The importance of Portuguese on the global stage is undeniable. Portuguese is the seventh most widely spoken language in the world, with over 200 million speakers on at least five continents. Portuguese is the official language of the nations of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, and São Tomé & Príncipe. There are significant Portuguese-speaking immigrant populations in North America.
Brazil, the largest Portuguese-speaking country, is the fifth largest country in the world in both area and population. Brazil alone has a larger population than all of the Spanish-speaking countries of South America combined. The greater São Paulo urban area, Brazil's economic "capital," is by some estimates the fifth largest metropolitan area in the world. Brazil is a "BRICS" country: Brazil's economy is the largest in Latin America and is the sixth largest in the world. Brazil has the largest population of African descent outside of Nigeria.
Winston-Salem State University has seized upon the overall importance of Portuguese by developing a full Portuguese Minor curriculum. WSSU is now a partner in two exchange consortia supported by the US Department of Education's US-Brazil Higher Education Consortia program, with monies from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and its Brazilian counterpart. One program's theme is "Legacies of the African Diaspora in Brazil and the US: Persistent Inequalities." A second project is the "Biomedical Sciences Exchange." There are also other opportunities for study in Brazil, for example, through the University of North Carolina Exchange Program (UNC-EP) in the city of Curitiba.