Former Dean of the Faculty of Law, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was elected President of Portugal in January 2016.  He holds a doctorate from the University of Lisbon, where he became a professor and publicist specialising in constitutional and administrative law. It was in connection with his former academic career that he wished to visit UNamur.

The President reached Namur at the end of the morning, where was welcomed in the courtyard of the Faculty of Sciences by the Governor of the Province of Namur, Denis Mathen, the Mayor of the City of Namur, Maxime Prévot, and the Rector of the University of Namur, Annick Castiaux.

Visite Présidentielle
Visite présidentielle

He then proceeded to the Science auditorium for a session during which some of the UNamur activities were presented to him.

The President then spoke with great enthusiasm and sympathy about the links between Portugal and Belgium. In particular, he explained that Belgium has become the 8th country with which Portugal maintains trade relations.

On several occasions he addressed the students of Portuguese origin present in the audience and gave a message to all the students. 

You are privileged because you are studying at university. In my day, going to university wasn't a matter of course. It was far from easy during the dictatorship. Today it's easier, but don't forget that it's a privilege. And it's also a privilege for you to study in Namur!

Visite présidentielle

He was able to admire 2 books from the Moretus Plantin Library's Precious Reserve, including Synopsys Mathematica, written by Father Antoine Thomas s.j. during his teaching of mathematics at the University of Coimbra in Portugal (1678-1680).  The President also signed the UNamur guestbook.

"Long live the University of Namur, long live Namur, long live Belgium", concluded the President enthusiastically! The Portuguese President then attended a demonstration by Professors Michel Hermans and André Füzfa of the missions and uses of the Antoine Thomas s.j. Astronomical Observatory (see below).

Visite présidentielle
Visite présidentielle

At the end of the session, the President had the opportunity to have a long and friendly meeting with some students currently on an Erasmus stay at UNamur, as well as with researchers and members of UNamur staff of Portuguese nationality, and some representatives of the AGE.

The delegation then left the university campus to continue the programme of the state visit at the Provincial Palace of Namur.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa's visit to Namur is part of a state visit taking place from 16 to 19 October 2023. The aim of the visit is to strengthen cooperation between the two countries on a number of key issues, including digitisation, innovation and energy.

The Antoine Thomas s.j. Astronomical Observatory

Observatoire astronomique Antoine Thomas s.J.

The UNamur astronomical observatory project aims to provide the Walloon capital with a permanent observatory, combined with a higher education, awareness-raising and scientific outreach programme open to students, schools and the general public.

The UNamur astronomical observatory was named Antoine Thomas, in honour of this Jesuit missionary and astronomer from Namur (1644-1709). A native of Namur, he taught many students at college and university, wrote mathematics textbooks and was president of the Astronomy Office at the court of the Chinese emperor at the end of the 17th century. Antoine Thomas had an undeniable sense of didactics and pedagogical ability, as well as a curiosity and willingness to go out and meet others, whether in Namur (Belgium), Lille (France), Coimbra (Portugal) or China. These are communication skills and values of openness and sharing that also underpin the project of our observatory and our University as a whole.

More about the Observatory (in French)

The precious reserves of the Moretus Plantin University Library

As part of his visit to UNamur, the President was presented with a reproduction of a historical map of Portugal published in Augsburg in 1735 by Matthaüs Seutter. Matthäus Seutter (1678-1757) was a remarkable German cartographer who founded his own company in 170 and published numerous maps, atlases and globes. This map features a large cartouche with figures and decoration evoking the power and wealth of Portugal, as well as a smaller map representing Brazil. This map is housed in the Precious Reserve of the Moretus Plantin University Library.

Housed within the university library, the precious reserves preserve around 100,000 works and remarkable items dating from the end of the Middle Ages to the present day: manuscripts and autographs, printed books, maps and plans, old periodicals, posters and prints, sigillographic collections, coins and medals, photographs and postcards all come together to bear witness to the development of the sciences and the multifaceted productions of the human mind.

Carte historique du Portugal
Réserve précieuse de la BUMP

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