IDL - Instituto Amaro da Costa



Adelino Amaro da Costa

Adelino Manuel Lopes Amaro da Costa was born in Lisbon on April 18th, 1943. Due to his father's work for the government, the family lived in Madeira from 1944 to 1953, where he attended elementary school. He went to secondary school back in Lisbon where he attended Liceu de Camões high school, graduating in 1960 with high grades. He had been involved with the Acção Católica (Catholic Action) organization since 1955 and was president of the Catholic Youth at his school from 1956 to 1960.

He was accepted at Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa, where he obtained his Civil Engineering degree in 1965-66 with a 17/20 point average. He was an intern at Direcção Geral dos Serviços Hidráulicos (General Bureau for Hydraulic Services) and also at Hidrotécnica Portuguesa Estudos e Projectos, a company specialized in hydroelectric projects, where he continued to work for a couple of years after graduating.

In September 1967 Adelino Amaro da Costa initiated his compulsory military service in the Navy, where he served as an expert technician for the Naval Reserve's Hydrographic Institute until June 1970, having attained the second-lieutenant military rank. In October of the same year, he began his work as an assistant for the Grupo de Hidráulica (Hydraulics Group) at the Instituto Superior Técnico, until January 1974.

From 1965 to 1970 he was editor of the university newspaper "Tempo" (Time), a newspaper managed by several associated editors, which he founded while still a student. During that time he was also a regular correspondent for the "Diário de Lisboa" and "Diário Popular" dailies, having also collaborated with several different publications, namely for "Rumo" magazine. In 1969 he became a correspondent for the Spanish daily "Madrid", until that newspaper was suspended and later dissolved by the Franco government.

At the end of 1968, Adelino Amaro da Costa began collaborating for the higher education sector of Gabinete de Estudos e Planeamento da Acção Educativa (Office for the Study and Planning of Educative Action). During the following year he became part of the "Grupo de Inquérito do Ensino Superior" (Group of Inquiry into Higher Education) but the lack of political conditions necessary to the development of his work, forced him to desist from it.

From then on he continued to give his technical support to the work of the GEPAE for higher education, and was later nominated deputy assistant to its president. To impel the research on "Social Demand for Higher Education", Adelino Amaro da Costa organized a group for the analysis and methodical investigation of college/university education issues. He actively participated in the restructuring of the GEPAE, which would become the Gabinete de Estudos e Planeamento (Studies and Planning Bureau) of the Ministry of Education, to which he was appointed deputy director in 1973, and then general director in January 1974.

During his time in the Ministry of Education, Adelino Amaro da Costa participated enthusiastically in numerous studies on educational innovation and planning. He was member of the group representing Portugal in the various meetings and conferences of OECD's Educational Committee on the subject of educative, scientific and human resources politics. As part of OECD's Technical Assistance Program he was sent to England in 1970 and was involved in several projects for this organization and for its Educational Innovation and Research Centre. He participated, as well, in several conferences on the higher education problematic.

Adelino Amaro da Costa was a member of: the Ministers Committee for Planning and Economic Integration; the Advisory Council for the Area of Sines Bureau; the Advisory Council for the National Board of Scientific and Technological Investigation; and several other committees and work groups. He was also, by inherence, part of the permanent Educative Action Council of the National Board of Education and Directors Council of the Ministry of Education.

In July 1974, Adelino Amaro da Costa left the public sector to embrace politics. He was a founding member of CDS - Centro Social Democrata (Social Democratic Centre) political party, and served as its Secretary-General until February 1975. In the party's 1st Congress he was elected Vice-president of the Political Committee of CDS, and re-elected during the 2nd Congress, in June 1976. In December 1978, during the party's 3rd Congress, he was elected Vice-President of the party, and President of its Executive Committee. In April 1975, Adelino Amaro da Costa was elected to the Constituent Assembly by the constituency of Braga, and to the National Assembly in April 1976, by the constituency of Oporto. From June 1976 to December 1978, he was leader of the CDS Parliamentary Group, dealing mainly with issues of economic and general politics. In December 1979 he was once again elected as Member of Parliament by the constituency of Oporto.

On December 6th, 1975, Adelino Amaro da Costa idealized and founded the IDL -Instituto Democracia e Liberdade, which after his death was renamed IDL - Instituto Amaro da Costa.

He married Maria Manuela Simões Vaz da Silva in November 1979. On January 3rd, 1980, he took office as Minister of National Defence, the first civilian to hold this office since the revolution of April 25th, 1974.

He spoke Spanish, French and English fluently. He played rugby and soccer: He died tragically in a mysterious aviation accident in Camarate, on December 4th, 1980, together with his wife, Francisco Sá Carneiro, António Patrício Gouveia, Snu Abecassis, and the two pilots.

Honours were bestowed on him posthumously with the Medalha Militar de Ouro de Serviços Distintos (Distinguished Services Military Gold Medal) and the Grã-Cruz da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique (Grand Cross of the Order of Henry the Navigator).