Tweet One of the best things — the very best thing, in fact — about traveling is getting to meet extraordinary people.
It happened to me in the Azores, when, thanks to a reader of this blog, I met Miguel Monjardino and his wife Kika. Let me tell you about them, and about his extraordinary work. Miguel teaches geopolitics at the Catholic University of Portugal, and writes a foreign affairs column for the Portuguese weekly Expresso.
He was born and raised on the Azorean island of Terceira, to which he returned, with his mainland-born wife, to raise their kids. He commutes by airplane to Lisbon to teach his classes.
We met Miguel and Kika at a picnic table down by the harbor in Angra do Heroismo, the capital city. Over platters of limpets sea snails grilled in their shell, in olive oil and chopped garlic, we got to know each other. Miguel and Kika then took us all for a slow walk around the harbor, and talked to us of the history of the city, which was founded by the Portuguese in the 15th century.
Standing at the western edge of the bay, in the shadow of a Spanish fort, I thought about how the rise and fall of great nations.
This place was once a gateway to a rich and powerful empire; now it is a sleepy town on an island most Americans have never heard of. I told one of my sons, who was walking with us, that this would be the fate of our own country someday. This is the way of the world. We Americans are such a young and dynamic country that we have no feel for it.
But there in Angra, and indeed all over Europe, the evidence is all around you. He told me that he had written a column predicting that Trump would win the presidency, despite the fact that all the official signs indicated a Clinton victory.
Miguel based his prediction solely by interviews with Azoreans living in the United States there are big communities here. They were usually Democratic voters, but inevery single one of his correspondents were planning to vote for Trump.
They were sick of political correctness. They worried about the fate of the working class. And they despised Hillary Clinton as an entitled representative of a dynasty. The turmoil roiling American politics is going to be with us a long time, the professor of geopolitics predicts.
But the challenges the US faces are relatively small compared to the massive problems coming hard and fast at Europe, in the form of African migration. The massive migration of barbarians into the Roman Empire, in the 4th through 6th centuries, changed European civilization permanently.
They caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and centuries later, the rise of a new civilization there, based on the descendants of old Roman stock and Christianized Germanic tribes.
Or will they have to do as the Romans did and absorb the strangers, and, over centuries, create a new civilization?
These are the stakes. We talked about the loss of historical consciousness in the contemporary West. In ordinary terms, we spoke of what it means that so many young people in the West today know nothing of the intellectual and cultural legacy of the West, much less care about it.
On a beautiful day in fallI walked up a mountain on Terceira Island in the Azores with six students. We talked about the Republic of Letters, a voluntary weekend program of readings and conversations that I was designing to prepare high school students for life in a university.
At least, that was how I originally conceived of it.A CRESAÇOR – Cooperativa Regional de Economia Solidária, CRL fundada em , tem sede na Ilha de S.
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2 Aug Part of the Captaincy-general of the Azores. Luís Miguel Poiares Pessoa Maduro ComSE (Coimbra, Sé Nova, 3 de janeiro de ) é um professor universitário e político português, que ocupou o cargo de Ministro Adjunto e do Desenvolvimento Regional, com a tutela da Comunicação Social, do Desenvolvimento Regional e das Autarquias Locais, durante o XIX Governo Constitucional de Portugal.
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Miguel Monjardino is Professor of Geopolitics and Geostrategy at the Portuguese Catholic University in Lisbon. Dr. Monjardino also serves as a foreign affairs columnist for Expresso.