On September 19, 2013, the city of Oporto in Portugal named Nursing Dean Afaf I. Meleis an honorary citizen. Oporto is known as the City of Knowledge for its famous libraries.
Members of the faculty of the Oporto School of Nursing and nurses from the Nurses' Union nominated Dr. Meleis for her work in Transition Theory which defines many issues in nursing and in human development. Her book on the topic is in its fifth edition.
"You have adopted and utilized the theory in so many creative ways and you are helping in advancing knowledge about developmental, situational and health illness transitions," Dr. Meleis said. "My colleagues in Oporto are also developing the best models of care to enhance individual's and family's health and well-being during their transitions. They are transforming healthcare in Oporto and perhaps in Portugal. Their work is inspiring."
As a young nursing student at the University of Alexandria, the dean was the World Health Organization's consultant, Portugese native Dr. Maria Tito De Morais. "She is Portugese and a prominent leader and a fantastic role model who also supported me and encouraged me to get graduate education," said Dr. Meleis, noting that this early influence made the award particularly meaningful.