On March 26, 2015, the Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr. Pedro Passos Coelho, visited KUFS while in Japan and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Directors, Morita Yoshikazu. At a gala banquet after the ceremony, the Prime Minister had convivial discussions with Portuguese-speaking students from the Department of Brazilian and Portuguese Studies.
With “world peace through languages” as its educational philosophy, KUFS has for many years advanced regional research and education in many languages across the world, including English, Portuguese and Spanish. The history of exchange between KUFS and Portugal goes back to 1967, when the Department of Brazilian and Portuguese Studies was established in the Faculty of Foreign Studies with the support of both the Brazilian and Portuguese governments. Since then, the university has been developing a range of initiatives toward mutual understanding and cultural exchange and has been promoting uptake of the Portuguese language by organizing Portuguese language proficiency tests, holding national Portuguese speech competitions and organizing educational and academic exchanges, including student exchanges with Portugal’s University of Coimbra.
On his visit to the university, Prime Minister Coelho was awarded a Kyoto University of Foreign Studies Honorary Doctorate by the Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Directors, Morita Yoshikazu, in honor of the Prime Minister’s efforts toward world peace and his contribution to the promotion of Portuguese throughout the world. At the gala banquet held after the conferment ceremony, Prime Minister Coelho warmly and enthusiastically engaged with students whom Department of Brazilian and Portuguese Studies (Chair: Professor Sumida Ikunori) had called on to attend. The students appeared to be deeply impressed by the Prime Minister’s friendly smile and kindness, and were reminded of the importance of human ties.
Prime Minister Coelho paid a visit to His Majesty the Emperor on the following day, March 27. Yomiuri Shimbun reported on March 28 that the Prime Minister had commented on the large number of students studying Portuguese at KUFS saying “they hold great promise”.
▼ Department of Brazilian and Portuguese Studies