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  • Westmont Hospitality Hall, a new home for the Westmont Institute of Tourism and Hospitality at NOVA University’s School of Business and Economics.
    AKDN / Luis Catarino
Inauguration of NOVA University’s Westmont Hospitality Hall inspires hope for tourism

Lisbon, Portugal, 28 October 2021 – Earlier this week, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was joined by Prince Amyn Aga Khan at NOVA University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE) in Carcavelos, a coastal town 12 km west of Lisbon, to inaugurate Westmont Hospitality Hall – a new home for the Westmont Institute of Tourism and Hospitality.  The Institute’s mission is to inspire and prepare future industry leaders who will support sustainable tourism ventures not only in Portugal but also in Africa and developing countries.

The Westmont Institute is the latest development in the partnership between NOVA SBE and Westmont Hospitality Group, a joint initiative aiming to develop and promote education in hospitality, tourism and service management. Westmont Hospitality Group, founded by the Mangalji family, is a global brand that owns and manages more than 400 hotels all over the world. Its mission includes a desire to use hospitality, travel and tourism as a way of promoting a more sustainable world.

“I think that tourism, by opening up to travellers new lifestyles, new cultures, new traditions, acts as a strong educational experience and breeds understanding, and appreciation of shared values – of how much we share, and not how great are our differences, and that ultimately it promotes a pluralistic approach,” said Prince Amyn Aga Khan, who has decades of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry globally.


Prince Amyn Aga Khan delivers remarks at the inauguration of Westmont Hospitality Hall.
AKDN / Luis Catarino
Majid Mangalji, CEO of Westmont Group, spoke of the inspiration to partner with NOVA as an institute and Portugal as a country. “Right from the start, we felt very comfortable that we could meet our objectives to create something special here at NOVA as we had many areas of alignment of interest,” he said.
“Portugal is a beautiful country, with wonderful people, nice weather and very good food. And we believe it’s a country that can further expand the tourism and hospitality industry,” Mr Mangalji added. “We hope the establishment of the Westmont Institute will benefit this very important industry in a meaningful way.” 


The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has worked for many years to promote tourism as a key strategy for long-term, sustainable economic development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), AKDN’s economic development agency, manages hotels, resorts and lodges under the Serena brand in Africa and Asia. Serena properties provide economic stimulus through employment, training and local sourcing, and support social activities that improve the quality of life and environmental sustainability of local communities.


Portugal’s NOVA University and AKDN have worked together since 2016, partnering on the support for research in important areas such as climate change, sustainable development, media and communications, digital health and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The entire hospitality industry has suffered multiple adverse effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute hopes to harness the potential of tourism to drive innovative responses to these complex challenges.

“I hope to make use of the Westmont Hospitality Hall and the Institute's facilities on campus to help me in my studies,” said Hannah Sabjaly, a student at NOVA SBE. “And I feel proud of this partnership with my university to support higher education in Portugal, while making a contribution to society here in this country and beyond.”

For more information please contact: Semin Abdulla at

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