Portuguese Ambassador’s Visit Highlights RIC’s Outreach Efforts

Portuguese Ambassador Nuno Brito and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed recently visited the RIC campus, underscoring the college’s ongoing efforts in support of Rhode Island’s Portuguese community.

President Nancy Carriuolo hosted the ambassador, the senator and several local officials at a private luncheon and tour prior to Brito’s presenting Reed with the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator at a State House ceremony.

The senator and ambassador, joined by R.I. Senate Finance Chairman Daniel DaPonte, visited students enrolled in RIC’s Portuguese studies program in the Modern Languages Department, which offers classes in beginning through advanced Portuguese language and in the literature and culture of all Portuguese-speaking nations. Enrollment in the program has grown nearly 50 percent over the past five years. 

The group also visited RIC’s Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies, a nontraditional academic center launched in 2006 that fosters connections between the college and Lusophone communities. Most recently, the institute launched a noncredit certificate of continuing study in civic journalism for Lusophone radio journalists in Southeastern New England and a second certificate in peace journalism for journalists in Luso-African countries such as Guinea-Bissau. The programs explore best practices in broadcast journalism with a special focus on radio broadcasting. Both curricula include ethical reporting, appropriate language application, interviewing practices and special audience considerations. The peace journalism certificate also covers conflict resolution and crisis reporting. The certificate programs are funded by the Pro Dignitate Foundation for Human Rights of Lisbon.

While this marked Ambassador Brito’s first visit to RIC, other notable Lusophone dignitaries have made the college a destination of choice in recent years. Among these were last fall’s visit by Jose de Almeida Cesario, secretary of state for the Portuguese Communities Abroad, and the previous year’s visit by H.E. Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, president of the Republic of Cape Verde.

Statewide efforts to support the Portuguese community have also included RIC as a key player. Just this past weekend, President Carriuolo was among the high-profile guests of U.S. Rep. David Cicilline as he hosted a reception for the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Robert Sherman. Other dignitaries included U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Rep. James Langevin and the mayors of Bristol, Central Falls, Cumberland and East Providence.