24th annual AULP meeting opens at UM

2_UM0117092014The opening ceremony for the 24th annual meeting of the Association of Portuguese Speaking Universities (Associação das Universidades de Língua Portuguesa, AULP) was held at the University of Macau’s (UM) new campus yesterday. Over 200 AULP members from Portuguese-speaking countries and regions attended the opening ceremony. The secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Cheong U, noted that Macau hosted four previous AULP annual meetings and stated that the local government will continue to support the event and promote exchange and cooperation between Macau and Portuguese- speaking countries in various areas.
This is the fifth time that the AULP’s annual meeting has been held in the region. This year’s gathering is co-organized by the UM, the Macau Polytechnic Institute (IPM), and the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT).
Prof Jorge Ferrão remarked that Chinese has more native speakers than any other language in the world, and that Portuguese is also a much-used language,  spoken by about 250 million people worldwide. According to him, both languages play a very important role in facilitating not only the development of political, economic, trade and cultural relations between nations but also the development of the tourism industry.
This year’s annual meeting started with the plenary meeting of the AULP and the meeting of the AULP’s Administrative Council, followed by roundtable sessions on four topics.  These topics included “Networks of Higher Education”, “Portuguese, a language with future?”; “Language Propagation and Tourist & Commercial Promotion”, and “From Internationalization to Integration”. Invited speakers included the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of Cape Verde Dr António Correia e Silva, and the Secretary of State of Science and Technology of Angola Prof João Sebastião Teta. Thirty-
two papers which were selected from this year’s submissions were presented at the meeting. Towards the end of the meeting, the Fernão Mendes Pinto Award was presented to the authors of the three best PhD dissertations in Portuguese- speaking countries for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The AULP is an international academic organization. Its members come from more than 200 higher education institutions in different countries and regions, including Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, and Macau. Institutions that enjoy provisional membership status include Portuguese language departments at universities in the United States, France and Italy. There are currently six institutions in Macao that are AULP members. They are UM, IPM, IFT, the International Institute of Macau, the University of Saint Joseph, and the Asia International Open University (Macau).

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