October 2011 - Museum professionals from Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP) met in the Museu do Oriente, Lisbon, Portugal, last 26 and 27 September, marking the first gathering of ICOM’s Lusophone National Committees and the sixth meeting of museums from Portuguese-speaking countries.
Portuguese is the main language spoken in Angola; Brazil; Cape Verde; Guinea Bissau; Mozambique; Portugal; São Tomé and Príncipe; Goa, India; and Macau, China, not counting significant communities in different parts of the world, encompassing some 240 million speakers and representing the fifth most spoken language in the world. The main objective of the Lisbon meeting was to bring together museum professionals that share the Portuguese language to discuss their experiences and expectations for the future. The new Portuguese translation of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, carried out by ICOM Brazil and ICOM Portugal, was distributed in advance of the meeting.
Brazilian Professor, Ulpiano T. B. Meneses, presented one of the keynote conferences on the theme Language, the object and the museum, while Hugues de Varine addressed the topic Community museums – experience and its renovating role in contemporary museology. Meanwhile, delegations from all cited communities presented brief overviews of the current situation and outlook for museums in their respective countries, and some 20 additional contributions were presented as posters.
Today, only Angola, Brazil and Portugal have an ICOM National Committee. A programme has been launched to foster the establishment of National Committees in all Lusophone countries, as a first step to encourage museum professionals in the Portuguese-speaking world to actively participate in ICOM in general and in the 23rd ICOM General Conference in Rio de Janeiro in particular.