Integration Project

October 14 & 15, 2011

"Generations: Current Findings on the Acculturation and Integration of Portuguese Immigrants and their Descendants"

A conference on the dialectic interplay between acculturation and integration and the maintenance of Portuguese ethnic boundaries in North American societies

Over thirty scholars from Portugal, Canada and the United States convened at Rhode Island College to present and discuss current findings on the integration of Portuguese immigrants and their descendants on topics such as socioeconomic advancement, civic engagement, and political participation while considering their interplay with the maintenance of the Portuguese language and ethnic boundaries.

The inter-disciplinary conference was a product of the vision and the work of Dulce Maria Soares Scott, Ph.D., professor of Sociology, Anderson University, Indiana and affiliated researcher of the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies. The first day of the conference was devoted to "Socioeconomic, Spatial and Political Integration" while the second day explored "Acculturation and the Maintenance of Ethnic Boundaries and the Portuguese Language". The basis of the study is the recent on-line survey of more than 1600 respondents and interviewees who shared their information and perspectives with Dr. Scott. The interplay between both aspects of the study, integration on the one hand and cultural maintenance on the other, became the central theme to be examined in the many presentations that followed over the course of the two days.

The illustration of the theme came in the form of the personal testimonial of American journalist Meredith Vieira, the granddaughter of Azorean immigrants. Through the video of her journey to Faial in 2008 produced for the "TODAY" show by NBC, the audience could witness Ms. Vieira's experience of discovering her ancestral "roots". The interview that followed highlighted her appreciation of her heritage and her desire to share this new pride with her own children while at the same time expressing regret over having denied it throughout most of her life. Her story is typical of many second and third generation Luso-descendants who eventually come to learn about their heritage and its value.

Read more or Watch the video.

Peace Radio Project / Rádio Para A Paz

RIC Signs Protocol with Pro Dignitate Foundation

The Institute expanded its Lusophone breadth with the signing of an agreement of cooperation between the Pro Dignitate Foundation of Lisbon and Rhode Island College at a pre-conference banquet on Sept 22nd in the Student Union Ballroom. Former First Lady of Portugal and President of the Pro Dignitate Foundation Maria Barroso Soares and RIC President Nancy Carriuolo signed the protocol which outlines a three year project that will involve conferences, lectures and internships focused upon the timely topic of the use of the radio as an instrument of peace in Guinea-Bissau. The "Peace Radio" project involves the examination of ethical radio journal practices and the application of those practices in the training of radio journalists during times of conflict and in peace building in Guinea-Bissau.


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March 12th, 19th, 26th, 2011

The Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies and the Pro Dignitate Foundation of Lisbon, Portugal presented a series of workshops especially for journalists who serve Portuguese-speaking audiences. The three sessions were attended by speakers, journalists and community leaders representing the Lusophone countries of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Portugal including the Azores and Madeira.

At each session, the presentations by experts were followed by panels of local journalists and community leaders giving the audience an opportunity to ask questions and to raise issues regarding social communication. Each session also included break-out sessions where participants were able to address a problem found in print or broadcast media and suggest solutions.

The series of 3 consecutive workshops followed a progression of topics as follows:

  • Saturday, March 12th: "Journalistic Fundamentals and Ethics"
    Presenters: Eung-Jun Min, Ph.D., Professor & Chairman, Communication Dept., RIC
    Antonio Pacheco, Director, Rádio Sol Mansi, Pro-Dignitate Foundation
    Panelists: Henry Arruda, Owner/Director, WJFD 93.7 FM, New Bedford, MA
    Carlos DeBrito, Radio Dinos/ Sodad

  • Saturday, March 19th, "Aplicação das técnicas de rádio" (elaboração das notícias, utilizando os critérios da linguagem da rádio)
    Presenters: Monica Villela Grayley, Chief, Portuguese Unit, United Nations Radio, NYC
    Antonio Pacheco, Director, Rádio Sol Mansi, Pro-Dignitate Foundation
    Panelists: Frank Baptista, Owner/Director, WHTB 1400 AM, Fall River, MA
    Pedro Chantre, VisaoNews

  • Saturday, March 26th, "As exigências da reportagem para audiências lusófonas"
    Presenters: Pedro Bicudo, Director, RTP-Azores, Former RTP Washington Correspondent
    Milton Maluleque, Journalist/ Producer: Portuguese Service, Channel Africa, South Africa
    Panelists: Fernando G. Rosa, Chairman, Board of Directors, PALCUS
    Romana Ramos, President, Cape Verdean Association for Community Development
    Celina Tavares Spencer, President, Associação da Comunidade da Guiné-Bissau-EUA
    Antonio Ambrosio, 2010 President of Day of Portugal in RI, Chair of IPLWS Advisory Board

Each registered participant received a certicate of attendance.

Read more in What's News Online.

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Luso-American Elected Officials Project

Initiated by the research of Former General Treasurer Paul J. Tavares, the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rhode Island College has undertaken an oral history project to document the public service of Luso-Americans in Rhode Island. To date, approximately 65 Luso-Americans, that is Portuguese-speaking Americans, including those of Portuguese, Cape-Verdean, or Brazilian ancestry, who have served in the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island have been identified.

Information will continue to be gathered through research of documents and recording of oral histories of these legislators to be archived for future reference at the James P. Adams Library at Rhode Island College.

Luso-American Elected Officials Oral History Project Committee (2008)

Paul J. Tavares, Former RI General Treasurer
IPLWS Advisory Board Chair

Mark T. Motte, Ph.D., Director
Center for Public Policy, IPLWS

Professor Lisa M. Godinho, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Modern Languages

Professor Marlene Lopes, Special Collections Librarian
James P. Adams Library

Patricia Nolin '84
Special Assistant to the President

Marie R. Fraley, Associate Director

Legacy of Service: 50 Years of Public Service to the Luso-American Community of the State of Rhode Island

The oral history project begins with the story of fifty continuous years of service in which Portuguese-Americans have held the senate district seat representing all or part of East Providence (District #42 - previously #14).

The five senators of this district include:

  • Gilbert T. Rocha, Associate Justice of Family Court
    Senator (D) - District: East Providence (1959 - 1966)

  • William A. Castro
    Senator and President Pro Tempore (D), District 42 (1967 - 1983)

  • John F. Correia
    Senator and President Pro Tempore (D), District 42 (1983 - 1992)

  • Paul J. Tavares, General Treasurer (1999 - 2006)
    Senator (D), District 42 (1993 - 1998)

  • Daniel DaPonte
    Senator (D), District 14 (1999 - present)

A Tribute to Luso-American Elected Officials of the RI General Assembly
October 18, 2008

On October 18, 2008, the Donovan Dining Center at Rhode Island College was the setting for the celebration of the extraordinary political participation of Luso-Americans in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The centerpiece of the historical occasion was the tribute to the five Portuguese-American Senators who have held the same seat consecutively and without interruption for 50 years representing all or part of East Providence (District 14, previously 42). Dignitaries including US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, family and friends gathered to honor the legislators on the occasion marking a level of state political participation of Luso-Americans that is a unique occurrence in the United States.

The event was highlighted by the premier of the DVD entitled: "Legacy of Service: 50 Years of Public Service to the Luso-American Community and the State of Rhode Island". The fifteen minute DVD is a condensation of five hours of video recorded interviews of the five senators touching on topics of immigration, assimilation, language and culture maintenance, family and religious values and political challenges within historical and present day contexts. Excerpts of the senators' interviews are woven throughout the story of immigrants and their descendants, who embraced the American way of life by learning the English language, by becoming citizens, by voting and ultimately by serving in public elected office.

Watch the Video

Also honored during the evening were Luso-American legislators currently sitting in the RI General Assembly as well as special distinctions for general office, women and family legacies.

Luso-Americans Serving in the RI General Assembly (2008)

Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D - District 13, Jamestown, Newport
Senator Stephen D. Alves, Chair of Finance Committee, D - District 9, West Warwick
Senator Daniel DaPonte, D - District 14, East Providence
Senator Paul E. Moura, D - District 18, East Providence
House Majority Leader Gordon D. Fox, D - District 4, Providence
Speaker Pro Tempore Charlene Lima, D - District 14, Cranston
Rep. Joseph S. Almeida, D - District 12, Providence
Rep. Joseph N. Almeida, R - District 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton
Rep. William San Bento, Jr., D - District 58, North Providence, Pawtucket
Rep. Henry C. Rose, D - District 63 - East Providence, Pawtucket
Rep. Edwin R. Pacheco, D - District 47, Burrillville, Glocester
Rep. Helio Melo, D - District 64, East Providence
Rep. Agostinho F. Silva, D - District 56, Central Falls
Rep. Deborah A. Fellela, D - District 43, Johnston

(L to R) Vice-Consul J. Leonel Teixeira; Embassy Attaché Jose Antonio Galaz; Senator M. Teresa Paiva-Weed; General Treasurer Paul J. Tavares

Special Distinction

Luso-Americans In Rhode Island General Office

Barbara M. Leonard, Secretary of State, 1993 - 1995
Paul J. Tavares, General Treasurer, 1999 - 2006
A. Ralph Mollis, Secretary of State, 2007 -

Luso-American Women in the RI General Assembly

Helen M. Furtado Mathieu, Senator, Portsmouth, 1987 - 1996
Maria J. Lopes, Representative, East Providence, 1989 - 2000
Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Senator, Jamestown, Newport, 1993 -
Speaker Tempore Charlene Lima, Representative, Cranston, 1993 -
Deborah A. Fellela, Representative, Johnston, 2007 -

Family Legacies

Representative Julio F. Rocha (1945 - 1956)
     and son, Associate Justice Gilbert T. Rocha (Senate: 1959 - 1966)
Representative William L. Alves, Jr. ( 1987 - 1992)
     and son, Senator Stephen D. Alves ( 1990 - 1992, 1995 - )
Representative Augusto W. São Bento ( 1957 - 1966)
     and brother, Representative Antonio São Bento (1977 - 1986)
     and nephew, Representative William San Bento, Jr. (1993 - )
Representative George A. Castro (1981 - 1998)
     and son-in-law, Senator Paul E. Moura (House: 1985 - 2006, Senate: 2006 - )

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Page last updated: Friday, October 28, 2011