A delegation from the Iberoamerican University Foundation (FUNIBER), led by its president, Dr. Santos Gracia Villar, made an institutional visit to Canada in the last week of May, aimed at strengthening academic and cultural ties between this country and the Ibero-American Community of Nations. This activity is the result of the initiative and decisive impetus of the Spanish ambassador, Alfredo Martínez Serrano.
During the visit, Dr. Frigdiano Álvaro Durántez Prados, Director of Institutional Relations and of the FUNIBER Chair of Ibero-American Studies and Iberophony, gave two lectures. Firstly, a historiographical dissertation, given in the Bodega y Cuadra Hall of the Spanish Embassy in Canada, on the Hispanic presence in the North American country from the 16th century to the end of the 18th century, which was part of the inauguration of the exhibition “Together in history: maps of Canada in Spanish collections“. The exhibition is made up of some twenty historic Spanish maps and illustrations detailing important areas of the current territory of Canada and the northernmost part of America that were explored and recognised by great Spanish sailors and navigators.
Secondly, Dr. Durántez gave a lecture on “The articulation of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world 500 years after the first globalisation”. The event took place at the Mexican Embassy and, like the first lecture, emphasised the Ibero-American dimension of Spanish relations with North America. The conference was sponsored by the Embassies of Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic -currently pro tempore Secretariat pro tempore of the Ibero-American Conference- and Panama -currently pro tempore Secretariat pro tempore of the Central American Integration System (SICA)-.
Fruitful collaboration with Canadian universities
In addition to meetings with Ibero-American diplomats and representatives of the native peoples of Canada, FUNIBER visited the University of Ottawa and Carleton University in order to establish agreements and collaborations. The University of Ottawa, founded in 1848, is the largest bilingual university in the world. Carleton University is a research and teaching institution with a tradition of leading change and promoting innovation.
During FUNIBER’s institutional visit, the agreement between the Spanish Ministry of Education and the Spanish Embassy with the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ottawa was presented. The agreement creates a Spanish Language Resource Centre which will be hosted by this academic institution. In addition, the Embassy, through its Education Attaché Office, made a first donation of books to the Centre.
Image: courtesy of the Spanish Embassy in Canada.