Campus and Community

Africa Day celebrated at Técnico

The tradition, the history, the people and the essence of the African people were represented in first edition of the event ” Africa Day – the Cradle of Humanity”, held at Técnico on 24th and 25th May. The event included music, poetry, dance, fashion and some moments of debate and reflection.

Professor Luís Silveira, vice president of Técnico for international affairs, opened the session. “Africa is the second most populous continent on our planet, and one of the problems that is most relevant in this area is that of educational exclusion,” he said. The professor then highlighted Técnico’ s concern and commitment to support the annihilation of this reality: “Although there are a significant number of African students at Técnico, this is still a small number. This is something that worries us because, on the one hand we think that we can do better, and on the other hand, we know that Africa has still a lot of talented students. According to professor Luís Silveira this event will allow “to celebrate Africa as a continent with a history and knowledge, but also to discuss its problems and how we can contribute to their solution.”

The African writer Amadú Dafé moderated a debate on educational exclusion, with the participation of Alexandre Passo, administrator at Federação Académica de Lisboa (FAL), professor Luís Ferreira, vice-rector of Universidade de Lisboa (ULisboa), Yannick Insaly, representative of Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and Wilson Inocêncio, African entrepreneur. According to professor Luís Ferreira, ULisboa has over 8000 international students, which contributes a lot to a cultural diversity and a “huge enrichment of our University. We have been going to African countries in order to disseminate our courses and to show students that we can help and support them as much as we can”.

Yannick Insaly talked about the problems that affect African minorities. “All African people who leave Africa arrive here in disadvantage. They have to work hard to reach the level of the other students”.

“Africa Day is every day,” said Wilson Innocent. “Besides bringing African students here, it’s also important that Portuguese students go to African countries”, he added.

The importance of creating opportunities that strengthen the link between Portugal and African countries, the taboos around African community, the discrimination that still occurs and the lack of opportunities that affect many Afro-descendants were some of the topics addressed in the debate . ” African people like much more things than just football and music. There are many black people producing knowledge, but there are lack of opportunities to do it”, stressed Yannick Insaly.

A workshop on traditional African dances closed the first day of the event.

On Saturday, the programme started with a solidarity lunch. Music, poetry, fashion, dance, painting and drama activities took place during the afternoon.