The ‘president of selfies’ visits San Diego

San Diego State University students participated in a meet and greet at the S.E.S. Portuguese Hall of San Diego with president of Portugal

The President of Selfies snaps a photo with SDSU students at the S.E.S. Portuguese Hall of San Diego after his speech.

Photo Courtesy: Victoria Finn

The ‘President of Selfies’ snaps a photo with SDSU students at the S.E.S. Portuguese Hall of San Diego after his speech.

by Victoria Finn, Contributor

It has been over 30 years since the last time a Portuguese president has visited San Diego.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, also known as “president of selfies,” visited the Sociedade Espírito Santo (S.E.S.) Portuguese Hall in Point Loma, on Saturday, Sept. 24. 

He participated in a meet and greet in hopes of reconnecting with the Portuguese-American community. San Diego State University students studying the Portuguese language received free entry to the lunchtime cocktail, which was open to the public. 

The event gave Portuguese individuals the chance to find community in San Diego and connect back to their roots. Enzo Zaccarias, third-year kinesiology major, said that it was a great opportunity to meet the president and connect with parts of their culture.  

I could see how many other Portuguese-speaking people we have around and that they do care about us in other countries,” Zaccarias said. “Even though we are not home, Portuguese people are all around us.”

Marcelo arrived in California to embark on a West Coast tour. He stopped in cities that had a large population of Portuguese people, including San Diego, Artesia, San Jose and San Francisco.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was accompanied by dignitaries from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and gave a speech about the power of the Portuguese people, no matter where they were in the world. 

“We must be everywhere,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. “Portuguese, Luso-Americans, we must be strong. Even in basketball, we have a Portuguese player. So this means we are everywhere, we are strong.”

Students in attendance were touched by the speech and expressed their gratitude. It also gave individuals from other lusophone (Portuguese speaking) cultures a chance to speak their native language and learn more about Portuguese culture. 

“My favorite part of the meet and greet was the president’s speech because he had a lot of energy and I liked the way he tried to interact with everybody,” said Mateus Alves do Sacramento, a foreign exchange student of lusophone descent. 

“I’m interested in politics and it’s not everyday you meet the president of a foreign country. It was cool to see so many people speaking the same language, it made me feel more at home.”

The United Portuguese S.E.S. strives to honor and preserve traditions and customs. They welcome those with descent from the Azores, Madeira and mainland Portugal.