The initiative results from a partnership between Camões - Cooperation and Language Institute, Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), Portuguese representation at UNESCO, ONUNews and RTP.
“For the first time, we are going to celebrate World Portuguese Language Day and we had planned an event with great visibility, but circumstances dictated that we had to adapt what we were thinking to a virtual format”, the president of the Camões Institute, Luís Faro Ramos told Lusa.
The event will include a “more institutional” part, in which testimonies will be gathered from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, the President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, the head of Cape Verde state and acting president of CPLP, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, CPLP executive secretary, Francisco Ribeiro Telles, and ambassador Sampaio da Nóvoa, Portugal’s representative at UNESCO.
These will be joined by about two dozen other Portuguese-speaking personalities including writers, musicians, filmmakers or scientists.
Among them are the writers Mia Couto (Mozambique), Germano Almeida (Cape Verde) or Manuel Alegre (Portugal) and the singers Adriana Calcanhoto (Brazil), Dino Santiago (Portugal / Cape Verde) or Carminho (Portugal).
Also participating are footballer Pedro Pauleta, canoeist Fernando Pimenta (Portugal), filmmaker Flora Gomes (Guinea-Bissau), scientist Maria Manuel Mota, theologian and cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça (Portugal) or East Timorese politician José Ramos-Horta, among others.
“These testimonies are condensed into a video that conveys very different, very rich perspectives, of what the Portuguese language and the celebration of World Day represents for these people”, said Faro Ramos.
The event will also feature a concert space with musicians from Aline Frazão (Angola), Ivan Lins (Brazil), Teófilo Chantre (Cape Verde), Manecas Costa (Guinea-Bissau), Stewart Sukuma (Mozambique), João Gil (Portugal), Tonecas Prazeres (São Tomé and Príncipe) and Zé Camarada (Timor-Leste).
According to Luís Faro Ramos, the date will also be marked with some initiatives in the network of the Camões institute abroad, with “a highlight adapted to the circumstances”.
“We will have the opportunity, in 2021, to celebrate in another way. In 2020, the celebration is possible. Within the constraints that we are experiencing, it is multifaceted, dignified and with the possible visibility”, he said.
The event will be broadcast through the Camões Institute’s social networks.
In November of last year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared 5 May as World Day for the Portuguese Language, following a proposal from all Portuguese-speaking countries supported by 24 more states, including countries like Argentina, Chile, Georgia, Luxembourg or Uruguay.
UNESCO chose the date on which the CPLP day of Portuguese language and culture was celebrated a decade ago.
Portuguese is spoken by more than 260 million people on five continents, that is, 3.7 percent of the world population.
It is the official language of the nine CPLP member countries (Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste) and Macau, as well as the working or official language of international organisations such as the European Union and the African Union.