Welcome to the Official page of the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic

Note on navigating with support technologies

On this page you will find two navigation aids: a search engine (shortcut key 1) | Skip to content (shortcut key 2)
Apresentação do livro 'As Primeiras-Damas - As Mulheres dos Presidentes da República em Democracia'
Apresentação do livro 'As Primeiras-Damas - As Mulheres dos Presidentes da República em Democracia'
Palácio de Belém, 12 de Abril de 2011 see more: Apresentação do livro 'As Primeiras-Damas - As Mulheres dos Presidentes da República em Democracia'


Mrs Maria Cavaco Silva Speeches


Click here to reduce font size| Click here to increase font size
Address by Mrs. Cavaco Silva at the Opening of the II World Symposium on Studies in Portuguese Language (SIMELP)
Évora University, Espírito Santo College, 6 October 2009

I am particularly pleased to join you here today in this II Symposium in Studies in Portuguese Language. .

It is possible that some of the many who are attending this Symposium will know that for many years I was a lecturer in Portuguese Language in the Portuguese Catholic University, for Portuguese students at first, and later as well, for students in the Erasmus Programme, who came from many countries, not just European, but also from areas .located much farther away, such as the Argentine, Venezuela, the United States of America. It was a very enriching experience which touched me deeply.

Since my husband was elected President of the Republic I have been greatly pleased to volunteer as a sort of Good Will Ambassador of my beloved Portuguese Language. I take advantage of official trips abroad to come into contact with those who teach and learn our language and our culture throughout the world.

I gave a lecture in Pablo Neruda’s house, in Chile and, in Berlin, I visited a school where I was gratified to see that the Portuguese Language students all came from Portuguese speaking African countries. In Ankara I attended a class in a University given by a young lecturer and poet who is performing excellent work with Turkish students. Finally, quoting the poet, “were there a greater world I would find it...”, always with enjoyment in my mind to be able to share my taste for this language which we Portuguese now share with seven other independent countries.

Portuguese became autonomous more than 700 years ago and has been shared for centuries by two great literatures. Also, in the last few decades other literatures are emerging which, in spite of their youth, have already seen works and authors internationally recognized.

The Portuguese language continues to be our Nation, as wished by Fernando Pessoa or, before him by Eça de Queiroz who had already said that nationality truly resides in the language.

Today, however, the Portuguese Language is a nation made up of many nations, an open space where we communicate and where several literatures flourish, each of them moulding and enriching the common language in their own way.

The language of Camões and Vieira, of Guimarães Rosa and Sophia de Mello Breyner, is nowadays also that of Pepetela, Agualusa and Mia Couto, just to refer some of those currently and more frequently being translated into dozens of other languages.

We cannot, neither do we want to, sub estimate the value of this heirloom, which is a motive of justified pride for more than 200 million Portuguese speakers, but which must also be considered as a heritage which we love, preserve and wish to make known to others.

The simple fact that so many millions of people communicate in Portuguese, be it as a mother tongue or as a second language, makes it imperative to guarantee its being taught and its international dissemination.

Portuguese has to assert itself as a «global language». It can be heard in the four corners of the earth and, for this exact reason, it is justified that many others feel motivated to learn it as a foreign language.

Dear colleagues:

Your contribution towards achieving these national objectives has been, until today, and will certainly continue so in the future, not only inestimable but an absolute requirement.

Without your dedication and your expertise, we would certainly not be witnessing the growing interest, shown in many parts of the world, in learning Portuguese and in the quality and uniqueness of each of the literatures in which Portuguese is written.

I wish, for this reason, to expressly underline the gratitude of all those that speak Portuguese, for your work and for all it represents for your countries and ours.

Many thanks to you all. I am certain that this enlarged Symposium will be a great success for the benefit of the language which we all share with so much pride.

Maria Cavaco Silva

© 2006-2016 Presidency of the Portuguese Republic