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UM’s honorary degree recipient and former Portuguese president Mario Soares passes away
Dr Mário Soares, known as Portugal’s ‘father of democracy’ and a 1993 recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Macau (UM), died at the age of 92. Dr Soares was the only president of a country that received an honorary degree from UM while in office. He provided tremendous support to UM’s development before the handover of Macao. UM is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr Soares.
In his honorary degree acceptance speech in 1993, Dr Soares said that UM played a key role in the preparation and development of the territory into a special administrative region, according to the terms of 1987 Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration. ‘Succeeding the University of East Asia set up, with very specific objectives, by entrepreneurs of Macao and Hong Kong, the University of Macau was acquired in 1988 by the Government of Macao which gave other context and purpose to it and achieved, in the past years, a big progress in the number of students and in the quality and variety of programmes offered,’ he said. ‘Other achievements will be accomplished – I am sure of that – during the current transition so that, it may become, as it is the political will of the Portuguese part, a true connecting link on the area of academic, technological and cultural exchange between Portuguese and the People’s Republic of China eventually fulfilling its main objective of promoting the encounter of cultures between East and West.’
Dr Soares was also a great defender of the cause of national independence of Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa and one of the greatest supporters of Portuguese-speaking communities worldwide. Dr Soares was a Portuguese politician who served as the prime minister of Portugal from 1976 to 1978, and from 1983 to 1985, and subsequently as the 17th President of Portugal from 1986 to 1996. Dr Soares was the president of Portugal during Portuguese negotiations with Beijing in the late 1980s which secured the return of Macao to Chinese sovereignty in 1999.
Source: Communications Office
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