He's the toast of all of Portugal, and now his home region, the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores has officially recognized Carlos Teixeira with its highest honour.
Teixeira, associate professor of geography at UBC Okanagan, traveled to Toronto for Day of the Azores in May, where he received the Insignias do Governo Regional dos Açores -- Medal for Professional Merit. It's one of the most distinguished honours given by the government of the autonomous region of Azores. Presenting the medal was Carlos Manuel Martins do Vale Cesar, President of the Azores.
It’s the second time Teixeira has been recognized with his native country’s greatest accolades. At a ceremony held at UBC Okanagan in October 2005, Teixeira received Portugal's highest civilian honour -- the Ordem do Infante D. Henrique, the Portuguese government's equivalent to the Order of Canada. The awards recognize Teixeira’s work on behalf of Portuguese immigrants in Canada.
Teixeira left the Azores for Canada in 1978 to study geography at Universite du Quebec a Montreal and later York University in Toronto, where he completed his PhD in urban social geography. He came to the Okanagan in early 2004, and he has been researching the Portuguese in the southern reaches of the valley -- Penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos.
"I feel honoured by this award," says Teixeira. "It is an incentive to continue working hard."
This spring, he and co-editor Victor M.P. Da Rosa from the University of Ottawa, published The Portuguese in Canada: Diasporic Challenges and Adjustment (University of Toronto Press). Teixeira also authored a chapter for the book, looking specifically at the how Portuguese farming families have impacted the agricultural economy of the south Okanagan.
"What makes UBC Okanagan different is that we work with three components -- community work, teaching, and research," says Teixeira. "We are very strong on community work and, for me, this is as important as the other components of teaching and research. They are interrelated."
Teixeira’s other research interests include the housing experiences of new immigrants in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. He will soon publish a paper in the journal Canadian Geographer, examining the housing experiences of new immigrants in Kelowna’s rental housing market.
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