portugal_asoreyjar_kortThe Conference is taking place in Ponta Delgada, in the Island of S. Miguel, and is hosted by the University of the Azores.

The University of the Azores (Portuguese: Universidade dos Açores), or commonly abbreviated as UAç, is the only public university in the Autonomous Region of the Azores, It was founded on January 9, 1976, two years after the Carnation Revolution that ended several decades of dictatorship in Portugal, but before the Portuguese Third Republic was institutionalized, along with the Region’s Autonomy. The University is a public institution dependent on the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior (English: Ministry of Science, Technology & Education), and was established in order to advance sustainable development and higher education in the Azores.

The establishment of the University of the Azores developed from a period of autonomous politics related to separatist movements that developed in the second-half of 1975. Although not completely responsible, the events following the Carnation Revolution prepared the conditions for the creation of the university. Due to academic disorder on the continent, which forced the closing of the many of the universities, several of the wealthier families sent their children to the United States or Canada in order for them to complete their studies. It was during this post-revolutionary period that the idea of creating a local institution of higher education was debated. A small group of academics and elites explored alternatives in order to lower costs, distances and reduce the centralization of the national government. It was at this time that the central government suggested the creation of a Centro Universitário (English: University Centre), one that the President of the Regional Junta, General Altino de Magalhães, refused to consider since he felt that the community would only accept the establishment of a formal University.

By Ministry Order (No.414/75), on 14 October 1976, the formation of a working group was established. By January 9, 1976, the Instituto Universitário dos Açores (English:University Institution of the Azores) Decree (No.5/76) was promulgated in an atmosphere of regionalization of higher education, which allowed for the establishment of units responsible for teaching, investigation, cultural development and community services. The intent of the Act was to respond to the democratization process developing in the country, and develop a regional equilibrium, after the 1974 revolution. On July 25, 1980, the with the promulgation of the Decree-Law No.252/80 the community began to refer to the new institution as the University of the Azores.