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On September 21st, about a thousand Portuguese and Portuguese-Americans were present at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey to meet the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The President was welcomed by the Consul of Portugal in Newark NJ, Pedro Soares de Oliveira and joined about 200 Portuguese-American elected politicians who came from many of the surrounding states.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa with the Counsellors for the Portuguese Community in the USA

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa with the Counsellors for the Portuguese Community in the USA

Before the President addressed the audience, a dynamic video about the close relations between Portugal and the United States was presented. In his speech, the President had the opportunity to thank the Portuguese-American Community for their successful integration and for making the difference in the socio-economic sector of both countries. He also mentioned the importance and impact of the Portuguese language, which is rising in the business world, and reaching the interest of many students and organizations. The President congratulated many of the Portuguese-American elected in the US recognizing their key role between the relations of both countries and recalled that “Portugal was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America, despite having the oldest alliance in its history with England, UK today.”

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Raquel Tavares performing at NJPAC, during the reception of the President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

President Marcelo’s final note stressed the importance of resources and knowledge of Portuguese abroad and stated,”that can contribute to a greater affirmation of Portugal at the international level, supporting, for example, the entry of products and national companies in new markets and also in the field of appreciation of our language and our culture. The fundamental role of Portuguese communities cannot be forgotten “. During the speech, the President also announced that June 10 will be celebrated every year in Portugal physical territory and Portugal spiritual territory, outside the physical territory. “My idea as President of Portugal is celebrating the Day of Portugal alternately in and out of Portugal. It is a way of saying that we have not forgotten you,” he said.

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After the speech of the President, the audience was delighted with the performance of the fado singer Raquel Tavares who sang a few songs from her recent album.

The reception closed with a personal and touching few moments between President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the community who had the opportunity to take many pictures with him.

Video & Photos Courtesy: Portuguese Republic Presidency

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