the less fortunate, lending her name and fortitude to causes such as the human rights foundation Pro Dignitate. "Pro Dignitate has had much influence in Portugal because we have many initiatives within the country, many congresses, much participation and also we go to whomever needs us," Dr. Barroso said. "We have many students on scholarships, for example, whom we aid in their studies, but we have many activities outside of the country, especially in the Portuguese speaking African countries." Her presence at RIC last week marked the beginning of a three-year project between the Fundação Pro Dignitate and the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at the college. The project involves the use of community radios as an instrument of peace in the Portuguese-speaking former colony of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa.
An Inaugural Banquet was held Thursday, Sept. 23 in the Student Union Ballroom for the signing of a protocol between Dra. Barroso Soares and RIC President Nancy Carriuolo. The protocol includes activities for gathering and disseminating information, conferences and meetings, and training of journalists in ethical reporting practices to work against violence provoked by the media. "I am so delighted to have the First Lady here with us. I feel that this is only the beginning of a long relationship that is going to strengthen throughout the years," said Carriuolo. "I am very personally pleased to support the Institute and this important initiative to promote peace building in the Portuguese-speaking country of Guine-Bissau. I commend the Pro Dignitate Foundation and its good work on fulfilling this mission to promote protection and the human rights and to stamp the terrible tide of violence in the world." On Sept. 24 and 25, the conference "Community Radio and Peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau" gathered scholars and journalists from the United Stated and Africa at Rhode Island College to share information and discuss a slew of topics. The conference coincided with International Peace Week at the United Nations and with the 37th anniversary of Independence in Guinea-Bissau on Sept. 24. Many immigrants from Guinea-Bissau residing in Rhode Island and across the United States participated.
Article originally posted on OJornal.com: http://my.ojornal.com/news/dr-maria-barroso-veteran-many-fights
Lusophone culture takes center stage at RIC
By: Maria José
PROVIDENCE - As Portuguese around the world commemorated the 36th anniversary of the 25th of April Revolution - which put an end to Portugal's authoritarian dictatorship and has became a symbol of democracy and liberty for both the metropole and the former colonies - Rhode Island College welcomed the Festival do Mundo Lusófono, a celebration of the Portuguese-speaking World.
Dozens of students of Portuguese, from preschool through college, took the stage to perform a play, musical acts and recite original poems.
Sponsored by the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rhode Island College and the 2010 Committee of the Day of Portugal and Portuguese Heritage in Rhode Island, the event drew a good crowd.
Marie Fraley, Interim Director of the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rhode Island College welcomed those gathered and reminded them of the significance of the day.
"It was six years ago, on April 25th, that we had our first festival of the Lusophone world on this stage. There have been many plays, many conferences, and fund-raising dinners since then, and, of course, the launching of the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies in October of 2006. We thank all of you for your support through the years and we will continue to work hard to promote the Portuguese studies at Rhode Island College," she said.
Dr. Nancy Carrioulo, President of Rhode Island College, shared with the audience her sentiment of friendship towards the Portuguese community.
"In the little Portuguese that I know, I want to say 'Bom dia' to you all and I hope to learn more as time goes by, because I have great friendship for the people that came from Portugal or from Lusophone countries," said Dr. Carrioulo.
She then used a quote from Rhode Island Senator Daniel Da Ponte to illustrate how she feels about the Portuguese-speaking communities.
"The senator was quoted as being very careful of the financial decisions made now for the future generations would not have to feel the burden of a financial situation that they could not support. I thought it was a phrase that exemplifies the Portuguese and the Portuguese-speaking... It is that quality of integrity that I associate with the Portuguese and the Portuguese-speaking and I think that is what makes you people so special. How wonderful it is to have you here today to continue to know about the Portuguese and the language," said Dr. Carrioulo.
The program started with the one-act play "Oriana, the Fairy," adapted from a story by Sophia de Mello Breyner about a fairy that lives in a forest and has the responsibility of taking care of its people, animals and plants. One day she befriends a fish and abandons the forest with serious consequences. Dispossessed of her magical powers, the fairy goes in search of her friends to repair the evils caused by her oversight. The play was presented by the Portuguese Theatre Workshop with the collaboration of IPLWS at Rhode Island College.
Students of the International Charter School, from Pawtucket, R.I., sang a few songs in Portuguese.
Students of the Escola Portuguesa da Casa dos Açores da Nova Inglaterra [CANI], in East Providence, R.I., presented two musical numbers: "Uma gaivota" and "Na loja do mestre André."
A presentation by students of Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, R.I., included original poems authored by Stephanie Cabral and Crestina Demedeiros, as well as the performance of the musical group "One Time Around," formed with Tyler Falcoa, Tom Hansen, Ryan Falcoa and Ryan Burke.
A number of students were also recognized during the event.
Vanessa Branco was awarded The John A. and Mary V. Lima Scholarship in Portuguese Studies by John A. Lema.
More than 20 students, as the winners of an Art Contest, were given awards presented by António Ambrósio, 2010 President of the Day of Portugal and Portuguese Heritage in Rhode Island.
Article originally posted on OJornal via ZWire.com: http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20426531&BRD=2677&PAG=461&dept_id=543378&rfi=6
Carlos César exorta as comunidades emigrantes a investirem na educação
Article originally posted on Acores.net
O presidente do Governo dos Açores disse hoje ser “absolutamente fundamental que a nossa comunidade veja a educação como o mais importante investimento que pode fazer no futuro”.
Carlos César falava no decorrer de uma visita ao Rhode Island College – em cuja população estudantil se contam muitos descendentes de emigrantes açorianos – e acrescentou que a educação não apenas ajuda a encontrar empregos mais bem remunerados e a alcançar melhores carreiras profissionais, como, igualmente, protege as pessoas e as suas famílias em tempo de crise, tornando mais fácil enfrentar a instabilidade e o desemprego.
Valorizando o papel que, nesse sentido, tem também desempenhado o Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies – contribuindo para a promoção e preservação das tradições culturais açorianas – sublinhou, no entanto, que os valores culturais são dinâmicos e não devem constituir-se como obstáculo à integração.
Para Carlos César, o Governo Regional tem um claro entendimento da importância de modernizar as relações dos Açores com as comunidades emigrantes e deseja ser um parceiro activo das jovens gerações de açor-americanos na sua aproximação aos valores culturais dos seus antepassados, incluindo a língua e as tradições, e ajudando-as na descoberta das suas raízes.
Realçando que os Açores de hoje são muito diferentes do que os Açores dos antepassados dos jovens a quem se dirigia, o presidente do Governo traçou o quadro da actualidade económica e social de uma região plenamente integrada num mundo globalizado e afirmou ser importante que eles possam aperceber-se disso pessoalmente, estreitando ainda mais os laços que unem o estado onde vivem à terra de origem dos seus ancestrais.
Considerou, por isso, que, sendo decisiva a mobilidade dos jovens, o incremento de cursos de verão quem tem sido feito com a Universidade dos Açores pode ser levado ainda mais longe, a ponto de consagrar um curso que sirva os interesses e as necessidades de açorianos e açor-americanos.
Entretanto, desejou “aos alunos que brevemente visitarão os Açores, participando no Curso de Verão, o maior proveito em termos formativos e também pessoais da experiência que vão ter, e que se constituam, sempre que puderem, em embaixadores da nossa Região, da nossa cultura e das nossas ambições.”
PROVIDENCE - Successful, spectacular and inspiring.
It wasn't all a show for Carlos Cesar - the President of the Regional Government of the Azores - during his first official visit to Rhode Island as he won the hearts and minds of those who he interacted with in his three-day stay.
Even on Memorial Day, Cesar drew a crowd, with 100 people present for his visit to the dual language (Portuguese-English, Spanish-English) K-5th grade International Charter School in Pawtucket.
"It was spectacular; it really motivated the students," said Dr. Julie Nora, the ICS Principal. "It is really a boost for the program to have him visit and validate what we are doing. It's very exciting, and the students were able to perform and showcase what they have learned."
At ICS, kindergarten students performed three songs, a fifth grader played a guitar and sang "Eu Gosto de Voce" and the third grade students made a poem out of each letter of Cesar's name.
Jumping a few grades, Cesar's visit to Rhode Island College was also equally exciting for its students.
"It was the first time that I saw him in person; the experience was amazing," said Sergio Nunes, a senior and one of the seven RIC students who will travel for a month long program studying Portuguese as foreign language, literature and culture in the islands of S. Miguel, Faial and Terceira.
"It was great; we are going to the Azores Islands, where this guy is the president and we got to meet him before going... it's just great. I would love to have the opportunity to meet him in the Azores," added Nunes.
Pilar Coelho, this year's President of the Day of Portugal in Rhode Island Committee and also a member of the advisory board at RIC's Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies, said that the president's visit to the campus and to the state was "really inspiring."
"The Azores by his representation seems to be interested in creating better relations between young people here and in the Azores," said Coelho. "He was very excited about what the students are going to be doing there and wanted to make sure that more students are invited in the near future."
Towards the end of Memorial Day, a reception on his behalf was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Warwick organized by Casa dos Acores da Nova Inglaterra.
"Even with the cold and the long weekend, we were able to have here 200 people... it was a success," said CANI president Joao Pacheco. "It was very important to have him here."
The following day, Cesar visited Providence Mayor David Cicilline, and invited him to the Azores. The Mayor said that he looks forward to the trip.
"It was truly an honor to meet President Carlos Cesar and his wife, Luisa," said Cicilini. "Rhode Islanders who trace their roots to the Azores and Portugal continue to make important and lasting contributions to arts and culture, business and the civic life to our community."
State Representative Helio Melo, who was part of the Rhode Island delegation that met Cesar at the State House, said the visit was a great opportunity for him to express his concerns and ideas on improving the Azorean economy and matching it with the Rhode Island economy.
"He signed a sister state protocol with the governor, which reinforces the relation that the Azores have with the State of Rhode Island and vice-versa," said Melo. "We also discussed the oceanographic program in the Azores and our program at the University of Rhode Island and the possibility of the programs working in coordination with each other."
During the visit of Portuguese President Cavaco Silva to our region in 2007, State Senator Daniel Da Ponte approached Cesar and teased him by telling him that he only goes to Massachusetts.
Da Ponte followed up when Cesar won his reelection bid for his third term as President of the Azorean Regional Government. In Da Ponte's congratulatory letter, he invited him to visit the state.
"The group was impressed by what they saw and each visit he made was distinct in its own way," said Da Ponte. "We talked about someday celebrating the Day of the Azores here in Rhode Island, but nothing is confirmed."
RIC celebrates the Portuguese speaking world
International Charter School kindergarten class performs for the audience
By: Maria José
PROVIDENCE - If the Portuguese discoverers of the 15th century returned from their eternal voyage, they would certainly be pleased with the Portuguese-American youth of Rhode Island.
Last Sunday, the "younger crowd" put on display their proud heritage at the Rhode Island College campus.
The Lusophone World Festival was sponsored by the 2009 Day of Portugal committee of Rhode Island and the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies.
Marie R. Fraley, Associate Director of the Institute gave the welcome remarks and presented the ninth President of the College, Professor Nancy Carriuolo."Clearly, a college education is the path to a successful career," said Carriuolo. "The College is here at your disposal, and the Institute was created for the benefit of the many Portuguese that reside in the State of Rhode Island."
As in previous years, an art contest related to the Portuguese speaking world was held throughout the schools of the State of Rhode Island and the presentation of the awards was made by the President of the Day of Portugal 2009 Committee, Pilar Coelho.
A number of children saw their entries recognized.
On stage the kindergarten class of the International Charter School, under the direction of Helena Simoes-Oliveira, presented three dances entitled "Onde Está o U?" (Where is the U?), "Estátua" (Statue) and "Os Patinhos" (The Ducks).
The Portuguese School of the Casa do Açores da Nova Inglaterra, under the direction of its Pedagogical Director, Dr. Ermelinda C. Zito presented a traditional number "Fandango of Ribatejo". And three students of the Portuguese Social Club Portuguese School, Manuela Teixeira, Victoria Cabral and Jessica Almeida presented the folk song a cappella "Ó Ferreiro."
To finish the afternoon, the Folk Group Nine Island of East Providence, under the direction of Roberto Medeiros, danced four numbers typical of the Azores Islands.
The winners of the art contest include
Ages 5-7: Anna DeMenezes and Danny Peixinho, Julia Guthrie
Ages 8-18: Julia Ferreira, Logan Inocêncio and Leah Peixinho
Victoria Lopes, Daniel Batista and Vanessa Pereira
Amanda DaSilva, Elisa Faria and Carly Pacheco
Honorable Mention: Emma Simas, Sarah Bonifacio, Alex Borges, Victoria Sousa, Diana Farinho, Briana Fernandes, Alyssa Peixinho, John Gooden, Chris Costa, Dannirae Ubiera, Hugo Rego, Richie Mourato, Jessica DeLemos, Allison Faria and Emily Branch.
The 12 winning drawings will be part of a 2010 calendar, as in previous years.
Theophilo Braga Club donates 200 books to RIC's Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies
Chairman Paul J. Tavares accepts books from Armando Medeiros, President of the Teofilo Braga Brotherhood, while past president Olimpio Medeiros looks on. Also present are advisory board members: (standing l to r) Paulo Silva, Olimpio Medeiros, Armando Medeiros, Chairman Tavares, Antonio Ambrosio, David Andrade, Marco Pais, (seated l to r) Paula Vazao Schiavone, Lisa Andrade Almeida, Pilar Coelho, Ermelinda Cordeiro Zito.
By: Lurdes C. da Silva
PROVIDENCE - Scholars and students interested in expanding their knowledge of the literature and culture of the Azores at Rhode Island College, just received a boost from the Theophilo Braga Brotherhood and Literary Club of East Providence.
Last week, the club donated more than 200 new books to RIC's Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies.
The manuscripts, which had been in storage for several years, were originally donated to the club by the former Office of Emigrations and Support to the Azorean Communities of the Regional Government of Azores.
"We wanted to make the books available to the Portuguese community, but we never came up with a suitable forum to do so," said Armando Medeiros, the club president.
So, the Brotherhood decided that the collection would serve a better use at the state's only Institute for Portuguese Studies at Rhode Island College, where they could be used and shared.
"We're happy to promote anything for the betterment and advancement of Portuguese American students," said Medeiros.
The titles donated cover a wide spectrum of subjects, including art, music, literature, politics, and cultural celebrations such as the Holy Ghost Feasts.
Medeiros presented the books to Paul J. Tavares, chairman of the Institute's Advisory Board, at a monthly board meeting held at the college on March 10. He was accompanied by his father, Olympio Medeiros, who also served as club president for 17 years.
The younger Medeiros said this "collaborative effort" is very fitting.
In his remarks, Medeiros stated that Teófilo Braga was not only the first president of the provisional government of the Republic of Portugal in 1911 but was also a scholar, professor of literature, author and ethnographer. He was recalled how the Teófilo Braga Brotherhood began as a literary organization paying homage to the scholar born in Ponta Delgada, S. Miguel.
"We're very proud to do this and look forward to work with RIC and other Portuguese departments," Medeiros told O Jornal.
RIC celebrates Portuguese legacy of serviceArticle originally posted on Ojornal.com
PROVIDENCE - More than 150 prominent Luso-Americans gathered with their friends and family in the red, white and blue Donovan Dining Center at Rhode Island College last Saturday night.
The assembly paid homage and tribute to the Luso-American elected officials of the Rhode Island General Assembly. The Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies (IPLWS), an affiliate of the David E. Sweet Center for Public Policy, hosted the affair.
Marie R. Fraley, the Associate Director of IPLWS, greeted the audience and explained the purpose of the event.
"We are proud to salute members of the Luso-American community who have served at the state level," she said. "The level of Luso-American representation is comparable to that of its population in the state."
She also noted that this year marked the 50th anniversary of continuous service by Portuguese Americans from East Providence who served in the Senate of the Rhode Island General Assembly.
"This unique occurrence is a testament to civic participation worthy of special recognition and documentation," she added.
The IPLWS initiated and sponsored The Luso-American Elected Officials Oral History Project. Former Rhode Island General Treasurer, Paul J. Tavares, stepped out of retirement and launched this public education campaign. He coordinated and inspired an Oral History Committee that included: Mark T. Motte, the Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Director of IPLWS; Lisa Godinho, Assistant Professor of Portuguese and Program Director of IPLWS; Marlene Lopes, Associate Professor, Special Collections Librarian, James P. Adams Library; Patricia Nolin, Special Assistant to the President and Marie R. Fraley, Associate Director, IPLWS.
The Oral History Project has already identified 65 Luso-Americans of Portuguese, Cape Verdean or Brazilian ancestry who served in the Rhode Island General Assembly. Their stories and documents will be recorded and archived for future reference at the James P. Adams Library at RIC.
"The history and contributions of the Luso Americans have been an integral part of the rich fabric of Rhode Island State politics," said Tavares. "There have been 93 years of continuous Portuguese representation in the General Assembly starting in 1915 with the election of Representative James Martin from Newport."
The Speaking and Recognition Program honored the 14-member delegation of 10 representatives and 4 Senators. The Majority Leaders of the current RI Senate, Maria Teresa Paiva Weed and RI House of Representatives, Gordon Fox acknowledge their respective Portuguese and Cape Verdean ancestry.
The Legacy of Service Awards highlighted the careers of five notable figures from the Oral History Project: Gilbert T. Rocha, Associate Justice of Family Court, D-East Providence (1959-1966); William A. Castro, Senator and President Pro Tempore, D-Senate District 42 (1967-1983); John F. Correia, Senator and President Pro Tempore, D-Senate District 42 (1983-1992); Paul J. Tavares, General Treasurer, (1999-2006), D-Senate District 42 (1993-1998); and Daniel DaPonte, Senator, D-Senate District 14 (1999-present).
Collectively this group represents fifty years of continuous, Portuguese-American civic participation in the Rhode Island Senate. Several hours worth of interviews, reflections and stories were edited and condensed into a fifteen-minute summary of the lives and accomplishments of the honorees. The audience watched in hushed silence and erupted into applause at the conclusion of the premiere showing.
Following the awards ceremony, Tavares noted: "Tonight we singled out politics which is just one arena of accomplishment in our community. There are many others scattered about the 8 Portuguese parishes in Rhode Island. They are surrounded by more than 70 religious, fraternal and social organizations. Each and every one has their individual stories and a history to capture, preserve and share."
Tavares also expressed the hope that the Oral History Projects will inspire and encourage students to attend RIC, study Portuguese and celebrate their culture. He believes that the IPLWS can become a premiere academic center for many future projects.
"Our center at RIC is dedicated and committed to teaching the Portuguese language and cultural history to our students while providing a tremendous educational resource to their respective communities," he said.Article source
Portuguese Institute receives over $145,000
The Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rhode Island College received a huge financial boost with the announcement and presentation of a $97,000 federal appropriation from Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) at a reception at the President’s House on May 9.
A reception for the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies was held at the President’s House on May 9. From left are RIC President John Nazarian, John Lima, R.I. Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Peg Brown, vice president for development and college relations. Kennedy announced that the institute will receive a federal appropriation of $97,000; Lima, a Newport resident, donated $50,000 to the institute.