Cape Verdean President Visits
Jorge Carlos Fonseca, president of the Republic Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), and First Lady Lígia Fonseca, were the guests of honor at a luncheon and reception hosted by BSU President Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria.
At the reception, held in the Heritage Room of the Maxwell Library, Dr. Joao Rosa, the founding executive director of the new Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies at Bridgewater, delivered introductory remarks:
“Today’s program is still another example of the close relationship which exists between this university and the people and the leadership of the nation of Cape Verde.”
In his remarks, President Mohler-Faria said, “I returned just a week ago from my most recent visit to Cape Verde and I’m very grateful for the friendship and acts of hospitality that I received there. President Fonseca was a most gracious host to me, and my visit there, as well as my many previous contacts, convince me that we have a special opportunity to begin to connect the Cape Verdean community here in the U.S. with Cape Verde.
“Our efforts to form a cohort here improves our ability to work together with Cape Verde to create projects, to better communicate and to share resources,” he continued.
“When I was elected president of this university in 2002, the prime minister of Cape Verde called me and asked to meet with me. Subsequently we spent much of an entire day discussing how Bridgewater could work collaboratively with Cabo Verde. This, in turn, led to the launching of a number of initiatives, including major funding grants and the founding of the first public university in Cape Verde. In addition, for the last eight years we have brought to Bridgewater a group of students from Cape Verde who studied here and earned degrees here and have gone back to Cape Verde to share their knowledge and talent.”
President Fonseca praised the “spirit of cooperation which we enjoy with this university which only gets better and better.”
He said he had come to America to attend last week’s US-Africa Leaders Summit, where President Obama hosted the heads of African states and their delegations in the US Capital.
“I made sure that my visit to your country included the chance to come to New England to meet with the many people in this region who have connections with Cape Verde, and that of course meant coming to Bridgewater, where we have such a good number of friends and partners,” he said.
A former university professor and college president himself, President Fonseca said his connections to Bridgewater “are very important to me personally as well as in my capacity as president.” Higher education is “vitally important” to the development of Cape Verde, he said, “and for our population of a little over 500,000, we have, for the first time in our nation’s history, more people studying in Cape Verde than are studying outside.”
President Fonseca added that more needs to be done in the area of higher education. “We have to have a greater number of our university teachers earning advanced degrees, specifically master’s and doctoral degrees, and we have to encourage more active research and scholarship on their part,” he said.
He said he hopes to continue working closely with BSU to “further develop, strengthen and widen the networks which have been established over the past years between our republic and this university” because “these connections have already been so fruitful and productive for all of us.”
Among other dignitaries in attendance were José Luis Rocha, ambassador of the Republic of Cabo Verde to the United States, and Pedro Graciano Gomes de Carvalho, the current consul general of the island nation in Boston.
Photo caption: Jorge Carlos Fonseca, president of the Republic Cabo Verde, and First Lady Lígia Fonseca, (second and third from right) join with BSU President Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria at the reception. At far left is Pedro Graciano Gomes de Carvalho, current Consul General of Cape Verde in Boston; Ambassador of the Republic of Cabo Verde to the U.S. José Luis Rocha; and Dr. Joao Rosa, executive director of the Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies at Bridgewater. (Story and photo by David K. Wilson, ’71, University News)