The 12th International Congress of the Lusitanian Association (Associação Internacional de Lusitanistas) (AIL) will be held for the first time in the East, in Macau.
According to comments made last week at a press conference by Carlos André, Coordinator of Macau Polytechnic Institute (IPM) Portuguese Language Pedagogical and Scientific Center, this year’s triennial Congress gathering of the scholars of Lusophone studies will be held at IPM from July 23 to 28. André spoke about the selection of the venue being “a recognition of the work that the institution [IPM] has done in favor of the Portuguese language,” noting as well the important role that the institution has in the region, especially in the promotion of the Portuguese language and culture.
According to André, the idea of holding such an event in Macau and at the IPM started from the President of the Institution, Lei Heong Iok, who instructed André to present IPM’s candidacy for 2017 during the 11th Congress held in 2014 in the city of Mindelo, Cape Verde.
Questioned on the importance of such an event for Macau and for the institution, André said: “It is the first time universities around the world come here to state very clearly that the territory has a role to play and that the history of Macau has a very special meaning in this dialogue of cultures, where the Portuguese language is clearly a striking element.” He also noted that this represents for the institution an affirmation of its key-player status in the training and education regarding Portuguese studies and interpretation.
The scholar said that for the 12th edition, the Congress will include for the first time a number of Chinese scholars (16), who will, for the first time also present papers and communications.
These will be some of the roughly 142 participants registered, representing more than 80 university institutions from 15 different countries and regions.
André highlighted the presence of professors from some of the most prestigious universities attending, such as King’s College in London, Milan and Bologna, Rome (La Sapienza) and Napoli in Italy, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and Salamanca and Santiago de Compostela from Spain. The USA will be represented by Arizona, Santa Barbara and Brown universities and Portugal will be represented by universities in Porto, Lisbon and Coimbra.
He also remarked that the congress had “three weeks ago” registered a total of 180 participants but that list of expected participants had suffered a sudden change last week due to the “crisis situation that is happening in Brazil.”
It is expected that during the Congress, a total of four plenary sessions and 48 short sessions on specific topics will be held. The Portuguese language will feature heavily in the presentations, along with other topics such as Brazilian and (Portuguese-speaking) African countries’ literature and contemporary history and feminist studies.