The Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS,) in collaboration with the Embassy of Portugal and the support of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD), will host the Portuguese-American National Conference, on June 23, the first national conference dedicated to the discussion of Portuguese-American issues.
Secretary General of the United Nations, former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres, will be the keynote speaker. More than 300 are expected to attend.
Three panels were formed moderated by distinguished academics with presentations by notable Portuguese-American panelists in the fields of education, business and community leadership from across the country.
The conference opens at 8:30am with the plenary session with welcoming remarks by Angela Simões, Chair, PALCUS; Dr. Vasco Rato, President, Luso-American Development Found; and H.E. Domingos Fezas Vital, Ambassador of Portugal to the United States, and opening remarks: by H.E. Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal.
The first panel “Integration of Portuguese-Americans in Public Office” is moderated by Dulce Soares Scott, Ph.D., Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana and open to panelists: Congressman Jim Costa, (D, CA-16), Co-chair, Portuguese-American Congressional Caucus; Congressman Devin Nunes (R, CA-22), Chair, House Intelligence Committee; Hon. Phillip Rapoza, Chief Justice, MA Appeals Court (Ret.); Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R), CT House of Representative; and Maria Z. Carvalho, President, Board of Education, Elizabeth (NJ) Public Schools.
The second panel “Building Social Capital Through Portuguese-American Organizations” is moderated by Silvia Oliveira, Ph.D., Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island and open to panelists: Isabelle Coelho-Marques, President, New York Portuguese-American Leadership Conference (NYPALC); Silvia Curado, Ph.D., President, Portuguese-American Post-graduate Society (PAPS); Anthony Pio, Manager of Financial Services, Luso-American Financial; and Diniz Borges, President, California Portuguese-American Coalition (CPAC).
The third panel “Portuguese Language Education: Challenges and Solutions” is moderated by Onésimo Almeida, Ph.D., Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island and open to panelists: João Caixinha, Coordinator for the Portuguese Language Programs and Education Affairs in the United States of America, Instituto Camões; Silvia Oliveira, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor of Portuguese, Director of Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies; Rhode Island College Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Schools, Florida; and Jamie Leite, Portuguese Director, Utah Dual Language Immersion Program, Utah.
A closing session will follow with a debate on the topic “Establishing a Plan of Action” with moderators of each panel presenting an overview for discussion with the goal of identifying action items.
The initiative was driven by the results of the PALCUS Index 2017 National Survey; the topics of discussion will focus upon the three issues of greatest concern identified by the survey’s respondents: (1) participation of Portuguese-Americans in public office; (2) maintenance of Portuguese-American organizations; and (3) promotion of Portuguese language education. At the end of the conference, a plan of action and full report will be created that organizations and individuals alike can use to drive new momentum in their local communities.
The conference will be held at Washington Marriott at Metro Center, in Washington D.C., followed in the evening with a Dinner Reception and Concert at the Residence of the Ambassador of Portugal.