Rita Marques

Guided by the mission of empowering people to read the world, the Livraria Lello Foundation, spearheaded by Rita Marques, consultant and lecturer at Porto Business School and former Secretary of State for Tourism, Trade, and Services, along with Fátima Vieira, Vice-Rector of the University of Porto, Dom Américo Aguiar, Cardinal of Setúbal, and Luís Araújo, former President of Tourism of Portugal, on the board of curators, announces the opening of Leça do Balio Monastery in June 2024.

"The historical legacy of this centennial space—Livraria Lello—which reinvented itself and revitalized, is now a must-visit for thousands of people. However, the Foundation's desire is to expand its reach to new audiences, encouraging civic participation in building a more balanced and prosperous society," says Rita Marques.

The Livraria Lello Foundation is a cultural entity dedicated to promoting books and knowledge, amplifying critical thinking, and empowering the relationship between territories and heritage. With the bold mission of empowering people to "read the world," it promotes reading as a lever for human prosperity, cultivating a more informed, engaged society prepared for complex challenges.

In response to concerning trends in intellectual capacity and reading comprehension among young people, as highlighted in studies such as "Looking for Flynn effects" and the PISA 2022 report by the OECD, the Foundation aims to address this social gap. "It is urgent to empower young people to interpret the world more deeply, contextualize information, and reflect on global, social, and cultural issues so that they can have an active civic intervention," reiterates Rita Marques. The

Foundation will undertake the following actions in 2024:

Opening of Monastery of Leça do Balio (2nd quarter of 2024): A rehabilitation project for the national monument by Architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, returning it to the community and transforming it into a cultural center with exhibitions, conferences, debates, and various events. The Monastery, the foundation's headquarters, has an estimates investment of around 2 million euros in the first phase.

‘Caminho da Arte’ (Art Route): The Art route project, promoted by the foundation, aims to be the world's largest and most beautiful art road. A cultural itinerary of over 260 km, connecting the Sé do Porto to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, crossing the Portuguese Caminos de Santiago.

Artistic Residencies (2024): The Foundation will promote various artistic residencies, including an international meeting of architecture students to address environmental and urban challenges along the coast and a project with young people at risk of social exclusion. This aims to populate the art route with an expected investment of 200,000 euros.

"We envision a future where the book enriches the intellect and inspires action. A future where each person embarks on their own journey of meaning and purpose with bright eyes, open hearts, and curious minds," concludes Rita Marques.