The city of Lisbon was elected by the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities to be the 2017 Capital of Culture of this world so diversified in terms of geography, climate, citizens, languages, economies, traditions, cultural practices, artistic languages, imagery, cultural legacies, creators and that, in the cities as a whole, brings together over 120 million people from the Iberian Peninsula, Central and South America, Mexico and the countries that have received their diasporas.

Lisbon, and its internationally recognized characteristics of hospitality and light, will be even more of a meeting place, a platform for conviviality and multiple forms of expression as well as many other forms of reception. However, and as announced by the Past and Present that comes before Lisbon, Ibero-American Capital of Culture in 2017, it will not simply be a place of arrivals and departures.

In Lisbon there will be traces, routes and testimonies of the past, not always grand and not always heroic. The narratives of the passages and the presence of Afro-descendants transported to the Americas will be shown through the objects, words and place names that they left behind. The same will be done for the presence of Latin American migrants on both sides of the Atlantic, in transit according to the greater or lesser adversity they encountered on either side of the ocean. Through numerous activities, the lives, expectations and, of course, the disappointments of those who passed through, stopped, or settled here will be recovered. In Lisbon, the story of what was the invention of Paradise will be told: the American Countries of the Future, their utopias and dystopias.

As for the Present, there will be exhibitions, concerts, talks and cinema from cities that are often thousands of kilometres apart, with citizens speaking Portuguese and Spanish - as languages of the community – but also using other maternal or adopted languages, with pronunciation as widely different as that of Galician and Guarani.

We shall be enjoying the festivities together, in the Present, with creativity and critical reflection, but not always with consensus, of course.

The Past and Present Lisbon, Ibero-American Capital of Culture, 2017 involves over forty venues, some of which are dependent on the City Council and the Ministry of Culture, and others belonging to different cultural organizations that responded enthusiastically to the City Council’s proposal that they produced their own projects in terms of the Lisbon Programmatic Charter.

The programme will include over 150 activities involving hundreds of artists, producers, teachers and publicists in order to build, together with the people of Lisbon, the Cultural City.

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