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Portuguese ambassador visits Wales

16 November 2015

Portuguese flag

The Portuguese ambassador to the UK will today (16 Nov) visit Cardiff University to launch Wales’s first degree in Portuguese.

His Excellency Mr Joao de Vallera will formally launch the new degree at a ‘Festival of Portuguese Culture’ event organised by the University and attended by staff, students, Camões Institute representative Regina Duarte and Portuguese poet and novelist Ana Luísa Amaral.

Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages has joined a select group of UK universities to sign an agreement with the Camões, Instituto da Língua e da Cooperação – the Portuguese government agency responsible for supporting the teaching of Portuguese in schools and universities. The agreement paves the way for the introduction of a newly-validated Portuguese degree programme.

The announcement demonstrates the University’s commitment to recognising Portuguese as a global growth language; one of 10 to be recently recognised by the British Council as crucial to the UK’s prosperity, security and influence in the world in the years ahead.

Arts, Humanities and Social Science students will now be able to study Portuguese from beginners to advanced level.

The agreement also opens up new opportunities for important research collaborations, and Cardiff has already worked with the Camões Institute, Kings College London, and the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) to launch a joint series of events relating to Portuguese studies.

Today’s event will also be attended by students and teachers from Ysgol Clywedig in Wrexham. Portuguese and Welsh students at the school have been working with the University on a research project to gather data from Portugal’s WW1 centenary in France.

Dr Rhian Atkin, Programme Leader for Portuguese from the University’s School of Modern Languages, said: “Languages are the bedrock of the world’s cultural heritage, and research from the Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that the number of Portuguese undergraduate entrants to university at UK-level has risen by 56% since 2007-8; showing increasing recognition of its importance as a strategic global growth language.

“The decision by the University and Camões Institute to jointly invest in teaching Portuguese further signals a recognition of the importance of language learning to the UK, to safeguard opportunities for students’ international mobility. The support of the Camões Institute and of the Portuguese Ambassador is hugely prestigious and provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to envisage where a degree in Portuguese may lead them.

“As a research department, we have welcomed visitors from the USA, Portugal, Brazil and Mozambique to work with us already and we have an exciting programme of events for the next year. For students wishing to study Portuguese in Wales, the courses are now open for applications through UCAS. We look forward to welcoming students with no prior knowledge as well as students who already speak Portuguese, to study with us at Cardiff.”

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