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Friday, May 03, 2013 (read 1617 times)
Spanish in the US. The Cervantes Institute at Harvardby Lauris
When talking about Spanish-speaking nations, people often make the big mistake of overlooking the United States. The US is one of the countries with the largest number of Spanish speakers. Moreover, it has been predicted that by 2050, the number of Americans who speak Spanish as their first language will exceed that of the inhabitants of Mexico, which it is still the country with the largest number of Spanish speakers.
According to the Cervantes Institute, there are more than thirty million Americans who speak Spanish as their first language today, and this number is increasing rapidly. In addition, nearly one million American undergrads study Spanish, which places it as the most studied foreign language at the university level in the US.
A New Cervantes Institute Center
Given these facts, the Cervantes Institute will launch a new center in Massachusetts, and more specifically in the "heart" of Harvard University, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions and the oldest university in the United States.
The official name of this center will be “Instituto Cervantes en la Universidad de Harvard” (Cervantes Institute at Harvard University). It is the result of an agreement between the Spanish institution, whose general director is Victor Gª de la Concha, and the president of Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust, which will allow the Cervantes Institute to establish a center in Harvard’s department of arts and sciences, a center that will serve as an observatory for the study and expansion of the Spanish language in the U.S.
The Cervantes Institute at Harvard University will be made possible with the sponsorship of Grupo Santander, which will help the center get started and fund it with a million Euros over a four year period. Plans for the project include a soon-to-be-ready website where users will be able to access all the material created by the center for its different activities. Reports will also be given on Spanish in the US and the status of Spanish-language literature there, including the linguistic contact and influences that implicates, etc. The new Cervantes Institute center also plans to implement cultural initiatives that will promote Spanish language and Hispanic identity at universities. Lectures are also planned to be given by Latino writers that are active in the US, and visits will be made by authors that have won the prestigious Cervantes Institute.
The director of the new center will be the Spanish language professor Francisco Moreno Fernández., who was also responsible for the Cervantes Institute in Chicago and Sao Paulo. Since 2008, he has been the academic director of the Institute. Although the Harvard center’s operation period is initially scheduled to last four years, Mr. Moreno optimistically stated on RNE (Spanish National Radio), that “something would have to go very wrong for the four year operation period at Harvard not to be automatically renewed”.
The opening of the Cervantes Institute at Harvard University is a promising event for the future of the Spanish language in the US and for a vision of Spanish as a prestigious, international, unifying language. For many years, those that work within the field of promoting Spanish-speaking language and culture in the world today have been working to achieve that vision.
Keywords: spanish in the us,spanish in the united states,spanish-speaking nations,cervantes institute,spanish at harvard