Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Marked World Portuguese Language Day On May 10th

ECOWAS marked World Portuguese Language Day on May 10th with a lively celebration at its Main Hall in Abuja, highlighting the critical role of Portuguese as an official language and its significance in the cultural heritage of the Lusophone countries within the community.

Organised by the Directorate of Conference and Protocol (DCP) under the leadership of Director Mrs. Olukemi Robinson-Atabuh, the event showcased the Commission’s dedication to promoting Portuguese through various initiatives such as training, interpreter recruitment, and translation services. These efforts illustrate ECOWAS’s commitment to linguistic diversity and strengthening connections with Portuguese-speaking member states.

The festivities began with a unique performance of the ECOWAS Anthem in Portuguese by the ECOWAS Lusophone staff and the ECOWAS Directorate of Information Technology and Services, setting a tone of respect and inclusivity that celebrated the linguistic unity and cultural richness of the Portuguese-speaking community.

Distinguished guests included His Excellency Belarmino Monteiro Silva, Ambassador of the Republic of Cabo Verde, who praised the cultural vibrancy of the nine CPLP countries and acknowledged Portuguese as a language of peace and solidarity. Following Ambassador Silva, His Excellency João Ribeiro Butião Có, Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau to Nigeria, highlighted the essential role of Portuguese in fostering regional unity and cooperation, in line with the goals of ECOWAS and the African Union.

The keynote address by Hon. João Alage Mamadu Fadia, Auditor General of ECOWAS institutions, emphasized the strategic value of embracing linguistic diversity to enhance unity and cooperation throughout the community. Mr Mamadu Fadia pointed out the global and regional prominence of Portuguese, spoken by over 290 million people worldwide, and its crucial role in the institutional communications of ECOWAS.

Further enriching the programme were educational presentations from Mrs. Salett Nogueira, P.O. Communication Officer, Mrs. Sara Barbosa, Portuguese Language Interpreter, and Prof. Francisco Lopes, Portuguese Language Translator at the Community Court of Justice. They explored the increasing influence and integration of Portuguese within the Commission, supporting ECOWAS’s mission to promote a multilingual environment that enhances cultural diversity and mutual understanding among member states.

Special tributes were paid to the embassies of Brazil and Portugal for their partnership in promoting the Portuguese language and Lusophone culture, with ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps from the six Lusophone countries accredited to Abuja: Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Brazil, Portugal, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

This celebration not only honored the linguistic heritage of the Portuguese language but also underscored ECOWAS’s commitment to cultural diplomacy and the significant role of the Portuguese in enhancing regional cohesion and unity.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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