Lisbon City Hall today paid tribute to writer and cultural manager António Mega Ferreira, driving force behind Expo’98, by giving his name to a street in Parque das Nações and signing a memorandum to make his library available.
“António Mega Ferreira was this visionary, who created city, who built city and who had a vision about our city and, therefore, today we are here together to pay him this tribute, which is to name this street after him forever. It is to eternalize, not to forget and to celebrate,” said the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas (PSD).
The inauguration of Rua António Mega Ferreira (1949-2022) was attended by family members of the writer and commissioner of Expo’98, as well as by other political figures from the city, including the president of the Parque das Nações Parish Council, Carlos Ardisson (CDS-PP), and the president of the Lisbon Municipal Assembly, Rosário Farmhouse (PS).
“António Mega Ferreira inspired us all,” said Carlos Moedas (PSD), highlighting the role of the cultural manager as the “father” of Expo’98.
“In 1998, I was an emigrant in France. This was the first project that, when I brought my French friends, I was proud of, it was extraordinary to come to the Expo. Portugal was at the center of the world,” recalled Lisbon’s mayor.
Representing the family, Duarte Azinheira considered “a fair homage” the attribution of the name of António Mega Ferreira to a street in Parque das Nações, since he was the driving force behind the Expo’98 project, which allowed the urban regeneration of this part of the city of Lisbon.
Duarte Azinheira praised the “double aspect” of his uncle António Mega Ferreira, who was a cultural manager and writer, but confided that he would like to be remembered as a writer, because “books were everything in his life.
Regarding the library, the nephew said that his uncle offered him his literary collection, but as he already has his own, he couldn’t accept for lack of space: “The houses in Lisbon are so expensive that it is not possible to put two huge libraries together.
“It is not a specialized library, it is a library that corresponds to what António was as an intellectual, a man of generalist taste. In António’s library you can find everything from global music histories to Latin and Greek dictionaries, and even books that teach us how to play the tarot,” said Duarte Azinheira.
This intervention was made within the scope of the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the heirs of António Mega Ferreira, Lisbon City Hall, Parque das Nações Parish Council, and the University of Lisbon for the installation of the António Mega Ferreira Library and the Parque das Nações Interpretation Center at the Pavilhão de Portugal.
The rector of the University of Lisbon, Luís Ferreira, remembered António Mega Ferreira for the fundamental role he played in the construction of the Expo’98 building, namely the Pavilion of Portugal, and for being “a man of culture.
Luís Ferreira said that the António Mega Ferreira Library, which is scheduled to open in a year’s time, will be located near the Parque das Nações Interpretation Center and next to a 24-hour study center for students at the University of Lisbon.
“We want a library that can be seen, read, handled. We don’t want a warehouse for books”, explained the rector, stating that the project for “a living library” was possible to idealize in 15 days, which he considers a lesson for the Lisbon City Hall, because it has been waiting for a year and a half for a response to licensing processes.
“Here you have seen what it is to be mayor, which is to receive a complaint about housing from Duarte and a complaint about urbanism from Mr. Chancellor and, therefore, that is my job, is to listen to the complaints, act on the complaints and resolve the situations,” Carlos Moedas declared.
Regarding the António Mega Ferreira Library project, the mayor praised the “combination of wills”, which allowed an idea to “quickly come to fruition”.
“António Mega Ferreira was this man of the combination of wills, of being able to work with everyone, with the different political forces, with the different ways of thinking,” stressed the mayor, adding that his library “shows this ability to live in the world, to work with everyone and find solutions.
Carlos Moedas also stressed the importance of keeping the memory of Expo’98 alive: “Today, more than ever, in these times in which we live, times of instability, times of war, times when many are trying to rewrite history, having an interpretation center here, where we have this library and the estate of António Mega Ferreira, is fighting to continue to repeat our history, and it is only by repeating our history that we will always, always, be able to maintain our democracy.
The Mayor of Lisbon also participated in the inauguration of the Vasco da Gama Tower and in the launching of the book “My Lisbon, the Castle, the Tagus and Everything”, by António Mega Ferreira.