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The Instituto Cervantes and the British Council to collaborate on a strategy of ‘linguistic and cultural co-operation’

El 27 de febrero de 2020 en Uncategorized por | Sin comentarios

The Director of the Instituto Cervantes, Luis García Montero, and the Chief Executive of the British Council, Ciarán Devane, today held a meeting at British Council headquarters in London, where they laid the foundations for co-operation in linguistic and cultural affairs. It is their first meeting since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in November, on the eve of the United Kingdom’s official departure from the European Union.

Today’s meeting sets this agreement in motion and underscores the fruitful dialogue that both countries have maintained, over the past year, in the field of cultural diplomacy, as well as their joint exploration of new approaches to work on European matters.

Luis García Montero said that ‘the agreement between the Instituto Cervantes and the British Council demonstrates our willingness to collaborate. Both institutions understand languages as spaces for cultural dialogue and as a link between civilisations. Democracy is defended through words.’

The Director of the Instituto Cervantes, Luis García Montero, was accompanied by the institution’s Director of Cabinet, Martín López-Vega, Director of International Relations, Rafael Soriano, Academic Director, Carmen Pastor, Deputy Director of Culture, Raquel Caleya, and the Directors of the London and Manchester-Leeds centres, Ignacio Peyró and Francisco Oda.

The British Council was represented by Chief Executive Ciarán Devane, their Director in Spain, Mark Howard, HR Director Talent and Development, Louisa Bench, Regional Manager MENA, EU Europe and Wider Europe, Francis Gardener-Trejo, Regional Head, EU Europe, Wider Europe and Americas, Charlie Walker, Global Head of Content, Laura Clohessy, and Learning and Development and Talent Consultant Arts, Nathan Carroll.

Both Spanish and British delegations emphasised that Spanish and English are ‘complementary, not competing’ in their constant growth as languages of international communication; they also emphasised the importance of spreading the values of Spanish- and English-speaking communities in the global context.

Spanish and English: the world’s most widely spoken and studied languages

During the meeting, British Council Chief Executive Ciarán Devane said that ‘there are 860 million English speakers and 570 million Spanish speakers globally. Both the British Council and the Cervantes Institute work through culture and education to improve understanding and encourage open, inclusive conversation between these languages. This closer partnership between our two organisations will help to build stronger, lasting connections among people all over the world.’

The leaders of both institutions also agreed to promote language teaching and learning as part of the response to the challenges of globalisation. The two institutions award more than 4 million certificates between them each year, and one of their principle areas of academic co-operation will centre on language certification processes, with special emphases on the possibilities of digital certification.

At the same time, there will be a programme of short-term secondments between the two institutions in the first half of 2020, with the aim of collaborating on best practice in the recruitment and training of new teachers. They will also work together on their organisational processes and the expansion of their respective networks.

UK publishers to meet in Madrid

One of the main objectives of this agreement is to promote dialogue between cultures. To this end, a meeting of British publishers is being scheduled for later in the year in Madrid. On the agenda will be mechanisms for greater inclusion of the immense wealth of hispanophone literature in UK bookshops. The Instituto Cervantes, for its part, will open centres across its network to cultural exchanges with their British counterparts.

Other joint activities planned for 2020-2021 include events to discuss digital culture, ethics in journalism, and European culture, as well as mutual celebrations of two significant milestones: the 30th anniversary of the Instituto Cervantes and the 80th anniversary of the British Council in Spain.

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