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Ponta Delgada ,  August 05, 2019

Diaspora Council opens a new period for affirmation of the Azorean People, says Rui Bettencourt

The Regional Assistant Secretary of the Presidency for External Relations expressed today the Regional Government's satisfaction with the publication of the Regional Legislative Decree establishing the Azorean Diaspora Council in the Official Gazette.
“This Council of the Azorean Diaspora opens a new period for the affirmation of the Azorean People as far as it will enable all Azorean citizens, regardless of where they are or the generation to which they belong, to take part in the Azorean project,” Rui Bettencourt said, recalling “how innovative but also how bold and exciting this Council is."
For Rui Bettencourt, “this is a tool for the Azoreans to express their concerns, that is, the joint construction of the Azores." In this regard, he stressed that the Council of Azorean Diaspora was thought out by the Regional Government as a key tool in acknowledging and encouraging the participation of the Azoreans spread around the world.
The establishment of this Council, discussed at the Legislative Assembly on July 3, was adopted unanimously with the active participation of all political parties. According to Rui Bettencourt, this is “a very important sign on the part of the Azorean representatives residing in the archipelago to all Azoreans spread around the world."
"This unanimous approval as well as this understanding of all regional politicians is a source of great satisfaction," stated the government official.
The Council of Azorean Diaspora is composed of 36 members. Among them, 19 are Azorean Diaspora-elected Councillors from the geographical areas where the Azorean presence is most significant: five from the USA (one from California, one from Massachusetts, one from Rhode Island and another two representing the remaining US states); five from Canada (one from British Columbia, one from Manitoba, one from Ontario, one from Quebec and one representing the remaining Canadian provinces and territories); five from Brazil (one from Rio Grande do Sul, one from Rio de Janeiro, one from Santa Catarina, one from São Paulo and one representing the remaining Brazilian states); one from Bermuda; one from Uruguay; one from Mainland Portugal and Madeira, and a representative of the rest of the world.
The Legislative Decree published today in the Official Gazette acknowledges as Azorean not only all those born in the Region, but also those of Azorean descent, those who are married or in a civil union with an Azorean as well as those who have been living in the Azores for over five years.
During the discussion of the legal document at the Legislative Assembly, the Regional Assistant Secretary pointed out that “these 1st generation Azoreans, but also their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren or even 5th and 6th-generation Azoreans are the representatives of the Azores in the world and they often feel - and are - as Azorean as we are.”
“Now, we must focus on mobilising the Azoreans," Rui Bettencourt said, adding that, “after this first step, we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it will be a joint effort that will be led and coordinated by the Regional Government."
The Regional Secretary also added that the Government will launch an initiative by the end of this year with the aim of informing about the functioning of this Council and encouraging participation, which will cover the main geographical areas where the Azoreans reside. In this context, an electronic platform will be made available so that all interested parties may register and vote.
The Council of Azorean Diaspora is chaired by the President of the Government and includes other members of the Government with competence in matters pertaining to emigration and communities, social solidarity, employment and vocational training, culture, tourism and incentives, in addition to three representatives of the Legislative Assembly, elected by a two-thirds majority vote.
Furthermore, this advisory body to the Regional Government is composed of a representative of the World Council of the Houses of the Azores, a representative of SDEA - Society for Business Development of the Azores, a representative of the Association of Municipalities of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, a representative of emigrant associations working in the Azores, a representative of the Directorate-General for Consular Affairs and Portuguese Communities, and a representative of the Council of the Portuguese Communities.



Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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