Social Impact can encompass a wide range of ideas and projects that positively affect the communities we live in.
We are delighted to showcase various Fulbright alumni working with art, music, science,
and public health projects that are contributing to a better world.


A series by Leslie Kutsenkow (Fulbright Intern, Summer 2023)



(Photography by Diana Tinoco/CMS)


Fulbright alumnus, Martim Sousa Tavares, was the Artistic Director for the 57º edition of Festival de Sintra, an international classical music festival that happened from June 15 to 25, 2023, in various locations in and around Sintra, Portugal. “This is an edition in great expansion, which foresees more than fifty artists spread over more than thirty events, with a great commitment to emerging talent and new programming formats”.

The festival included classical performances, walks-concerts in nature, a duel of pianists, cinema events for those that are not as familiar with classical music, along with multiple opportunities for youth to participate while maintaining the identity and tradition of the festival.


We interviewed Martim about how his experience as a Fulbright grantee is still relevant today and the impact he hopes to create in the years to come.

  1. How have you been able to use your experiences in the US for your role as the Sintra Music Festival Artistic Director? I have, particularly in terms of the networks I established while I was in Chicago. Many artists have become known to me that way and I’m inviting some of them here this or in the coming years.
  2. What challenges do youth face in Portugal today having access to music and music education? I’d say that the situation is frankly better than it was 5, 10 or 20 years ago. However, we must always strive for greater access and participation levels, and this can be achieved through community-based projects and not relying solely on schools to do all the We should demand more from organizations and politics at a local level. We should also encourage greater institutions to stretch out to those that are still marginalized, opening up new ways to get new audiences involved with their programming.
  3. If you could have one impact on Portuguese society and culture now and/or in the future, what would it be? I would certainly love to go down in history as someone who helped tie communities together through music, arts and beauty. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s classical music or any other kind of music. What matters is that people feel connected and have a sense of purpose in maintaining a culturally active life.


Martim returned to Portugal after studying in Chicago, Illinois, to found the Orquestra Sem Fronteiras in Idanha-a-Nova, which is just one of his many projects that range from conducting, artistic directing, radio, television, podcasts, and speaking events to name a few. On his website, Martim identifies himself “as an artistic director, I am also interested in the connection to the community, the territory, and the wider cultural ecosystem. I strongly believe in universal access to culture and I do everything in my power to put people in touch with the beauty and critical spirit that the arts provide.”.


Congratulations, Martim! Find out more about the festival online.

— — — —

Since you are here, read “My Fulbright Experience” too, a series focused on the Fulbrighters’ testimonies about their Fulbright programs in the US and in Portugal!