48th Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: Nilma N. Dominique

Nilma N. Dominique

Lecturer in Portuguese, Global Studies and Languages

48th Annual MLK Leadership Award

Nilma N. Dominique teaches Portuguese from introductory to advanced levels, and has developed the current curriculum of Portuguese language subjects at MIT. Prior to joining MIT, Dominique taught Portuguese at Harvard University in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and previously was an instructor of Portuguese and Spanish. She serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) and is a certified American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency rater in Portuguese language.

Dominique’s pedagogical interests include non-verbal communication, sociolinguistics, and heritage language pedagogy. She holds a BA from the Universidade Federal da Bahia in Brazil; an MA from the Associação Baiana de Educação e Cultura in Brazil, and a PhD from the Universidad de Alcalá in Spain.

Dominique is co-editor of Microgeopolítica da língua portuguesa: ações, desafios e perspectivas [Microgeopolitics of the Portuguese language: actions, challenges and perspectives], published in 2021, and author of La comunicación sin palabras. Estudio comparativo de gestos usados en España y Brasil [Communication without Words. A Comparative Study of Gestures Used in Spain and Brazil], published in 2012. She frequently presents her work on heritage language and sociolinguistic topics at conferences and society meetings.

"I believe that we all must make a conscious effort to constantly review our values and reflect on our choices and decisions, lest we automatically reproduce behaviors that we claim to be fighting against. As educators, we cannot and should not be mere observers or indifferent to the social reality in which we live. We have to act not only by critically verifying the facts, but also by intervening in an ethical manner."

--Nilma Dominique, February 2022



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MIT MLK Awardee Nilma N. Dominique (left) and her nominator Rosabelli Coelho-Keyssar, managing director of the MIT-Brazil program, 2022. Photo: MIT Brazil