Cape Verde Summer Leadership Institute trains future leaders
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"Bridgewater State University has become a leader in forging collaborative educational agreements with nations around the world, and we know how vitally important that work is to help boost economic development in countries such as Cape Verde,” said Dr. Joao Rosa, the founding executive director of the new Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies at Bridgewater.
Dr. Rosa delivered those remarks at a ceremony concluding a two-week visit to BSU from a group of a dozen officials from Cape Verde attending the first Summer Leadership Institute, which was co-sponsored by the university and the institute.
Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, BSU’s president and a descendant of immigrants from Cape Verde, and who over the past decade has championed efforts to establish strong ties between the island nation and the large Cape Verdean population in southeastern Massachusetts, congratulated the participants for their work at Bridgewater.
“A university such as Bridgewater has more of an obligation than simply teaching and learning on our campus. We have a responsibility to help connect the world, to use knowledge as a basis for bringing about equity, fairness and justice wherever we can,” he said.
“In 2002, as I embarked on my presidency, that was a central initiative for me. I wanted to help our community create a place not only where concepts of global citizenship were encouraged but also to make Bridgewater an institution with ongoing partnerships in places far beyond our borders. Today we have more than forty such formal relationships in 26 nations, ranging from South America to Asia, to Europe, Africa and to the Middle East.,” he explained.
The president said that sharing the resources available at Bridgewater, including most especially the talent of its faculty, staff, students and alumni, has been fundamental to the success of the effort.
“Bridgewater has changed substantially in the last 20 years. We have a much broader focus than we used to have. Our work with Cape Verde has been instrumental in helping us develop the experience to do this. Given the large number of people in our region of the state with connections to Cape Verde, this is obviously a mission which yields enormous benefits for all concerned,” Dr. Mohler-Faira said.
Addressing directly the summer institute participants, the president said, “You have used your time at Bridgewater wisely. Your work here over the past several weeks – the classes you have taken with Bridgewater faculty, the reading and research you’ve done here as part of your studies and the visits you have made to important historical sites here and elsewhere along the East Coast – will change not only Cape Verde itself but Cape Verde’s ability to connect with the broader world and profit from those new contacts. The farther we can cast our net, the more people we will touch, and you will be among those who will be the leaders of this effort.”
The Consul of Cape Verde in New England, Pedro Garciano Gomes deCarvalho, delivered greetings at the ceremony.
“I am so very pleased to be here today to congratulate the participants in the institute and to tell you how very proud we, your fellow countrymen, are of your accomplishments at Bridgewater,” he said. “Our friendship with this university is, as Dr. Mohler-Faria has said, a long-standing one and extremely important to us. The partnership that exists between Bridgewater and Cape Verde is remarkable. This institute, named for a former president of Cape Verde, is one more example of the bonds we share with Bridgewater. With all my heart, I thank all who have made this possible.” (Story and photo by David K. Wilson, ’71, University Advancement)