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University honours His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for helping build modern Portuguese State

Posted 21 October, 2022

Associate Professor Síofra Pierse, Head of UCD School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, Acting UCD President Professor Mark Rogers, and His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic

His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic, has been recognised by University College Dublin for his exceptional achievement in building the nation's modern democratic state.

During a two-day state visit to Ireland, he was conferred with an honorary doctorate of Laws by the University.

Describing President Rebelo de Sousa as an “indefatigable nation builder” in their official citation, Associate Professor Síofra Pierse, Head of the UCD School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics detailed the impact that his prestigious career of public service has had on shaping modern Portugal.

“As President, he has overseen the promulgation of a number of progressive laws enacted by the Portuguese Parliament and has championed the growth of sustainable development practices,” she said.

“[He] has impacted his country in many realms far beyond that of much revered lecturer, academic and intellectual. His achievements stretch across a wide range of spheres, from law through academia, politics through journalism and from the social sector to broadcasting."

Adding: “Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa embodies the modern Portuguese state to which he has dedicated so much of his career and his energy as an esteemed constitutional expert, as indefatigable nation builder, as key political player and as illustrious statesman.”

Welcoming the Portuguese President to UCD, Acting University President Professor Mark Rogers said Portugal and Ireland, who both claim Celtic roots, enjoy many shared traditions and relationships, past and present.

“At UCD we pride ourselves on being Ireland’s global university. We are intensely aware of the importance of building excellent relationships, between countries, between citizens, between universities and between students.

“As part of the education we offer our students, we encourage them to travel to European countries like Portugal on cultural exchanges like the Erasmus programme.”

An avid reader and a literary connoisseur, President Rebelo de Sousa is known to enjoy the works of James Joyce - for whom University College Dublin is the alma mater

Adding: “Portugal has obvious attractions for Irish students, including the welcoming friendliness of the Portuguese people, the country’s landscape, sunshine and spectacular Atlantic views.

“On a practical level, cultural and linguistic intercultural exchanges make our students more transnational in outlook and consequently more attractive on the global employment market.

“I hope that our existing strong cultural and academic links foster and grow warm and fruitful relationships in the future between our countries.”

In 2022 UCD welcomed 53 Portuguese students, and nine UCD Schools have international mobility, exchange and intellectual collaborations with Portugal. Currently there are 16 Portuguese members of staff at the University.

Arriving to Ireland for a two-day state visit, President Rebelo de Sousa is the first Portuguese head of state to visit the country in more than 23 years.

The official program of his visit, concentrated in Dublin, included meetings with Irish President Michael D. Higgins, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, and a visit to Dáil Éireann, the Irish Parliament.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations