GCD 12: Cascais, Lisboa; Portugal
15-19 September 2017
The 12th Dialogue returned to Europe, to a country at the root of much of what was once called the “New World”. Although the Spaniards and the Italians lay claim to having “discovered” the Americas in the person of Christopher Columbus, it is Portugal that laid the groundwork for these global explorations. Their research, data, experience and courage served as the working foundation for nearly every other sea-going explorer thereafter. Indeed, Columbus actually studied under Portuguese explorers in Lisbon before undertaking his voyage of discovery to America. Perhaps the best known of Portugal’s explorers is Fernão de Magalhães (anglicised as “Magellan”) who organised the first circumnavigation of the globe, and who established footholds for European explorers on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Portuguese ventures in(to) Asia, Africa and the New World served to create an empire that, at its peak, belied the diminutive size of the country itself.The GCD #12 took place in the vicinity of Cascais, outside of Lisbon and Sintra. Lisbon itself is one of Europe’s oldest cities, dating back to the 8th century BC. It is also one of Europe’s wealthiest cities, and among the top-ten tourist destinations in Southern Europe. Lisbon owes its popularity to its international orientation, financial centres and extensive logistics network.
Sintra is known for its many 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments, which has resulted in its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site , as well as an extensive literary heritage that has made it a legendary reference in Portuguese literature. Additionally, Sintra - originally Suntria, or “bright star” - has been a crossroad for many cultures, each of which has left its mark on the city, making it an archeological treasure-trove.
In light of the focus of world powers and international relations, we have selected a venue that reflects the exploration of new and different lands and cultures. Lisbon has long been at the centre of global exploration and discovery. The Portuguese were the earliest “modern European” explorers of the Atlantic and Pacific, and the first to successfully circumnavigate the globe.
The exclusive municipality of Cascais on the Estoril Coast – often referred to as the Portuguese Riviera – began as a small fishing village and wool working center, but became famous once Portugal’s royal family began repairing there in the summers of the late 19th century. Portugal’s neutrality during the second world war led to Cascais being the temporary residence of exiled royal families from Spain, Italy , Hungary and Bulgaria, among others.
In keeping with the model of successful dialogues in the past, we congregated at a large and isolated venue that accommodated all 22 members of the dialogue and will allow us exclusive use of the venue. Set in the village of Malveira da Serra, the “Morada do Sol” (encompassing the Villa Cascais and the Casa Grande) offers us a private, peaceful environment for meeting in groups of all sizes. We are planning to cater this event ourselves again, with everyone pitching in to prepare meals – and to enjoy the results! We will likely have one evening out in Cascais, Sintra or Lisbon to gain some insight into the history and cultural significance of the locale.
The 12th GCD officially began at 6pm on Friday, September 15, 2017 and ran until Tuesday, September 19th at 12noon , with an optional joint lunch in Lisbon on Tuesday.
The unique Morada Sol estate, located in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, is made up of two separate villas set opposite to each other in a beautiful 5000 m 2 walled landscaped garden. With average temperatures between 15º and 25º C (60º and 75º F), hearty souls will find the private covered swimming pool an added delight.
The architecture of the main villa (Villa Cascais) is of Mediterranean influence, with the house following the contours of the landscape - curves not cubes - so the whole is at one with its setting. The venue’s proximity to the beach and the many attractions of Cascais, Lisbon and Sintra allow this property to offer peace and privacy amongst the beauty and tranquillity of nature, but with all you might want close by.