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Government of the Azores awards $100,000 to Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives

University officials accept grant and launch journal focusing on Azorean author during overseas visit with Azorean president

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F.MacCormack and President Dr. Carlos Cesar of the Azores today announced a new partnership that will expand education and research initiatives focusing on Azorean Americans. The centerpiece of the agreement is a $100,000 grant from the Azorean govenrment to the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives at UMass Dartmouth.

The announcement was followed by the launching of the 11th volume of the UMass Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture's internationally-acclaimed journal, Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies, which is dedicated to Azorean author Vitorino Nemésio.

"Our university and our region have been enriched by the culture, the literature, the music, the food, and the business that your people have brought to our communities," Chancellor MacCormack said during the grant award ceremony held at Palácio da Conceição in the Azores. "It is our hope that this agreement will spark new exchanges and deepen our relationship."

"The project to create a permanent home for the Portuguese-American Archive is a crucial new step for the study and the promotion of the role played by the Portuguese, in general, and the Azorean immigrants, in particular, in the development of the New World," said President Cesar.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is located in Southeastern Massachusetts, a region where nearly one-quarter of the more than one million Americans of Portuguese descent reside.  Among the teaching and research activities of the university are the following:

- A new archives facility, due to open later this year in a prominent area of the university's library, that will document the contributions of the Portuguese, in general, and the Azorean immigrant experience, in particular, in the development of the United States. Under the agreement, the Azorean government will assist the university in the design of this climate-controlled, museum-quality space.

- The hiring of an archivist and two professors in the area of Portuguese-American Studies. These professionals will teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, while coordinating programs, publications, and exhibits. They will also digitize archival collections for sharing with global audiences via the internet.

- Creation of a PhD program in Luso-Afro-Brazilian studies, to start accepting students in September. The program was approved by the UMass Board of Trustees last week and is awaiting final approval by the Massachusetts Board of High Education.

- The Portuguese in the Americas Series book series, drawing in part from materials in the Archives. The series includes Alfred Lewis's novel Sixty Acres and a Barn and Jerry R. Williams' In Pursuit of Their Dreams: A History of Azorean Immigration to the United States, both of which were sponsored by the Azorean Government through the Office of Support to the Communities.

The launching of the 530-page Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies journal took place at the University of the Azores in São Miguel. This volume of the journal is guest edited by Prof. Francisco C. Fagundes of UMass Amherst a renowned scholar and translator. Vitorino Nemésio (1901-1978), the subject of the journal, is the most celebrated Azorean author to date, one of the leading Portuguese writers of the twentieth century, and the author of Stormy Isles: An Azorean Odyssey (trans. Francisco C. Fagundes, 1998), a James Michener-like novel that encompasses 500 years of Azorean history and culture.

The journal includes translations of Nemésio's poetry and short stories, in addition to more than 30 articles and reviews by some of the most important Portuguese essayists today, among which Óscar Lopes, Vasco Graça Moura and Maria Alzira Seixo, Onesimo T. Almeida, Carlos Reis, and João de Melo. The publication includes an exhaustive bibliography of and about Antero de Quental in English, by George Monteiro.

Author:  "John Hoey"
Date:  26-Mar-2007
Department:   News & Public Information

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