United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared World Portuguese Language Day to be celebrated annually on May 5.
Portuguese is spoken by 260 million people around the world, including in Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, the Azores, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Other languages, such as Cape Verdean Creole, and Macanese patois –are considered a mix of Portuguese and other languages. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as “Lusophone” (Lusófono).
An estimated 1.3 million native Portuguese-speakers live in the United States. In New England, Portuguese is the third most widely-spoken language after English and Spanish. Lusophone immigrants have played a pivotal role in New England history, for example in the history of whaling, and have long-standing and emerging communities in New Bedford, Fall River, East Providence, Boston, Framingham, Everett and Somerville.
Portuguese was introduced at MIT in 2010 to teach the language and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. Students may get a SHASS concentration in Portuguese Studies.
MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives offer internship programs: MIT-Brazil and MIT-Portugal. MIT-Brazil’s Global Teaching Labs offer a unique opportunity for MIT students to learn by teaching and share MIT’s “mens et manus” approach with Brazilian students through STEAMD and entrepreneurship workshops.