Kids Talk Radio Student Information Report
Education and personal life
Jorge Fonseca completed primary and secondary education between Praia and Mindelo, and later, his higher education in Lisbon, Portugal. He graduated in Law and a Master in Legal Sciences Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon. He married Lígia Arcângela Lubrino Dias Fonseca, the First Lady of Cape Verde, on March 26, 1989
Jorge Carlos Fonseca was born on October 20th, 1950, in Mindelo, Cape Verde, which was then still in the colony of Portuguese Cape Verde. He hailed from a Roman Catholic family of European descent. Fonseca finished his elementary and secondary eduction at local schools in Mindelo and Paria before then going on to pursue his post-secondary education in Lisbon, Portugal. There, he received a Law degree and a Master’s in Legal Sciences from the University of Lisbon. Upon returning to Cape Verde, Fonseca served as Director General of Emigration from 1975 to 1977, and then as Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde from 1977 to 1979.
Rise to Power
Beginning in the early 1980s, Fonseca worked as a law instructor at various universities, including the University of Lisbon, the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Lisbon, and the University of Asia Oriental in Macau. Upon returning to Cape Verde, Fonseca served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1991 and 1993, before then running for presidency in the 2001 Elections. That year, he lost to the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) candidate, Pedro Pires, with Fonseca being affiliated with the PAICV’s major rival opposition party, the Movement for Democracy. After the PAICV candidate Pedro Pires served two terms as the President, Fonseca ran for president again in 2011. With the support of his party, he won the presidency in the second round of voting, and in so doing became the 4th President of Cape Verde.
During his presidency, Fonseca has greatly modernized the economy of Cape Verde. He reversed the previous socialist policies installed by the PAICV, and lifted much governmental control from market prices and exchange rates. He also endorsed privatization of development projects. All of these measures attracted foreign investors and donors, and in so doing brought increased money and employment opportunities to the country. He also built a closer relationship between Cape Verde and their former ruler, Portugal, ultimately seeking to further integrate Cape Verde into trade with European Union markets. At the same time, Fonseca initiated a transition of primary national income source from the agricultural sector to services industries, especially tourism. Cape Verde’s Gross Domestic Product has grown considerably under his governance.
When Fonseca took office, poverty, unemployment, drought, and high deficits were just a few among the many challenges that he and his people had to face. Although his economic reforms have attracted considerable foreign investments and development projects, some of these have also taken advantage of Cape Verde’s high unemployment rate by exploiting local workers. The government faces great challenges in keeping investments while also guaranteeing suitable working conditions for Cape Verde’s people. Violence and discrimination against women and child abuse are also serious problems needing to be better addressed throughout the country. While Fonseca and his government has primarily focused on developing the economy, such issues have been largely ignored. The government is still unable to enforce laws effectively, and thusly their measures to stop domestic abuse are more often than not inadequate.
The Present Day and Legacy
Fonseca’s economic reforms have proved effective and popular, though they have also created new challenges that the government has to face. Cape Verde’s continuous stability and steady growth have demonstrated his ability as a capable leader, and Fonseca is projected to very likely be re-elected in the up and coming election. Other than being a politician, he is also internationally recognized as a qualified legal scholar, and Fonseca has fostered the development of law and social sciences in Cape Verde. The state has recognized his extraordinary contributions by awarding him national honors, including the status of being recognized among the “Freedom Fighters” of Cape Verde.
Political and academic career
He was Director General of Emigration in Cape Verde from 1975 to 1977 and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde from 1977 to 1979.
He was a graduate teaching assistant at the Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon between 1982 and 1990, invited Professor of Criminal Law at the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Lisbon in 1987 and a resident director and invited associate professor at the Law Course and Public Administration at the University of Asia Oriental, Macau in 1989 and 1990. 1991 and 1993 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first government of the Second Republic; subsequently he stood unsuccessfully as a presidential candidate in the 2001 election. In August 2011, he again sought the presidency, this time backed by the MpD. He placed first in the first round, receiving 38% of the votes; in the second round, he faced the candidate backed by the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), Manuel Inocêncio Sousa, and prevailed. He took office as President on 9 September 2011, becoming Cape Verde’s fourth president since independence in 1975.
Cape Verdean President Visits
News & Events
AUGUST 12, 2014
Jorge Carlos Fonseca, president of the Republic Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), and First Lady Lígia Fonseca, were the guests of honor at a luncheon and reception hosted by BSU President Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria.
At the reception, held in the Heritage Room of the Maxwell Library, Dr. Joao Rosa, the founding executive director of the new Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies at Bridgewater, delivered introductory remarks:
“Today’s program is still another example of the close relationship which exists between this university and the people and the leadership of the nation of Cape Verde.”
In his remarks, President Mohler-Faria said, “I returned just a week ago from my most recent visit to Cape Verde and I’m very grateful for the friendship and acts of hospitality that I received there. President Fonseca was a most gracious host to me, and my visit there, as well as my many previous contacts, convince me that we have a special opportunity to begin to connect the Cape Verdean community here in the U.S. with Cape Verde.
“Our efforts to form a cohort here improves our ability to work together with Cape Verde to create projects, to better communicate and to share resources,” he continued.
“When I was elected president of this university in 2002, the prime minister of Cape Verde called me and asked to meet with me. Subsequently we spent much of an entire day discussing how Bridgewater could work collaboratively with Cabo Verde. This, in turn, led to the launching of a number of initiatives, including major funding grants and the founding of the first public university in Cape Verde. In addition, for the last eight years we have brought to Bridgewater a group of students from Cape Verde who studied here and earned degrees here and have gone back to Cape Verde to share their knowledge and talent.”
President Fonseca praised the “spirit of cooperation which we enjoy with this university which only gets better and better.”
He said he had come to America to attend last week’s US-Africa Leaders Summit, where President Obama hosted the heads of African states and their delegations in the US Capital.
“I made sure that my visit to your country included the chance to come to New England to meet with the many people in this region who have connections with Cape Verde, and that of course meant coming to Bridgewater, where we have such a good number of friends and partners,” he said.
A former university professor and college president himself, President Fonseca said his connections to Bridgewater “are very important to me personally as well as in my capacity as president.” Higher education is “vitally important” to the development of Cape Verde, he said, “and for our population of a little over 500,000, we have, for the first time in our nation’s history, more people studying in Cape Verde than are studying outside.”
President Fonseca added that more needs to be done in the area of higher education. “We have to have a greater number of our university teachers earning advanced degrees, specifically master’s and doctoral degrees, and we have to encourage more active research and scholarship on their part,” he said.
He said he hopes to continue working closely with BSU to “further develop, strengthen and widen the networks which have been established over the past years between our republic and this university” because “these connections have already been so fruitful and productive for all of us.”
Among other dignitaries in attendance were José Luis Rocha, ambassador of the Republic of Cabo Verde to the United States, and Pedro Graciano Gomes de Carvalho, the current consul general of the island nation in Boston.
Photo caption: Jorge Carlos Fonseca, president of the Republic Cabo Verde, and First Lady Lígia Fonseca, (second and third from right) join with BSU President Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria at the reception. At far left is Pedro Graciano Gomes de Carvalho, current Consul General of Cape Verde in Boston; Ambassador of the Republic of Cabo Verde to the U.S. José Luis Rocha; and Dr. Joao Rosa, executive director of the Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies at Bridgewater. (Story and photo by David K. Wilson, ’71, University News)
Fonseca was assistant professor and chairman of the board of the Institute for Law and Social Sciences in Cape Verde. He is also founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the “Direito e Justiça” Foundation, founder and director of the magazine “Direito e Cidadania”, collaborator to the magazine “Revista Portuguesa de Ciência Criminal”, and a member of the editorial board of “Revista de Economia e Direito” of the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa. Fonseca has written several books and published over fifty scientific and technical works on law, and also two books of poetry. He has been awarded several times by the State of Cape Verde, is also holder of the status of Freedom Fighters of the Country.