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Speech by the President of the Republic at the Closure of the “FAZ – Innovatory Entrepreneurialism in the Portuguese Diaspora” Meeting
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 11 June 2015

I warmly greet all those present in this FAZ – Innovatory Entrepreneurialism in the Portuguese Diaspora Meeting. A special word of appreciation goes to those who accepted the invitation and travelled from the five continents to attend the celebrations of the National Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities.

I also greet the organizers of this initiative, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and COTEC – Portugal, through their Chairmen, Dr. Artur Santos Silva and Professor João Bento, to whom I express my recognition for the much they have accomplished on behalf of the causes of innovation, entrepreneurialism and the promotion of Portuguese talent. To Professor João Bento, who will cease today his office as Chairman of COTEC, I express my deepest appreciation for his drive in favour of such decisive causes for our common future.

In a global world, where competition for talent is more than ever intense, to be able to motivate, captivate and retain our own values is a national imperative.

I have stressed the importance that Portuguese society should place on the recognition and valuation of the merits of those who stand out, wherever they are, by their capabilities, by their qualifications, by their experience and, above all, by their dynamism, due to the assertion of their talent.

The future of the country will largely depend upon the capacity to create attractive conditions for all, not just for those who wish to remain, but also for those who, having left and now reside abroad, yearn to return to Portugal.

It was this conviction that led me, in 2007, to challenge COTEC to organize an initiative that would enable the revealing of life histories and show off the successes of our countrymen who live abroad. A better knowledge of their enterprising spirit and of their prestige will allow identifying the potential represented by the Diaspora.

The response was enthusiastic from the very first moment. The initiative exceeded the most optimist expectations. With an ever growing number of candidacies, originating nowadays from 35 countries in the five continents, the Prize achieved its very own meaning. Today it is a live image of a Portugal spread worldwide.

Histories were revealed of Portuguese that were not detained by difficulties. In the face of opportunities presented they achieved undeniable successes, as well as the respect and admiration of the demanding societies in which they became integrated.

I congratulate the winner of this year’s Prize, José Neves. His audacious drive in an area of heavy competition and high risk, as is the case of the Internet, casts the Country’s image internationally and is a source of inspiration for Portuguese entrepreneurs.

A tribute also to the winners of the previous editions, most of them here today, and to all those who were nominated. The Country is proud of all of you and of your paths of success.

On another hand, and similarly to previous years, we all felt the energy and enthusiasm of the Portuguese Origin Ideas, an initiative that brought us excellent projects which will certainly find their way in Portugal and abroad. I address my congratulations to the winners, Rio Frio – Creative Territory, Teia and Web Radio.

The FAZ movement materializes the expectations of greater visibility and impact of the individual initiatives that comprise it and contributes towards the promotion of talent, of the value of the Diaspora and of its enterprising spirit.

The FAZ partnership, between COTEC – Portugal and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, is effectively a successful partnership: because it is not limited to rhetoric, because it interprets a mustering commitment with national purposes and because it has shown a notable capability in the transforming of a reality. A word of thanks is due to Dr. Isabel Mota and to Professor Daniel Bessa for their inestimable contribution towards this success.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have found in my contacts with the communities residing abroad many Portuguese who do not fear encompassing the whole world, who do not resign, who are ambitious and have the will to win. And who persist in keeping alive the bonds that link them to Portugal.

As I stated once, in line with the pioneering spirit of The Star Tracker network, this new generation of Portuguese is Portugal’s frontline in the world.

In the difficult circumstances of which we are all aware, I called upon all Portuguese to draw a positive and realistic picture of the Country, showing that we are a credible Country with great potential.

All Portuguese who reside and work abroad are ambassadors on behalf of Portugal.

It is their duty to disseminate the Country’s enormous potential and to contribute that Portugal show, as it deserves, a credible image all over the world.

This does not naturally means a replacement of the official representation, but will be a complement to it, a joint effort for the Country’s effective visibility.

Pessoa, one of our foremost authors and poets, stated that a nation that judged itself wrongly would end up by deserving the concept that it had, and poison itself.

Residing in the characteristics of the Portuguese nation, according to the shrewd comment of Eduardo Lourenço, an eminent thinker is the “labyrinth of nostalgia”. Leaving Portugal does not mean not belonging in the country’s life. On the contrary, the affective bonds are strengthened and the geographic distance provides a new and more objective perspective over the Country that we are and that we want to be.

Escaping from the labyrinth of nostalgia implies the building of a better future for Portugal.

We cannot ignore the experience and the wisdom of the components of the Diaspora, to whom merit, influence and reputation is recognized in their respective areas.

For this reason I supported the launching of the Council of the Portuguese Diaspora, a worldwide network which brings together Portuguese whose prestige is recognized in several different fields of activity.

The active participation of our Diaspora in national life and the welcoming of this contribution are encouraging signals that the dichotomy between those that depart and those that stay is being disintegrated.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As in other times in our History, Portugal is fighting with courage and determination to consolidate a new stage of national life, in which the economy may grow sustainably and create qualified employment, simultaneously with the reduction in development asymmetries.

The Portuguese have been demonstrating their enterprising fibre, not despairing or resigning when facing difficult circumstances.

Your success, as entrepreneurs, businessmen, artists, scientists or players in social reality, is an added value that Portugal must no allow to waste. These are mustering references of which the Portuguese must show pride.

I am extraordinarily pleased with the recognition of the efforts and and the talents of the Portuguese residing abroad, with their work and with their admirable dynamism, with their spirit of faithfulness to the roots and the values that distinguish the essence of being Portuguese.

I recognize, in this FAZ Meeting, to which I amk very pleased to have joined, a sense of wide national consensus over te value of the contribution of our Diaspora to the future of the Country.

Portugal is a pioneering nation in globalization. Only a united and cohesive nation could overcome the challenges placed by a global world. We encompassed the World a long time ago, and have set in it our way of life and our label. This image is well represented by the Portuguese present here today, a rousing testimony of a Portugal spread over the seven parts of the World.

To you all, my very best thanks.

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