The PAPS Annual Forum has been one of PAPS most important activities since its establishment. The Forum allows not only for PAPS members to be exposed to topics relevant to their academic and professional development and their integration in North-America, as it allows for PAPS members to interact among themselves, promoting solid and long last relationships and the consequent development of the PAPS Network.

The PAPS Forum XVI took place in New York City, at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, from September 22nd to 25th 2016. The event, themed “From 66 to 0 degrees of Separation: the Power of Networks”, focused on the importance of dynamic networks as key elements for the development of science, arts and the communities, in particular the Portuguese community outside and inside of Portugal.

The PAPS Forum always had the privilege of hosting distinguished speakers and participants. This year, for the first time in PAPS history, we had the special treat of hosting His Excellency, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa joined around 50 PAPS members for a Portuguese lunch that took place on September 22nd. PAPS members had the opportunity to, in the context of the Forum, listen to the President speak, ask questions and meet the President in an intimate setting, over a typical Portuguese meal prepared by Chef Luisinha.

The Forum conference on September 24th started with an inspiring opening speech by the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva. Minister Augusto Santos Silva highlighted the positive aspects of the recent Portuguese migration wave, emphasizing the quality of the academic-professional background of the new emigrants moving to the United States and Canada.

Following the intervention of Minister Augusto Santos Silva, several fascinating honorable speakers reflected on the power of networks. The speakers focused on different types of networks in diverse scenarios, such as technology, science, business, politics, in a social context and in the development of academic-professional communities, with a major emphasis on the Portuguese community that lays the bridge between North America and Portugal.

The Forum also included an artistic session, when the musician and composer Renato Diz, also a PAPS member, converted images into sounds, by interpreting in the piano paintings inspired by the Portuguese concept “Carapau de Corrida” by several artists, as the paintings were being unveiled. This moment, led by artist Joana Ricou, meant to reflect on cultural implications of emigration and on how Portuguese react to the potential success of its community members, either in Portugal or in the United States and Canada.

The PAPS Forum XVI closed with the pertinent remarks of the Ambassador of Portugal to the United States, Domingos Fezas Vital, who highlighted the importance of building strong, dynamic and interactive networks among the Portuguese graduate community in North America, among the immigrant community at large, as well as those who have already returned to Portugal.


PAPS Forum XVI Speakers:

  • Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal
  • Silvia Curado, Ph.D., PAPS President
  • Augusto Santos Silva, Ph.D., Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Manuel Lima, M.F.A., Founder of, Design Lead at Google and Professor of Data Visualization at Parsons School of Design  
  • David Simas, J.D., Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach
  • Manuela Veloso, Ph.D., Herbert A. Simon Professor in Computer Science and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Natália Luis, B.S.,  Chairman and COO at M Luis Products & M Luis Construction
  • George Perry, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Sciences and Professor of Biology at the University of Texas, San Antonio                             
  • Pedro Conceição, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Policy, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, United Nations New York/ Secretary of the First PAPS Executive Committee
  • Ricardo Vasconcelos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Portuguese at San Diego State University
  • Vasco Rato, Ph.D. , President of Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento
  • Isabel Mota, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Trustee                                                                   
  • David Marçal, Ph.D., Project Coordinator at Ciência Viva
  • Domingos Fezas Vital, Ambassador of Portugal to the United States

Text by: Daniel R. Machado
Photo credit: Henrique Mano