To the delight of millions who express themselves through it in the most diverse geographical regions of our planet, the Portuguese Language (LP) has witnessed its World Day devoted since 2020, becoming part of a (moreover restricted) group of six other languages with similar recognition, which Awarded by the United Nations system through UNESCO, after an unprecedented mobilization of all the countries that make up the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. This satisfaction is more evident, to all who speak our language, because it was the first time that this distinction had been granted to a language that was not an official language of the United Nations.
This recognition was a clear result of the increasing importance assumed by the universes and the dynamics assumed by the LP created by all those who built and propagated it in the multiple aspects of human activity and in every corner of the world where our language thrives. Now, if this remark is subject to deserving joy and celebration, it is also, at the same time, a reason to increase the responsibility of each of us to better deal with our common language, with greater quality and through a growing and ambitious plan to enhance its internationalization, promotion and teaching.
In the context of the fact that in the past six years, public funds devoted to the internationalization of the language (including teaching abroad) and Portuguese culture have increased, in some years more, at other times less, but always in this upward direction the public bet in an aspect is undoubtedly a priority For the country’s foreign policy (also due to the positive and multiplier effects it enjoys and will continue to have in other external priorities in Portugal), Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language takes on this catalytic challenge and doubles its efforts to reach further and better for the current entities, but also to potential and potential beneficiaries Neo.
It is worth noting the strengthening of its network of Portuguese Education Abroad (EPE), in private interaction, as it cannot be, with Portuguese and Portuguese communities in different parts of Europe, America and Africa, thus providing access to the Portuguese language and culture on the part of the universe that does not neglect children. And youth, and thus revitalize school communities. In European countries such as Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Africans such as the Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Eswatini and Zimbabwe, this dynamic is centered on the teachers that the Portuguese have put into place. In Australia, Canada, the United States of America and Venezuela, it provides support to schools where the Portuguese language is taught, but whose teachers belong to the personnel of the respective countries. It is right, at this stage of this text, to pay a highly recognized tribute to every one of the educators who, in our network, make an invaluable contribution to carrying out a difficult and sometimes complex task, but necessary to achieve the goals of everyone else in this regard. May 5th them in a very special way.
EPE is now present in 18 countries (14 in the official network and four in the so-called subsidized network), by 978 teachers, covering 1,445 schools and 66,555 students at preschool, primary and secondary levels, at the same time. The time supporting the presence of Portuguese as a methodological language for secondary education is already effective in 35 countries (Ireland and Scotland are the most recent countries on this list, through pilot projects). We realize that the teaching of our language has yet to reach more areas in areas where there are worrisome weaknesses in its presentation. Another challenge we have to face and overcome.
On the important front of higher education and the spread of culture in Portuguese, I cannot help but refer to these current figures: a network of 51 readers, 19 cultural centers, and 53 chairs spread over four continents (with an ambitious goal of reaching 60 by the end of this year – Particularly important, among other things, to the indispensable emphasis of Portuguese in science, in the production of knowledge, in the promotion of research and innovation, if you want to succeed as one of the largest international companies (languages), 82 research centers Portuguese language spread all over the world , And 303 protocols for teaching support (with an increased graduation offer in studies with the Portuguese language / culture component available today worldwide, in multiple reference institutions of higher education) and also, in conclusion, the beautiful number of 76 countries where, through Camões, is taught The Portuguese language, its practice and the study of LP cultures, both in and for mode.
On the one hand, it is with unequivocal satisfaction (and a reason for special encouragement for all of us on Camões IP) we note the increasing way in which many other representatives relate to these celebrations on May 5, with a special focus on the autonomous regions, municipal authority, and civil society, And many associations and institutions, among many other things. The same is true, I have signs of this daily, in many other CPLP countries.
Enthusiasm is the guiding line, despite some pitfalls along the way, allowing us to conclude that the Portuguese language (albeit at times with polemics and much debate about what its future should be or about what the recent past was) is today one of the facts. Which brings together feelings of national unity, pride in belonging to a common space, with a wealth of diversity (which makes it a fortress and a special strength) and a common cultural heritage rich for all. The language of the world and the world. The language of collusion and bridges (it also prides itself on resistance) always with the special salt of the salty oceans and seas surrounding its enormous geographical area. A language that makes us proud (and we have an obligation to speak, write and teach better and better), which sometimes gives us an opportunity when we need it, especially when we are in multilingual places with a long absence of speaking and expressing ourselves in our Portuguese language (I know this feeling, in a special way, as a professional diplomatic official) . Polycentric language, of peace, solidarity, welcome and cooperation, but also of pedagogy, debate and discussion (sometimes lit – LP becomes richer), of various music and variants, many records, multiple voices and with an unusual appetite that adapts, without losing its character, which It makes it one of the major languages on a global level.
President of Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language