RIC welcomes the President of the Republic Cape Verde


From left to right: Denise DePina, President Fonseca, Benatty Assunção '12, Bruno Ramos and Helena Abu-Raya '96.

Faculty, students and members of the Cape Verdean community welcomed H.E. Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cape Verde, on Sept. 28 for a luncheon and tour of the Cape Verdean Special Collections in Adams Library.

President Fonseca, who was visiting the U.S. for United Nations Peace Week, spent his free time traveling around New England to visit with members of the Cape Verdean-American community, as well as business and government leaders.

At the President’s request, two Cape Verdean-American RIC students, Bruno Ramos and Denise DePina, and recent alums, Helena Abu-Raya ‘96 and Benatty Assunção’12, sat at his table and spoke with him during the luncheon in the President’s Dining Room.

Approximately 30 people were in attendance, including Marie Fraley, interim director of the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies, and Earl Simson, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, both of whom offered remarks of welcome and thanks.

Others present included Silvia Oliveira – a RIC assistant professor of Portuguese studies in the Department of Modern Languages, and faculty liaison to the Institute – Luisa Handem Piette, a Knight International Journalism Fellow, Peter Mendy, associate professor of History and African studies and Luisa Carlos DeBrito, President of the Cape Verdean Media Association.

Marlene Lopes, head of Special Collections, shows President Fonseca RIC's vast collection of Cape Verdean materials, including books, photographs, maps and statues.

President Fonseca spoke to the audience following the luncheon, directing his speech to the three Cape Verdean-American students in particular. He expressed his hopes for them to continue their hard work and studies at RIC so they may become proficient members of society in the future.

He cited his visit to RIC as one smaller element of many that work to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Cape Verde, two countries with a relationship that is already centuries old, he said. The President gave two books to the college, the first written by him and published in 2011, titled “Cabo Verde: Constituição, Democracia, Cidadania” (Cape Verde: Constitution, Democracy, Citizenship). The other book was the “Constituição de República de Cabo Verde” (Constitution of Cape Verde).

He also presented a bronze medallion to the college as a remembrance of his visit. One side of the medal is inscribed with “Presidência da República de Cabo Verde” (Presidency of the Republic of Cape Verde), and on the other side, “Não há democracia fora da constituição” (There is no democracy outside of the Constitution). 

After the luncheon, President Fonseca was greeted by RIC President Nancy Carriuolo in Adams Library, where he posed for group photos. Marlene Lopes, head of Special Collections, took the group on a tour of RIC’s vast collection of Cape Verdean materials, including books, photographs, maps and statues.

The President, a lawyer and university professor, was elected to the presidency of the Republic of Cape Verde in 2011. He has written several books and published over 50 scientific and technical works on law and written two books of poetry.