“This is the first time UNESCO has made such a decision on a language that is not one of the official languages of UNESCO. Unanimously, people have assessed that a world day of the Portuguese language is very important” diplomat António Sampaio da Nóvoa said in statements to Lusa.
The decision was taken on 17 October at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, at its executive board meeting.
All Lusophone countries have come together to introduce this proposal, but have received support from countries such as Argentina, Chile, Georgia, Luxembourg or Uruguay, and the proposal was approved unanimously.
In the proposal presented to the executive board, the Portuguese-speaking countries argued that Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere and that it was also the language of the first wave of globalisation, leaving words and marks in other languages in the world.
The Portuguese language day will be officially marked at UNESCO headquarters with musical performances, literature, exhibitions or any other cultural representation and its organisation will be in charge of the countries that have Portuguese as their official language.
“May 5, 2020 is going to be a big day at UNESCO and we hope to occupy these corridors for 15 days with issues related to art, literature, music and that this will have concrete consequences,” said the Portuguese ambassador.
The diplomat also hopes that the distinction will impact internationally.
“It enters the international calendars, which means that it gets a projection from the international point of view, and may have consequences in the most diverse plans,” said Sampaio da Nóvoa, who hopes by the end of the year to come up with proposals on UNESCO on teaching and Portuguese teacher training in Africa.