On Monday May 6th, 2013, the commemoration Day of the Portuguese Language and Culture in the CPLP (Comunidade dos Paises de Lingua Portuguesa), a joint initiative of the Embassies of Angola, Brazil and Portugal, was celebrated at the Hayalom Theatre in Ramat Gan
HE Ambassador of Angola, Mr. Jose Joao Manuel, HE Ambassador of Brazil, Ms. Maria Elisa Berenguer, and HE Ambassador of Portugal Mr Miguel de Almeida E Sousa welcomed approximately 250 guests in the theater’s foyer, where cocktails were served on the occasion.
The CPLC- Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries- was formed on July 17th, 1996 by Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome,and Principe. Later in 2005, the Ministers of Culture of the member-States of the CPLP declared the 5th of May as the “Day of the Portuguese Language and the Culture in the CPLP”.
During the ceremony, the Ambassadors of Angola, Brazil and Portugal to Israel addressed the public, speaking of the political, economic and cultural dimensions of the CPLP. Particularly, the CPLP was presented as a community that understands a common language can form bridges between countries separated by great distances. Therefore it wants to commemorate the multiple and diverse cultures of the countries and territories where Portuguese constitutes an official language.
During his speech, HE Ambassador of the Republic of Angola to the State of Israel, Mr. Jose Joao Manuel, reminded the audience that the CPLP was formed in 1996, with its Head of Office in Lisbon. Since then, the Organization “has become a domain of political-diplomatic focus for its member-States and is an agent of unity on a global scale, performing increasingly significant and influential joint actions”.
“One of the most important commitments of the Organization has been to support all international attempts to resolve conflict by peaceful means and to stress the importance of preventive diplomacy mediation” said the Angolan diplomat. “At the moment, […] the CPLP is playing an active role in international attempts to solve an internal political crisis in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, created by the military coup that took place a year ago.” he detailed.
The Ambassador further explained that cooperation among the countries of the CPLP in economic matters is crucial; diplomatically the organization also serves to defend mutual positions on the most varied topics that dominate international politics, while each one of the participating countries belongs to particular regional organizations. By virtue of their geographical location and the particular regional organizations they belong to, each member-state of the CPLP constitutes a potential defender of the interests of the other member-state. Therefore, the CPLP, an organization made up of only eight countries with branches all over the world, that has established itself as an effective interlocutor for different issues on the international political and diplomatic agenda.
To conclude, Mr. Manuel cited Mr. Murargy who recently said that the CPLP must not confine itself to being a linguistic community. The dynamic of its activities show that the CPLP could become a much more encompassing institution, embracing such areas as as cooperation in the field of training, education, culture, defense, security, economy and commerce.
On her turn at the podium, HE Ambassador of Brazil Maria Elisa Berenguer assured that the joint presence of the CPLP points to the sense of brotherhood and solidarity uniting the eight member-states of the community of Portuguese speaking countries
Ms. Berenguer explained that the the CPLP countries share linguistic, historical, ethnic and cultural ties which have enabled them to set up a community that has progressively made itself known in the world economy.
“Home to about 250 million inhabitants, we are not a negligible market,” the Ambassador said. “ In 2011, 15 years since the founding of the CPLP, the GDP’s of our eight countries taken together reached USD 2,85 trillion. And the average inflation of the community’s member-state stands at 6.5%. These figures have proven attractive to foreign capital: growing investments in the CPLP countries show how confident the global market is in the outlook of our economies”.
The Brazilian diplomat further explained that the economic dimension of the CPLP would not be complete without a reference to the economic value of the Portuguese language, not only as an asset in cultural-related activities, but also as a tool for economic and commercial development, selling services and conducting business in general. As a result, the constant coordination between the member-state countries in multilateral forum has come to reflect the vision of their societies converging on the quest for a more just and diverse world.
The Ambassador of Portugal in Israel spoke about the cultural dimension of the CPLP. His speech focused on the result of centuries of a rich coexistence and miscegenation of peoples and cultures in the four corners of the world.
Understanding Portuguese is not the sole preserve of one state; the government of the member-states of the CPLP are committed to the preservation and valorization of their common language in the framework of the organization on a the global scale. For example, the International Institute of the Portuguese Language, the International Centre of Documentation and the Observatory of the Portuguese Language all play a prominent role in the education and dissemination of the Portuguese language.
Similarly, explained the Ambassador, “We are adopting strategy document and common action and programs in order to promote the expansion of the usage of the language in each of our national societies in the diaspora of the various member states and, much more important, in a growing number of international organizations, regional and global.”
The Portuguese diplomat went on to further detail that the member-states of the CPLP are active in all instances and international organizations in UN agencies and programs and in specialized Multilateral Organizations. Therefore, in the functioning of the CPLP, it is a common practice to strive for conciliation in the defense of national and regional interests of the member-states, searching within the organization to find common answers to the global challenges, whether they are faced individually or collectively.
Lastly, the Ambassador stated “the CPLP is more than the sum of of the Nations that compose it or the language group it represents. It is the living expression of a common will to continue in a path of creation of a common cultural space. Based on voluntary sharing of our values and cultural expressions, to which a coexistence of centuries- and the teachings of history- give a unique character which is the pride of all of us.”
After the protocol the Contemporary Dance Company of Angola performed for the guests in the Hayalom Theatre.
Published in World of Diplomacy in Israel.