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Mrs Maria Cavaco Silva Speeches


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Speech by Mrs. Maria Cavaco Silva at the Dinner – Award of the 6th Edition of the Active Woman Prize Dinner
Pestana Palace Hotel, Lisbon, 15 May 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is sometimes said that the Portuguese are pessimists, negative, tied to fate, mainly when it’s tragic. I would like to tell you a little tale that involved me a few years ago.

I attended an official lunch abroad and the Belgian man seated next to me declared, with the appearance of one making a diagnosis, “My driver is Portuguese, He’s a sad man…” I smiled, though in a yellowy way, to use Cesário Verde’s words. Probably thinking that I agreed, the man insisted. “My cook is also Portuguese. She always has the look of one who is bored. Elle est toujours très ennuyée.

At this point I found the comments on the chronic depression of my fellow countrymen, seen as a widespread given fact, too much and I replied. “It’s true! During centuries we got so bored we decided to discover the World”. The laughter that followed, accompanied by a flattering comment, showed me clearly that the man had got the message. Touché!

It is therefore with great joy that I am here this evening to speak about the prize awarded by a magazine that has a name that gives me great pleasure – Mulher Activa (Active Woman). The prize has been awarded since 2000 to extraordinary Women who have neither the disposition nor the time to be bored.

During these six years, the Active Woman Prize has called our attention and lent visibility to dozens of women who devote the best part of their energy, their creativity, their time, their love to projects that they have invented and developed for the good of the community of which they are a part.

This prize, for which I wish a long life, is an incentive for us all. It shows us that human beings are all the richer when they give something of themselves. It shows us that there are people who will not let themselves be overcome. At a time when not everything that seems so is of greater importance, the Active Woman Prize provides a face and a voice for the many women and many works that, without it, would be left hidden within the small circle of the fortunate ones who benefit from their generosity and from their imagination in overcoming the stumbling blocks of life

Thus it is that we find out that there are women who fight against cancer, their’s and those of others, who fight the sicknesses of body and soul, who fight against exclusion, who reach out to physical and mental disability.

There is so much to do in this world. So many people are waiting for us! How can we find life tedious? This is the prize for those that are not resigned, nor are they bored. It’s good to give a prize that calls attention to so many women of whom we are proud. It’s good to receive a prize that tells us going ahead is always worthwhile.

It is for this reason that today is party day. We are going to award the Active Woman Prizes and to congratulate these women who continue to discover the World every day. To give a prize is an act of gratitude, To receive one is an act of humility. It is for this reason that being here today to speak of the Active Woman Prize is to be here, too, filled with emotion and pride, to speak about the Women of my Country.

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