The project ASAS – Academias Seniores de Artes e Saberes – is an initiative of the Associação de Estudos da Mulher Migrante (Portugal) that CCARS embraced in 2012 leading to the creation of the Toronto chapter – ASAS/Toronto. ASAS is focused on the Portuguese diaspora and in particular women.
The original project is based on the model “university for seniors”, a model that promotes life-long learning beyond the years of retirement. This model has had tremendous success in Portugal. Manuela Aguiar, the mentor of the project, launched ASAS at the University of Toronto during the II Symposium Windrose: Portuguese in the Four Corners of the World in September 29, 2012.
CCARS finds that this project is particularly relevant to our immigrant Azorean community. Our elders, as keepers of a rich cultural patrimony, have a wealth of knowledge that is crucial to the understanding of cultural values, the immigrant experience, especially the lives of women, whose successes and journeys have often remained unnoticed.
Thus, the main goals of ASAS/Toronto are: 1) to collect and publish life stories/narratives of Portuguese immigrant women and their experiences; 2) to organize informal sessions where their knowledge (saberes) is shared; and 3) to develop workshops with a focus on cultural/historical information regarding the Azores.
CCARS acknowledges and appreciates the financial support for the project ASAS/Toronto received from Direção Regional das Comunidades.