José Lino Neves

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Digital African MemoryPortugal

José Lino Neves is the son of Cape Verdean parents from the island of Santiago. He graduated with a degree in Forestry from ISA/UTL and postgraduate degree in Civil Protection - Emergencies in Critical Neighborhoods from UNI. José has been a member of Associação Cultural e Juvenil Batoto Yetu Portugal since 1996. He voluntarily directs music and is a percussionist. José has promoted the creation of new cultural products associated with the African diaspora, which aims to reduce the lack of knowledge of African culture and history on the continent and in the diaspora.

In the last 13 years, José has worked on training, analysis and evaluation of civil society projects, as well as public policies aimed at promoting and valuing the work of migrant communities at the national level at the High Commissioner for Migrations. 

IVLP Impact Award Project: Digital African Memory

The project consisted of a digital platform to share information between African griots, academics, researchers, and students, but remain accessible to the general public. The Digital African Memory is crucial to preserve the African heritage and memory in Portugal, since research in this area is scattered across different places, rendering it less accessible to the public. The study of African heritage in Portugal includes fields such as the arts, architecture, gastronomy, toponomy, health and genetics, religion and spirituality – all of which were brought together as part of the platform through images, articles, videos, audio files, story-maps and pedagogical tools. Not only was the platform successfully launched, with much appreciation and support from the community and project contributors, but José also secured funding from the Portuguese government to continue the project for another 2 years. In a meeting with the Portuguese secretary of state of citizenship and migrations, who commended the project, it was decided that in the next phase, the project will expand from the online space and begin erecting statues and plaques around Lisbon as well.

African heritage and memory do not have much space in Portuguese public discourse and are often displayed as part of a mythological African absence. This is a narrative that only emphasizes the achievements of Portuguese “discoverers.” This mythological narrative has been increasingly challenged, not just by the African diaspora, but also by historians and other researchers from Portugal and abroad. Simultaneously, there is a growing interest in the history of African heritage and the diaspora, both by Portuguese and Afro-Portuguese audiences, and African Americans who travel to Africa seeking to know more about their ancestry.



IVLP Exchange Experience 

José was a participant in the IVLP Project: Promoting Social Change Through the Arts, organized by the U.S. Department of State and FHI 360.

José's exchange experience led to the development of his IVLP Impact Award Project: "IVLP is a valuable and unexpected new bridge with several projects, that motivated me to pursue other ideas."

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually

Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Albuquerque, NM; Santa Fe, NM

Country: Portugal

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