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An informative diplomatic publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Cooperation and public diplomacy join in their commitment to water management and sustainable development
Analysis > Essential aspects of consular work
Editorial Emilio Fernández-Castaño y Díaz-Caneja Commissioner of the zaragoza 2008 international exposition
“Water and Sustainable Development”, the challenge facing the 21st Century ❖ Spain is fully committed to the Exposition Movement. In a world characterized by the transition from a clash of civilizations to an Alliance of Civilizations, this spirit takes on special meaning today as its universal outreach makes it the only phenomenon, besides the Olympic Games, to fully and immediately capture the imagination of immense numbers of people. ❖ Expo Zaragoza 2008 marks a new era in the history of international Expositions. It is a great event that has evolved with the changing spirit of the times and focuses on a subject that is of great importance to humanity. Water is unique and precious, and it is the natural resource most affected by climate change. For this reason, the Zaragoza Exposition offers itself as a platform to raise awareness about an issue that has moved from the sphere of science into that of politics and then into the realm of public opinion. ❖ With its theme of Water and Sustainable Development, Expo Zaragoza 2008 will serve as the voice
for more than 100 countries; a chorus that aims to bring together millions of people committed to the search for solutions to a fundamental problem that affects the entire world. Furthermore, Expo Zaragoza will lead by example, acting as a showcase for sustainable development. The 62 acres of the Expo grounds that extend along the banks of the Ebro river will function as an immense experimental exhibition for new technologies, including bioclimatic architecture and hydrogen powered vehicles, with all promotional materials manufactured from recycled materials. In addition, the entire Expo and all of its facilities will be powered using renewable energy sources. ❖ Acting as a bridge between Expo Aichi 2005 “Nature's Wisdom” and Expo Shanghai 2010 “A Better City, A Better Life”, Zaragoza 2008 will be a place where we can work together on all of the issues surrounding water management. ❖ Spain has taken on the challenge of using an international exposition as
an instrument in dealing with what it believes to be one of the most important challenges of the 21st Century: raising awareness about the need for a new way of managing water use and sustainable development, both critical concepts as we respond to climate change. ❖ Water, in addition to being a vital resource, is probably the most sensitive indicator of the real impact of climate change. The concept of sustainable development identifies the various solutions to the problems posed by climate change that will allow us to reconcile human development with environmental conservation. ❖ At the Zaragoza 2008 Exposition, Spain will deal with this fundamental issue using a three-pillared approach. ❖ The first pillar is the Environment. The Expo will inform citizens, in a calm and appealing atmosphere, of the current situation regarding global warming and what this holds for the future. The environmental pillar of Expo Zaragoza will try to avoid what we have found to be two fruitless approaches to this problem. The first is a denial of the problem's existence by affirming that we are facing a cyclical phenomenon and that nature will simply correct on its own. We know that the earth will not be in any position to resolve the problems caused by global warming if we simply deny its existence. The second incorrect approach is to fall into the trap of taking a biased and emotional view of the problem, attributing it solely to the market economy and globalization. Though we are aware that these elements are part of the problem, we recognize that they are also an essential part of the solution. For these reasons, Expo Zaragoza proposes a measured consideration of the reality of global warming, allowing the scientific com-
Editorial Board. President: Deputy Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Miradas al exterior is an open forum and welcomes your suggestions and comments: email@example.com
First deputy chair: Director General for Foreign Communication. Second deputy chair: Technical Secretary General. Members: Cabinet Chiefs of the State Department of Foreign Affairs, the State Department for Cooperation, State Department for the European Union, State Department for Latin America, and the Cabinet of the Secretary General of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI).
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SUMMARY munity's highest authorities on the matter to take center stage. ❖ The Expo's second pillar will aim to deal with the issue from the vantage point of international cooperation, divided into three categories. ❖ The first category is developmental cooperation. The UN's Millennium Development Goals refer to water, and name it as a specific priority for developmental cooperation. However, we now know that in practice this priority is not always respected. The Exposition aims to highlight the urgent need for the world, and in particular its most developed countries, to cooperate with certain regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa in order to ensure that rather than bringing disease and death, water can also be a source of life in those regions and can be used to eradicate poverty. ❖ A second aspect of international cooperation is the creation and expansion of global rapid alert networks in order to prevent and, if possible, alleviate the effects of extreme natural disasters, such as fires, floods and hurricanes, which are caused by climate change and endanger the lives and prosperity of entire regions. The fact that the Indian Ocean Tsunami was detected in Hawaii but the information never reached the affected areas is an unacceptable example of what could be referred to as globalization's 'blind spots'. Global challenges must be met with global solutions. The Exposition wishes to encourage the development of communication networks between governments, as well as those that involve civil society. One example of this is the capability of personal computers being placed at the service of global networks as part of established humanitarian projects. ❖ A third aspect of international coop-
eration is the exchange of experiences and dissemination of best practices that the Expo wishes to provide as an institutional framework for the management of water and shared river basins. Throughout the world there are examples of successes and failures in this field. While there is no single model that will work for everyone, we can all learn something from these examples. ❖ The third pillar of this Expo is the technological and economic dimension of Water and Sustainable Development. Our hope is that Expo Zaragoza will serve to dispel the myth that solutions to climate change will have a negative impact on the economies of individual countries or their citizens. On the contrary, we know that economic activity linked to sustainable development has already shown great potential for economic growth and job creation. We hope that, in terms of this pillar of the Expo, Zaragoza can act as a showcase of the best known practices, both regarding infrastructures for the treatment, reuse and sanitization of water, and with respect to the sources of clean energy that are often associated with those areas we have just mentioned and with regards to the interaction between water and habitat, industry, agriculture, urban development, health and leisure. ❖ Each of these elements will be featured in the Expo's pavilions, as is traditional at such events that bring together a large number of countries and international organizations. In addition, Expo Zaragoza seeks to offer a pragmatic approach to the great challenge facing the 21st Century and as such it will feature a Water Tribune Pavilion, a forum for technical and scientific debate led by the world authorities on water issues. It is a platform that, first and foremost, will ask for the involvement and commitment of every citizen.
EDITORIAL OFFICE. Management: Manuel Cacho. Editor-in-Chief: José Bodas. Art Director and Editor: Javier Hernández.
Contributors to this issue: David Merino, Luis Sánchez, Jacobo García, Ignacio Gómez, Julia Robles, Javier Fernández, A. Issacovitch, Cristina Arenas and Ricardo Losa. Management: General Directorate of Foreign Communication. Serrano Galvache, 26. 28033 MADRID.
Nº 5. 1st Quarter 2008. NIPO: 501-08-029-7. Legal depository: AS-3417-07. Marketing, Printing and Distribution: www.4ccomunicacion.com
4 > foreign action Zaragoza 2008, Water and Sustainable Development. 10 > Essential aspects of consular work 14 > Madrid hosts the 1st Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations. 18 > Foreign Action in Brief. 24 > SPAIN ABROAD DRC, the heart of Africa. 28 > Inditex, a growing
multinational 32 > DISCOVER SPAIN I+D+i, recent advances. 36 > Almadén, before and after mercury. 38 > Rock in Rio, the world's largest musical event arrives to Spain. 40 > culture and society News. 48 Cooperation > Spanish Cooperation closes Latin America's largest
garbage dump. News. 52 > MISCELLANYPublications. 56 > THE INTERVIEW Víctor García de la Concha: “We have our ears open to listen to what is being said and our eyes open to see what is being written"
A publication of the Dir. General of Foreign Communication for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC). Total or partial reproduction prohibited without the express consent of the editor. Miradas al Exterior is not responsible for editorial content or opinions expressed by the authors.
foreign affairs We are just a few weeks away from seeing Spain make an important new international commitment. Between June 14 and September 14 of 2008, Zaragoza will host this year's International Exposition with the theme 'Water and Sustainable Development', making it the first to adopt the new model proposed by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). Spain has a solid track record in this area and international, national, regional, and local reasons to offer its full support to Expo Zaragoza 2008, which will provide an opportunity to highlight the country's level of development and stability, Spain's status as a top tourist destination, and the experience we have in organizing large international events, such as the Olympic Games in Barcelona '92, and the Universal Exposition held in Seville the same year.
WATER AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TEXT: miradas al exterior. PHOTOS: expozaragoza 2008
● Within 185 miles from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao, the site of this year's International Exposition is the so-called Ranillas meander to the west of the city of Zaragoza, surrounded by the Ebro river channel. The grounds have been divided into two areas: the Exposition itself and the Water Park. The Expo is situated between the southern part of Ronda del Rabal and the left bank of the Ebro, covering a surface area totaling 62 acres. The 'Water Park' is a new creation covering almost 300 acres and is situated north of the Ronda del Rabal along the banks of the Ebro. It will be a green space with numerous play and eating areas, a thermal center, a police station, a building housing the UN Secretariat for the Decade of Water 2005-2015, as well as an events pavilion, several river beaches, areas of natural vegetation, hotels, an equestrian center and a boat dock...
This Exposition's theme is 'Water and Sustainable Development'. This theme will be divided into three sub-themes in order to facilitate understanding and provide a focus for the countries taking part. These sub-themes are: 'Water, a unique resource', 'Water for Life', and 'Waterscapes'. There is also a fourth, unifying theme, 'Water, the Element that Joins Peoples', which is particularly important because an International Exposition is the perfect event at which to discuss those issues that affect the entire planet. These four themes will be developed by thematic exhibitions in three of the Expo Zaragoza 2008 pavilions. Each exhibition will also act as an intellectual stimulus for debate, the sharing of innovative experiences, and commitment to the future. Thus, the so-called 'Water Tribune Pavilion' has been conceived as a center of knowledge, debate and shared experience to help re-orient and improve the current models and systems for water and sustainable development in
preparation for the 21st Century. The “Water Tribune” will allow Expo Zaragoza 2008 to ensure that this international event will maintain a lively and relevant spirit in harmony with the 'Zaragoza Charter', a document stating the commitment of its participants. Last but not least is the ‘Ágora’, a space in the Water Tribune in which all citizens can actively participate. Here, both visitors to the International Exposition and virtual participants visiting us through the Internet will have the opportunity to contribute to the open Tribune project over the course of the Expo.
● Zaragoza 2008 and its commitment to the environment. The Expo's fundamental concern is that its environmental impact be as close to zero as possible. This principal will ensure that the impact of development in certain areas of Zaragoza and the Exposition itself will be as low as possible by following the sustainability recommendations that characterize the
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expo zaragoza 2008
Above, a recent aerial image of the Ranillas meander next to the Ebro river, where the Expo 2008 grounds are situated. The scale of development will radically transform the city. The 'Water Tower' is the tallest building. Several months before the opening, the works being carried out to beautify the Aragonese capital are progressing at a quickened pace.
commitment undertaken by Expo 2008. The message that will be conveyed to both citizens and participants will raise awareness and contribute to an improvement in the habitats and environmental conditions in their home towns and countries. All promotional material, as well as that used by the Expo's various departments, will meet sustainability criteria. Biodegradable dishes, pens made from seaweed and pencils made from recycled CDs will all help to reduce the environmental impact of the event as a result of the way in which they are produced and can be disposed of. Almost everything can be thrown away along with food waste and will produce organic material. The bags that are already being used in the Expo's gift shops are made from potato starch and are also biodegradable. What's more, these are produced by a company just a few miles from the Expo grounds, thus reducing the environmental impact caused by transportation.
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The energy needs of Expo Zaragoza 2008, which will take place during a period of very warm temperatures, will be met by the installation of systems that will generate electricity from renewable sources, namely solar and wind power, and by a heating/cooling and electrical generation system that will make it possible to save both energy and financial resources. Expo 2008 is also seeking to help all of society to make a commitment to the environment. The Program for Sustainable Development is directed at the citizens and those in the business, retail and hospitality industries in Zaragoza and other cities in Aragon who wish to change some of their habits in order to have a more sustainable urban environment and bring about a change in environmental awareness.
â—? Cultural Events Programs. There will be three large scale performances at Expo Zara-
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goza 2008, inspired by the exposition's basic themes. The first is ‘Iceberg: Visual and Poetic Symphony’, designed by the Focus company; this will provide the artistic side of the opening ceremony. Then, from the second day onwards this will become the 'Night Spectacle' on the banks of the Ebro. The second is a cavalcade entitled ‘The Awakening of the Serpent' that has been designed by the Cirque de Soleil and which will wind it's way through the Expo each day. The third show produced by Expo Zaragoza 2008 is the ‘Hombre Vertiente’, created and directed by Pichón Baldinu. The shows that have been planned for the Expo focus on diversity and modernity, and have been chosen and produced for their stylistic coherence, their relevance to the theme of 'Water and Sustainable Development' and their commitment to the Exposition's global philosophy. Our objective is to satisfy the highly diverse and culturally varied range of visitors who will be attending the event. Expo Zaragoza will not be just a huge party, but a major cultural "happening", and so its slate of events includes some 3,400 performances by more than 350 artistic groups.
● International and Thematic Pavilions. The pavilions of the official participants will be spread throughout eight
large two-story buildings connected by a covered garden. The country pavilions will be in a space based upon the planet's principal biospheres: from islands and coasts, oases, temperate forests, mountains and the Mediterranean to prairies, steppes and savannahs. In addition, the three pavilions at the center of the participants' area will house the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. One of the landmarks of Zaragoza 2008, the Bridge Pavilion, has been built over the river Ebro; a concept developed by Zaha Hadid Architects and the Ove Arup Engineering. This great architectural work, designed by the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, will function as one of the Expo's main entrances. It is subtly curved, and will connect the boulevard where the Conference Center is with the Estación Intermodal multiple-use transport station, passing over a small island. With a surface area of about 75,000 square feet, this 850foot-long bridge takes the form of a gladiolus that opens and closes. This will be the only inhabited bridge in Spain and one of very few in the world whose main technical feature is the way in which its structure is supported; its central piles reach a depth of 237 feet. The focus of the 'Bridge Pavilion' will be best practices in water management as developed at
FLUVI, THE MASCOT FLUVI is the official mascot of Expo Zaragoza 2008. Designed by the Catalan Sergi López, its main objective is to communicate concepts associated with sustainability and environmental best practices. It is a water creature with a semi-translucent and gelatinous body. It has the ability to nourish everything it touches, making every landscape a friendlier place.
the three spaces of the Exposition. The 250-foot-high 'Tower of Water' will be another of the Expo's landmarks. Its height will make it the Exposition's most recognizable vertical feature. This building, created by the architect Enrique de Teresa, stands out thanks to its immense glazed structure and the fact that it is shaped like a droplet of water. The main body of the tower is raised on two large internal columns which allow for an open interior space. Its structure is made up of glass shutters and sunshades. On the top level there will be a large terrace and observation deck. Forming the tower's base is a large plinth 40 feet high, which forms the beginning of an elevated walkway that acts as an access point to the inner part of the Expo grounds. The building's total surface area is almost 69,000 square feet. The 'Water Tower' will house the 'Water for Life' exhibition, an artistic facility based on the use of new audiovisual technologies. Special mention should also be made of the river aquarium, which will be Europe's largest fresh water aquarium. It will feature some 5,000 specimens with 300 species of fauna from different rivers throughout the world, spread among 60 individual aquariums and terrariums. It will be the only aquarium in Spain with such a diverse array of aquatic species, including reptiles, mammals and amphibians. The building will allow the visitor to take a journey along five of our planet's great rivers: the Nile, the Amazon, the Mekong, the Darling, and the Ebro. It will also recreate a huge central river to demonstrate that all rivers have something in common, establishing a link between the formation of the five continents and fresh water. One of the Expo's Pavilions will be dedicated to Spain's Autonomous Communities. This will be one of the largest exhibit areas and inside it, individual pavilions will be divided into groups of four. The Autonomous Community of Aragón will have its own pavilion. With its theme of 'Aragon: varying landscapes', this pavilion will reflect upon the traces that water has left upon five different civilizations throughout Aragonese history of the last two thousand years. The structure was
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expo zaragoza 2008
Vicente González Loscertales
General Secretary of the Bureau for International Expositions (BIE)
Expos in Spain: Uniting Cooperation and Public Diplomacy ❖ Since the first International Exposition in Barcelona held in 1888, Spain has always been a pioneer in the presentation of Expos. As a signatory to the 1928 International Convention founded the BIE, an organization that currently represents 140 countries and holds a mandate to regulate and promote International Expositions, Spain has always had an influential role, demonstrating its special ability to master the complexity of expositions and thus reap their national and international benefits. ❖ With Seville’92, Spain injected new energy into the world of expositions with an event that held great international importance, as 22 years had passed since the previous world exposition. Osaka 1970 hailed the East's opening to the West and brought about a change in perspective. New concepts such as space travel and the humanization of technology replaced colonialism and industrial processes. Spain, therefore, had to launch an equally exciting project that would have a significant impact upon the future. ❖ Seville’92 coincided with a number of important geopolitical transformations, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Soviet Union, the first Iraq war and the crisis in Yugoslavia; Expo '92 itself was a political microcosm that reflected these changes. As the nations changed, so did the national pavilions, all of which took on new identities during the Expo. It was a unique way to witness the emergence of a new world order; an experi-
ence that had a tangible impact upon visitors, participants and organizers alike. Seville ’92 transformed the city, bringing it a new international prestige and giving new drive to its economy. The Expo also introduced, among other things, the first high-speed train. More than 42 million visitors, extensive international media coverage and a cultural program that produced more than 30,000 performances all helped to make the event an unprecedented success.
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completed in record time thanks to the use of innovative design, architecture, and building materials; the grounds' multi-leveled layout will be able to accommodate the six million visitors expected and its theme has persuaded more than 100 countries to participate, all of whom are committed to joining forces in order to confront one of the greatest challenges of our time: the global water crisis. ❖ By combining aesthetics and functionality, tradition and innovation, recreation and social commitment, utopia and reality, and culture and technology, the Expos have managed to create a truly unique way for countries to express and communicate their national identities. With their commitment to both multilateral and bilateral relations, the Expos have taken on an international relevance and legitimacy that has made them key to improving international relations.
❖ This summer Spain will be a pioneer once again. In order to adapt Expos to the modern world and ensure their role as tools for cooperation, the BIE has introduced a new concept for the Expo, in which its theme takes center stage. And as a result, Zaragoza 2008 is this new kind of Expo. Its grounds have been reduced in size (62 acres), it will have a shorter duration (3 months), less preparation time and a specific theme: Water and Sustainable Development.
❖ Today, the Expos are a product of partnership between public diplomacy and international cooperation. On the one hand, they are platforms used to educate the public and promote national identity; in other words, exercises in multilateral public diplomacy. On the other, they provide us with opportunities to speed up urban and economic change, encourage the participation of the international community and raise the host country's profile on the international stage; in short, Expos are key to cooperation.
❖ Zaragoza 2008 has the same aims as World Expositions: to attract a large number of visitors, to be internationally relevant, and to have a lasting impact upon the city and the region. It is precisely in this attempt to balance lofty ambition with logistical restrictions that Zaragoza is showing its dynamism and capability for innovation. Since being chosen in 2005 to host Expo 2008, Spain and Zaragoza have launched themselves into a battle against time and expectations. Its buildings projects have been
❖ For a great many international players who have successfully and productively brought together a city, be it large or small, in order to build a new vision for the world, Expos are a new platform that allow many different voices to be heard on equal terms. What is truly exceptional about the Expos is that, by uniting public diplomacy and cooperation, they provide a framework that is free of confrontation and whose long- and short-term socioeconomic, cultural, political and environmental advantages are unequalled.
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created by the Aragonese architects Olano and Mendo. Inspired by the region's traditional basket-weaving shapes, the Pavilion will later become the headquarters for the Educational Council of the Government of Aragon once the Expo is over. Situated on the top of this immense basket there will be a large terrace with unequalled views of the Expo grounds, the city and the river Ebro.
● Conference Center. Located next to the Bridge and International Pavilions, the Conference Center will be the public reception space for the 2008 International Exposition. The building, a creation by architects Nieto and Sobejana, presents a fragmented profile that ascends and descends in dialogue with the varying spaces housed within it, manifesting the expressive use of natural light and the interaction between the building and its site. The Center will have two main areas,
which will host exhibition halls and an auditorium with a capacity of 1,500. The exposition space will allow for a number of exhibitions to be displayed simultaneously.
● El Faro and the Plazas. The various non-governmental organizations and other civil society entities taking part will be hosted in the pavilion named ‘El Faro’, or the Lighthouse. Designed by the architect Ricardo Higueras, it will take the shape and have the climatic function of a ceramic "botijo", or traditional drinking jug, and will deal with the issue of sustainable architecture in the 21st Century. Six independent "Plazas", or squares, will further communicate the message of our vital relationship with water. The Plaza called (Sed) 'Thirst’ will take a new look at thirst, proposing it as driving force for progress and a catalyst for the development of new, innovative techniques,
culture and knowledge. The Plaza bearing the theme 'Cities of Water' will consider how water interacts with urban spaces. The 'Extreme Water' Plaza will take a deeper look at ecological catastrophes and their prevention, as well as the role played by humans beings as both the cause and the victims of such events. The general concept behind the ‘Oikos’ Plaza arises from a consideration of how to achieve ecologically friendly and cheap energy for all, thus allowing us to maintain acceptable levels of well-being. The objective of the 'Shared Water’ plaza will be to pose questions to the visitor about how to manage hydrographic basins. Finally, there is the plaza ‘Aquatic Inspirations' which will be slightly different from the others as it will host one of Expo Zaragoza 2008's great cultural events, 'Hombre Vertiente', which focuses on human beings and their relationship to water.
Virtual images of the Spain Pavilion designed by the architect Patxi Mangado.
THE SPANISH PAVILION will be a magnificent showcase for Spain's scientific and technical expertise,
as reflected in its theme 'Science and Creativity'. Architect Patxi Mangado designed the pavilion in collaboration with the following scientific consultants who developed its content: the director of the Center for Astrobiology, Juan Pérez Mercader; the president of the Spanish Committee for the International Polar Year, Margarita Yela; and the director of the Area for Science and the Environment for Fundación la Caixa, Jorge Wagensberg. The building has a surface area of over 26,000 square feet spread over three levels, and will cost 30 million Euros. Mangado worked with the National Center for Renewable Energies to create the pavilion, which will recreate a forest using pillars of fired clay surrounding the glass structures upon which the exhibitions will be displayed. This design concept adheres to all energy-saving guidelines, as it is being built using environmentally-friendly materials and boasts a large cover that will provide the building with shade. Inside, the pavilion is structured into five exhibition spaces. Here Spain will be hosting the world premiere of the Climate Change exhibition, which offers a learner-friendly yet rigorous analysis of geological, biological and human realities. The pavilion will also have a restaurant run by Enrique Martínez featuring the best of Spanish cuisine, a shop organized by the State Coordinator for Fair Trade, VIP rooms, a meeting and press area, spaces for workshops, and a cyber-corner. An extensive cultural program will present music, architecture, debates, conferences, gastronomy, and learning workshops, as well as internationally famous guests.
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expo zaragoza 2008
President of the State Society for International Expositions (SEEI)
The Spanish Pavilion: A new showcase to the world ❖ World and international expositions already share a long history. Since the first World Exposition held in London in 1851, the Expo movement has shifted its focus from a purely European-North American phenomenon to an international scale, with an active Asian presence and Latin American and Islamic countries showing a growing interest in hosting such events. This can be explained by the fact that, for all cities hosting major expositions, there has been a before and after that has dramatically changed their urban structure and the image they project both to the rest of the country and to the outside world. We saw this with Seville in 1992, and the same thing will happen to Zaragoza this year. There is also the added factor that in a world wracked with conflict, the Expo movement takes on a greater importance as its universal nature makes it the only event other than the Olympic Games to fully and immediately capture the imaginations of large numbers of people and the nations from which they com. ❖ Since the beginning of the Expo movement, Spain has always played a significant role, taking part in almost every one with its own pavilion and hosting the international expositions of 1888 and 1929 in Barcelona and, even more importantly, the Universal exposition in Seville, Expo '92; a milestone in quality and a reference point for all Expos that followed. Today we are facing the challenge of organizing an international exposition: Expo Zaragoza 2008. Between June 14 and
September 14, the city of Zaragoza will host the first international exposition based on the new model recognized by the Bureau for International Expositions (BIE), with the theme of Water and Sustainable Development. On the 62-acre grounds next to the Ebro river on the Ranillas meander, Zaragoza will host what will be the largest forum for debate and a multi-national meeting of the minds to discuss water issues. And within the Expo Zaragoza, the Spanish Pavilion will once again shine: a structure designed, built, and managed by the State Society for International Expositions (SEEI), which since its creation seven years ago, has managed the representation of our country at two world expositions and several specialized events. ❖ It is difficult to convey the activity and enthusiasm that the creation of a pavilion for Spain arouses: from its architecture to its content, different for every country and as changeable as our cultural and economic reality; the programs of events that try to present the best of our culture and art; the hundreds of institutional acts that take place within it and in which the highest international and national political representatives take part; and the autonomous communities who have always been highlighted within Spain's pavilions. At Zaragoza 2008, the goal of the Spanish Pavilion is to do its utmost to portray a Spain that is up to date, open to the world, committed to the environment and sustainable development. and capable of combin-
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ing 'science and creativity', which is indeed the theme we have chosen for our pavilion. This goal is reflected in the superb advisors that have helped with its creation and content. It is the pavilion of the host nation and, as such, a very special showcase in which to reflect the scientific and technical heights achieved by Spain, which in turn help to turn it into a pavilion of ideas and values. The first step was taken by the architect from Navarra Patxi Mangado, who was able to conceive a building that would stand the test of time, inspired by the forest with its ceramic columns and its water mirrors which recreate a natural ecosystem through the use of materials that are traditional and, most importantly, fully reusable. However, a Spanish Pavilion is much more than just architecture. Its content also reflects both ideas and values, with water as the center of attention. These exhibits have been created with the help of the finest field experts and are managed by the enterprises best qualified for the job. They range from the IMAX film, A History of Water, which uses groundbreaking technology showcased here for the first time, to the spaces dedicated to Water on Earth and in Spain, and a reflection upon Climate Change using the first exhibit to be entirely dedicated to this theme that has ever been seen in our country. ❖ Given the audience I am addressing, I would like to make one last comment on the meaning of diplomacy in the world today and the new forms this is taking, including that of "public diplomacy" which, through active participation in international meetings and forums, can do a great deal to improve a country's image as well as its political and economic standing. With this in mind, Expo Zaragoza and the Spanish Pavilion constitute a new window onto the world that will have a very positive impact on the perceptions our country held by both everyday citizens and by the international political elite.
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The international presence of Spaniards abroad is increasingly important. The Directorate General of Consular Affairs and Assistance manages, among other things, international adoptions and the situations of those in custody in foreign countries, as well as assisting Spaniards affected by natural disasters and social and political crises, ensuring their safety and access to aid. Consulates make changes and additions to the Civil Registry and act as public notaries.
Spanish citizens during their evacuation from Lebanon in July 2006, one of the actions coordinated by the Directorate General of Consular Affairs and Assistance. EFE
Essential aspects of
consular work TEXT: miradas al exterior. PHOTOS: efe
â—? The broad range of functions entrusted to the Directorate General of Consular Matters and Assistance, which depends directly on the Sub-secretariat of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, cover a wide range of situations. We focus our attention upon the work carried out by Consulates on behalf of Spanish prisoners abroad, their management of international adoptions
and the role played by the MAEC every time Spanish citizens are affected by an emergency anywhere in the world.
â—? Prisoners abroad. The protection of Spaniards who are abroad, be they permanent or temporary residents, is one of the most important functions carried out by the Directorate General. This function takes on a singular importance when our compatriots find themselves in difficult situations in
countries that sometimes have legal systems different from our own. A typical prolonged and difficult situation is suffered by those who find themselves in prison, especially in developing countries where the conditions governing nutrition, security, hygiene or health tend to be far from what we would consider to be acceptable in Spain or other states of the European Union. Unfortunately, Spain has a growing number of its citizens in foreign pris-
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ons (1,791 as of January 31, 2008); a very high percentage of whom (77%) have been detained for crimes related to the trafficking of illegal substances. The countries with the most Spanish prisoners are France with 183, Morocco with 165, and Peru with 149. However, Spanish citizens are currently serving sentences in up to 56 countries. Over the years, the Directorate General of Consular Affairs and Assistance has implemented one of the most generous systems in the world for aiding detainees, both in terms of the frequency of visits to prisons and the volume of economic aid given to the prisoners. In 2007, the Directorate General earmarked just over one million Euros in aid for our compatriots imprisoned abroad. As soon as a Consulate becomes aware that a Spanish citizen has been detained, a member of the consular staff
The Spanish system for aiding detainees is one of the most generous in the world, both in terms of the frequency of visits and the volume of economic aid visits the citizen in custody and informs them of their rights, the sentence that could be imposed for the crime of which they have accused, and whether or not the country will provide them with legal counsel. In cases where the detainee wants access to a private defense, they are given a list of certified and well-respected lawyers as well a timetable of consular visits and information on how to contact the Consulate. They are also informed of the aid, economic or otherwise, that the Consulate can offer them and will also be told whether or not the country in which they are being held has signed a bilateral agreement with Spain for the transfer of convicted persons facing custodial sentences, or if the country has signed the Strasbourg Convention, which would allow them to be transferred to Spain once sentence has been passed, if they
should so desire. The Consulate and the Sub-directorate General for the Protection of Spaniards Abroad also keep the detainee's family informed of the situation. The Prisoner Service, run by the Subdirectorate General, maintains a database that allows them to follow each case, utilizing information gathered by our Consular Offices together with that provided by the detainee's family and organizations that are in contact with the detainee. The information on the number of Spaniards detained in each country, conditions in the penitentiaries and the legal status of the Spanish detainees is an essential part of the information provided by the Directorate General to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation each time they meet with their counterparts from other countries in order to speed up procedures or transfers, improve conditions and request pardons, commutations or reductions in sentencing. In short, they do their best to alleviate the suffering provoked by incarceration in countries with a language, culture, traditions and conditions different from our own.
● International Adoptions Approximately 90% of the adoptions carried out in Spain are international, with up to 4,450 foreign minors being adopted by Spanish families during 2006. Though Spain joined this trend somewhat later than its neighbors, the number of requests made to the Spanish authorities has grown dramatically over the last few years. In global terms, Spain is the European country with the highest number of international adoptions, and the second in the world after the United States. If we take into consideration the relative size of the Spanish population compared to that of the United States, Spain moves to first place. In the 1990s, the majority of foreign minors adopted by Spanish families came from Ibero-American countries. This tendency has gradually changed, with the greatest number of adopted children, almost half, now coming from China, closely followed by the Russian Federation. Ethiopia, Colombia and the
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MANAGEMENT OF CRISIS SITUATIONS In the late 1980s, the Spanish Government set up the National System for the Management of Crisis Situations, which comes under the direction of the Secretariat General of the Presidency of the Government. One of its functions is the detection, forecasting and monitoring of national and international crisis situations that could affect the security, life or well-being of Spanish citizens. Communication with the MAEC's Consular Emergency Unit (UEC) is fundamental to ensuring that information concerning a potentially dangerous situation abroad is reliable and exhaustive. This is also true in the case of possible risks and threats against Spanish interests or citizens. ■ Department of Infrastructure and Monitoring of Crisis Situations Presidency of the Government
AID FOR SPANISH PRISONERS ABROAD The "Españoles en el Mundo" (Spaniards in the World) Foundation has been providing free support to Spanish citizens being held prisoner abroad for ten years. It is currently managing around 450 cases. The support they provide consists predominantly of providing information on the penal and penitentiary systems in certain countries and helping the Spanish detainees through the various stages. The Foundation works with both institutions and NGOs. It also carries out prevention and awareness campaigns in collaboration with the National Plan against Drugs and various PR agencies. These highlight the grave consequences of trafficking or consuming drugs in certain countries. ■ María Dolores Osorio. Ramón Rubial-Spaniards in the World Foundation.
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Ukraine are also among the countries most favored by Spaniards hoping to adopt. The importance of international adoption and the need to guarantee the highest possible legal security throughout the adoption process and safeguard the best interests of the child all justify the involvement of public administrative bodies. It is in this area that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has concentrated its efforts. The Ministry's role with respect to international adoptions has increased considerably over the last few years. This role has developed along two lines. The first relates to public administration and ensures that the Ministry works closely with other Spanish administrative bodies such as the Autonomous Communities and the Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs, and Justice. The second line of action consists of the Spanish Consulates being given the added task of identifying adoption procedures prior to the adoption being written into the Civil Registry, as well as sending the visa and adoption papers to the adopted child. Through the Directorate General of Consular Affairs and Assistance, the MAEC forms part of the Advisory Council for International Adoption. This body was created in November of 2005 with the dual objective of promoting involvement and collaboration between public administrative bodies that deal with international adoption and the other affected areas, and to constantly assess the state of international adoption in Spain. It is important to highlight the support and advice regarding local legislation that is provided by the Consulates to families hoping to adopt. This does not, however, mean that they get involved in the application process. This is dealt with by the relevant authorities within the Autonomous Communities and, if necessary, the bodies who work specifically in the field of international adoption (ECAIs). The Embassies and Consulates are the main source of official infor-
mation on international adoption. Not only do they provide information about adoption legislation currently in force in each country, but given their local knowledge, they are able to make highly valuable contributions to the proceedings. Spain is a signatory to the 1993 Hague Convention on the protection of children and cooperation with regard to international adoptions. Our country has also ratified a number of cooperation treaties concerning international adoption with various countries. The recently passed Law on International Adoption shows how significant progress is being made in regulating these processes and provides an additional guarantee for the protection of the child's best interests.
Spain is the European country with the highest number of international adoptions and the second in the world behind the United States.
â—? Consular Emergency. The Consular Emergency Unit was created in the mid1990s in order to deal with the growing number of emergencies due to the everincreasing number of Spaniards moving and traveling abroad. This growing priority has been reflected both in the staff and the materials at their disposal. The Consular Emergency Unit is responsible for both preventative measures and crisis management, and works in close collaboration with the Consular Sections of the Embassies and Consulates of Spain in foreign countries. A particularly important part of its preventative work is the constant revision and provision of recommendations for Spanish citizens considering foreign travel. In fact, the "Travel Recommendations" section of the Ministry's website is one of its most frequently visited and has come to be considered a crucial reference point. As regards crisis management, the Unit deals with all kinds of emergencies including those that attract a great deal of media coverage such as the 2004 Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina or the attack in Yemen in July 2007. The Unit also intervenes in the event of accidents or when Spanish citizens disappear or are kidnapped. In order to respond effectively to the challenges facing them there has been great investment in new technologies, allowing the Unit to embark upon an ambitious modernization process. Since late 2006, the Unit has maintained a Crisis Centre with the capacity to deal with calls from those affected by serious emergencies. In addition, a computer program permits the keeping of a database of all the details of those asking for aid or who could possibly be affected, thus facilitating the subsequent processing of this information. Additionally, an electronic register of travelers is also going to be created, allowing everyone planning foreign travel to use the website to voluntarily provide the Ministry with their travel details, contact details of family members and names of the people to contact in case of an emergency.
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Miguel Ángel de Frutos director general of consular affairs and assistance
The role of Consulates: a key element of foreign affairs ❖ One of the things that is most striking about the work carried out by the Consulates is the evolution it has undergone in recent times. This is particularly true in Spain where, without abandoning their traditional tasks, Consulates have seen changes made to their range of duties and have moved into territor y that up until now was of ver y little relevance to the work they carried out. ❖ The reason can be found in the spectacular transformation undergone by Spain. In a shor t space of time, we have gone from being a countr y of migrants to one that now finds itself under great pressure from immigration. In just 10 years, Spain's foreign population has risen from 2% to 10%; a rate our EU neighbors experienced over the course of fifty years. ❖ As a result, a great number of Spanish Consulates abroad have had to deal with a sharp rise in their workloads almost overnight, caused by the great number of people migrating to Spain. The responsibility our Consulates have is immense, especially if we consider how, as the body that issues visas, they are at the front line in choosing among the foreigners who wish to gain access to Spain. It is worth remembering that the visa is a fundamental tool in the fight against illegal immigration through the application of Schengen laws and the planning and regulation
of the flow of migrants into our job market, in line with our own legislation on the matter. ❖ But while the repercussions for the Consulates have been immense, the impact all this has had upon all areas pertaining to the assistance and protection of Spaniards abroad has been no less dramatic. The international presence of Spaniards abroad is increasingly important. Each year there are more than 14 million instances of Spanish nationals traveling abroad, for reasons ranging from business to tourism. Spanish companies are also now established throughout the world and we must also not forget the development work carried out by Spaniards in areas of conflict. ❖ All of this means that our Consulates must always be ready to alert people of any danger or risk that could affect their security while they are abroad, and provide them with the necessar y help when needed. it is also important to highlight that consular emergencies are not only caused by natural catastrophes, but by social and political crises that may sometimes require Spaniards to be evacuated, in some cases on a massive scale. This is work the Consulates must carr y out under exceptionally difficult circumstances. Recent examples are the Tsunami, the evacuation from Lebanon and the terrorist attacks in London, Egypt and Yemen.
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❖ Similarly, consular duties are facing new challenges such as the significant issue of international adoption and parental abduction. Spain currently has the world's second highest number of international adoptions after the United States. On the other hand, elevated immigration and ease of communications make it more possible for mixed marriages to take place, which are more susceptible to parental abduction --a problem that is, by its ver y nature, ver y dif ficult to resolve. In each of these aspects, diplomatic-consular inter vention within its own areas of exper tise is indispensable in a time of need. ❖ We must not forget that Spain still has more than one and a half million of its citizens living abroad; a great number of these people are older and need a great deal of the Consulate's attention. The size of this group will increase once the reform allowing Spanish nationality to be given to the grandchildren of many Spanish citizens living abroad comes into force at the end of this year. This will give a new impulse to traditional consular tasks such as the Civil Registr y and the attestation of documents. Added to this number are over 1700 Spanish citizens being held in foreign prisons, to whom the Directorate General of Consular Af fairs and Assistance and our Consular Of fices give special attention. ❖ In conclusion, the work carried out by Consulates, rather than diminishing, is reaching level of activity that makes it one of the most crucial activities of the State outside Spanish borders. Because of its proximity to the citizenr y and the way in which it has been represented by the media, the consulate has become a key factor in evaluating how well the Ministr y of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation is functioning.
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The Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative launched by Spain and Turkey in 2004 under the auspices of the United Nations, took its first steps in Madrid in the shape of a Forum that approved the first proposals of this project to promote dialogue between cultures and religions.
Madrid hosted the First Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations TEXT: alexandra issacovitch. PHOTOS: efe
â—? Around 400 political leaders, representatives from international and regional organizations, as well as civil organizations and foundations, met together in Madrid on January 15 and 16 for the Alliance of Civilizations Forum. The main goal of the meeting was to explore ways
of responding to the risk posed to peace and international security by the growing polarization between nations and cultures throughout the world and to work on new ways to achieve cross-cultural understanding on a global scale. In addition, the Forum was intended to be an event with an eminently practical focus that would provide participants
with an international platform that has been lacking until now, where they could work together to develop joint initiatives. Another objective was to form a space where state agencies, international organizations and representatives of civil society working on and committed to dialogue between regions and cultures could get together to share best practices and set
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Pictured: the Spanish President, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, speaking at the First Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, which took place in the Municipal Parliament Building in Madrid. At the table, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and the High Representative to the Alliance of Civilizations, Jorge Sampaio
up joint action programs. The various high-level debates on current tendencies in relations between different cultures and religions formed one strand of the Forum. Another strand comprised workshop sessions that focused on specific issues and where the setting up of new initiatives was discussed. Among those participating in the workshops, along with the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were five heads of State or government: the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi; the President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, whose country currently holds the presidency of the European Union; the Algerian Prime Minister, Abdelaziz Belkhadem; the President of
Finland, Tarja Halonen, this year's head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade. Alongside these were representatives from more than 60 countries. Also present at the Madrid meeting was the current General Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, who defined the Alliance of Civilizations as “a means of confronting extremism” and made the point “there had never been so great a need for understanding between nations”. In his inaugural address, Rodríguez Zapatero expressed special thanks for the support of the United Nations and its High Commissioner, the former Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio; the HighLevel Group of the UN and the co-sponsor of the Alliance, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Spanish President then emphasized that the Alliance of Civilizations was born from the desire to fight “intolerance, radicalism and fundamentalism”. “Its purpose is to show,” he said, “that there are practical ways in which the Islamic world and the West can work together and thus give the lie to the idea that there is an inevitable clash between cultures and civilizations”. After outlining the history of the initiative, the Spanish President stressed that the first Forum had come into being in only three years. He explained that the idea had developed so rapidly because “it addressed the very real problem of how to manage diversity in a globalized world”. Now that these problems had been identified, the Alliance of Civilizations is bringing a new set of tools to build “understanding between different cultures and ways of seeing the world”, he added. In José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's opinion, “the Alliance will only last if are able to give it real content that is manifested in concrete actions”. As a step towards this, the President unveiled Spain's National Plan for the Alliance of Civilizations, which includes 57 different actions in the four spheres recommended by the United Nations High Level Group. Following Rodríguez Zapatero's address, the Prime Minister of Turkey, which is the joint sponsor of the Alliance of Civilizations, stated that its aim was to “end
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Ban Ki-Moon: “Never before has there been such a need for understanding between nations” suffering and create a world where we can live in peace”. The High Commissioner for the Alliance of Civilizations, Jorge Sampaio, in his closing speech, emphasized that the Forum had ended with “its goals accomplished”, reported the measures agreed on and highlighted the fact that several countries, among them Spain, Turkey and New Zealand, had announced National Plans for promoting intercultural dialogues, as well as similar plans by multilateral organizations. Jorge Sampaio confirmed that he had been in contact with philanthropic foundations such as those headed by the American Bill Gates and Britain's Richard Branson with a view to their working with the Alliance. At the present time the Alliance of Civilizations has signed agreements with international organizations including UNESCO, the Arab League, the Islamic Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ISESCO), the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). In addition, it has signed a letter of intent with the European Council. Two women were the principal movers for multiple major initiatives presented to the Madrid Forum. Firstly, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser-el-Missned of Qatar described the Silatech project (your connection in Arabic). This involves 100 million dollars (67.4 million Euros) of funding for one of the Alliance programs, the Global Initiative for Youth Employment, directed at creating jobs and opportuni-
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero: “The Alliance of Civilizations will only last if we are able to give it real content, and express it in the form of concrete action”
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An audience with Their Majesties the King and Queen for some of the participants in the First Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Madrid. EFE/Ballesteros.
ties for young people in the Middle East and North Africa. She reminded delegates that 1.2 billion young people would be joining the labor market in developing countries over the next ten years, and justified the Alliance of Civilizations' support for this project by recalling that it is these generations of young people without jobs or hope who swell the ranks of the fanatics. Queen Noor of Jordan then put forward a far-reaching project promising another 100 million dollars, with ten million of this up front, for a fund to finance film productions on a not-for-profit basis with major Hollywood production companies. The aim was to counter the stereotyped images of communities and minorities
NATIONAL PLAN FOR THE ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS Some days before the First Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations took place in Madrid, the Council of Ministers gave its approval to the Spanish National Plan for the Alliance of Civilizations, through which the Government will translate the
within the mass media. The project's partners include Hollywood distributors, the Internet portal YouTube, and the producer of the Al Gore documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. A Youth Solidarity Fund was also set up, financed by one million Euros (1.4 million dollars) from Spain. Starting in 2008, scholarships will be provided for study in the field of intercultural exchanges, youth leadership, and active involvement in the media. Another agreed project is the creation of an Alliance Information Center to promote education and literacy through different projects with the participation of 18 universities throughout the world. A Rapid Response Mechanism for the media has
Alliance's concrete aims to a Spanish context, so that our country may set an example that reflects the ethical principles that underlie the Executive's activities. The National Plan covers four spheres of activity: young people, education, the mass media, and migration, and comprises a number of activities. Some of them are aimed at promoting mutual knowledge and apprecia-
also been created, to brief journalists on “hot topics”, as has a network of goodwill ambassadors who will promote the Alliance's work. Spain, which hosted the Madrid Forum and presented the Alliance of Civilizations before the United Nations General Assembly in 2004, proposed the nomination of a National Coordinator who would be responsible for rolling out Spain's National Plan for implementing the policies recommended by the UN Expert Group for the Alliance of Civilizations. The next Alliance of Civilizations Forum will be held next year in Turkey. Brazil, Portugal, and Qatar have expressed interest in hosting the annual Alliance of Civilizations Forum.
tion of diversity, such as, for example, the training plan for Arabic specialists, the setting up of an Annual Intercultural Capital Award and the creation of an Alliance of Civilizations Volunteer Corps. Other measures relate to fostering citizenship and a culture of peace. Among these are setting up a University Institute for education and research in academic areas relevant to the Alli-
ance of Civilizations, and support for the Two Kings University, in collaboration with the Moroccan government, with a campus in Tetuan. Other initiatives to be highlighted include those aimed at improving the integration and training of immigrants, particularly the young. Among these is the inclusion of immigrant youth in the Program for Young Aid Workers.
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Fernando Fernández-Arias director of the office of human rights
25 years of the Office of Human Rights ❖ The Of fice of Human Rights is 25 years old. It was created by Royal Decree 629/1983 of Februar y 16 as a unit within the Sub-Secretariat of the Ministr y of Foreign Af fairs and its functions were clarified by a later Ministerial Order. Since then, this small unit, known to all as the OHR, has been responsible for designing, planning and carr ying out, following ministerial guidelines, foreign policy relating to the safeguarding and promotion of human rights throughout the world. ❖ The work of the OHR, now forming par t of the United Nations Directorate General, Human Rights and Multinational Organizations, is carried out on a number of fronts: par ticipation in international for ums on Human Rights (United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE), preparation of the human rights element of bilateral relations, the super vision and preparation, in conjunction with other sections of the Administration, of the repor ts that Spain is required to present to international agencies, the everincreasing work of selecting and training electoral obser vers, the protection of human rights activists persecuted in their own countries, and, most impor tantly, collaboration with civil organizations whose role it is to deal with citizens concerned with the cause of human rights. ❖ The Of fice has had the good for tune of having had exemplar y and brilliant diplomats at its head over the years: the sadly deceased but
ever-remembered Ignacio Masferrer and Julián Palacios, Ambassadors Almudena Mazarrasa and Mercedes Rico, Ambassador Juan Manuel Cabrera, Juan Zurita and José Antonio de Or y. All of them leave a legacy of excellent work that will be dif ficult to improve on, and above all, they leave a legacy of total dedication and commitment. In recent years the Office's foreign policy work in the area of human rights has been notably strengthened by the par ticipation of Special Ambassador Silvia Escobar, an accomplished advocate within the civil arena for the rights of all. ❖ Obviously, the OHR's responsibilities have increased in line
Spain appearing before the United Nations Human Rights Council follow-up meeting on the Alliance of Civilizations with Spanish foreign policy and the needs of citizens. The framework of international organizations has also changed: before long, the still-recent Human Rights Council, the wor thy successor to the Commission, will have its own new assembly chamber with a vast vaulted ceiling painted by the Majorcan ar tist Miquel Barceló, a gift from Spain to the United Nations. ❖ The Human Rights Council is
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the United Nations' main organ for the promotion of human rights, and it is to the Council that Spain has presented its own initiative to make access to clean water and sanitation recognized as a human right. Also, and with the aim of strengthening the human rights dimension of the Alliance of Civilizations, Spain is urging that the Council should take action on this initiative. The first step will be taken in a speech to be delivered by the High Representative to the Alliance, Jorge Sampaio, at the next session in March. ❖ Two areas where the Of fice's activities have increased almost exponentially are the task of supervising elections and joint activities with civil organizations. Election super vision has become a means of suppor ting the consolidation of democracy in transitional societies: helping the process of free and fair elections is a political priority as well as a moral imperative. Within the OHR we, in collaboration with the Diplomatic School, are setting up two annual courses for training obser vers, and we have recently published a practical guide for obser vers, the first to be published in Spanish. ❖ Finally, there is the impor tance of working with civil organizations. As well as acting as a 'mailbox' for NGOs wishing to contact the Ministr y, the OHR runs a program of aid and subsidy for informing, promoting and defending human rights. The most impor tant par t of our work comes out of dialogue with civil and specialized academic institutions, because it is through this essential communication that citizens' demands can be translated into public policy. ❖ In the OHR we work with the spirit of commitment to all rights, for all people, in all places. This is how it has been for the past 25 years, and how it will continue.
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The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Bernardino León, during the meeting. EFE/Kiko Huesca
Spain is going to build the largest solar power plant in the world in the US
Outcome of the Asian-Pacific Action Plan
● The Spanish company, Abengoa has entered into an agreement to build, what will be the largest solar power plant in the world in the Arizona Desert (USA). To give an idea of the size of the project, it will produce a total of 280 megawatts, which is almost double the power of the Zortia nuclear plant, which was recently shut down. This will create a guaranteed energy supply to 70,000 homes and prevent 400,000 tons of C02 from being released into the atmosphere. Abengoa won the contract offered by Arizona Public Service, a public utility company, and plans are underway to complete the plant by 2011. According to the Abengoa Solar chairman, Santiago Seage, the Arizona plant “will mark a global milestone in solar power”. The Spanish company has won three other public bids on US soil to build solar power plants. This year Spain will commission two solar plants in Seville and build two more in Morocco and Algeria.
● Spain's institutional presence in Asia and the Pacific has increased by 40% over the last 3 years. This is a result of the government's drive to increase Spain's profile, as explained in the final report of the 2005-08 Plan for the region, which was presented on February 14. There are new ambassadors in Afghanistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh, soon to be joined by ambassadors in Cambodia and Sri Lanka. According to the Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Bernardino León, Spain has achieved a political presence in Asia and the Pacific as a result of the constant schedule of top level visits, as well as bilateral and multilateral political dialogue and the strengthening of the consular network. It has also strengthened favorable economic links as a result of forums in China and Japan and Casa Asia's economic platforms in India, Korea the Philippines. The Plan backed the protection of human rights, especially those of women and those given the death penalty. The Spanish government's strategy in the regions has enabled a significant increase in emergency aid for natural disasters and development cooperation. In regard to cultural issues, the plan highlights the creation of five new Cervantes Institutes.
Spain and Germany present a new resolution on the Right to Water ● Spain and Germany will present a new resolution on the Right to Water to the Human Rights Council at its Seventh General Session held in Geneva between
March 3 and March 28. The ultimate goal is the recognition of the right to access to water for drinking and sanitation as a basic human right, creating equal rights for all. Both countries were already focused on the adoption of this right at the Second Session of the Human Rights Council, when they requested a study by the Office of the High Commissioner. This study would cover the scope and content of the relevant human rights requirements stemming from international human rights agreements and would include suggestions and recommendations. This proposal received the backing of 33 co-sponsors. In the Sixth Council Session, the States confirmed their interest on this issue, with a total of 38 co-sponsors. The Office of Human Rights of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has been progressively moving forward in this area as a result of its 'barrierbreaking' strategy.
The wife of a soldier kidnapped by Hezbollah receives Spanish support ● The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, met with Karnit Goldwasser on January 17 of this year. She is the wife of the Israeli soldier Ehud Goldwasser, who was kidnapped along with Eldad Regev on July 12, 2006 during a Hezbollah strike against Israel. Spain and the EU have demanded the immediate release of both soldiers. Miguel Ángel Moratinos reiterated to her that the Spanish authorities will continue to demand the immediate release of the two Israeli soldiers and at the same time provided both families with the full solidarity and support of the Spanish government and its people.
The Casa del Mediterráneo will open in 2008 ● The Casa del Mediterráneo will begin its activities in 2008 with several forums on the Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean Sea) organized at its provisional headquarters in
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Ana Sálomon, Director General of Casa Sefarad-Israel, with the Vice Secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Maria Jesús Figa, during the exhibition's opening ceremony.PHOTO P.Méndez
Visas to Freedom: Spanish Diplomats and the Holocaust ● From January 31 through February 25, Casa Sefarad-Israel hosted the 'Visados para la Libertad' (Visas to Freedom) exhibition for the Madrid public. The show tells the story of the brave and dangerous humanitarian work carried out between 1939 and 1945 by several Spanish diplomats in Nazi-occupied territories. Originally suggested by Isaac Navon (ex-President of Israel) to Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, the initiative
View of the exhibition at the Spanish Subway Station, Nuevos Ministerios PHOTO P.Méndez
was the product of a rigorous investigation backed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Following this investigation, Casa Sefarad-Israel decided to develop a large scale project with the idea of showing the general public the work of the Spanish diplomats and taking the exhibition to different cities in Spain and abroad. In the midst of the barbarity of World War II, the commitment of these Spanish diplomats meant that around 60,000 people's lives were saved, almost all of them Sephardic Jews. This action was the first re-encounter for centuries between Spain and Sephardic communities from various countries in Eastern Europe. The diplomats, driven by ethical and humanitarian motives, became committed to defending the deported Jews. They denounced the persecution suffered by the Jews to the Spanish government and demanded greater flexibility in the application of the rules. The show draws on the experiences of Ángel Sanz-Briz (Budapest), Bernardo Rolland (Paris), Romero Radigales (Athens), Julio Palencia (Sofia), José Rojas (Bucharest), Propper de Callejón (Bordeaux) and Ruiz Santaella (Berlin), along with other people who supported them. Some of these public servants have been declared as "A Just Among the Nations" by Israel, a distinction which honors the work carried out by non-Jewish people in that period. ■ ÁNGEL VAZQUEZ (SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE CASA SEFARAD-ISRAEL)
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Alicante, Benidorm and Javea. This was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in February. The plan states that Alicante, the main headquarters of the Casa del Mediterráneo, will hold an 'International Forum of Experts on the Mediterranean', as well as a 'Research Meeting on Climate Change in the Mediterranean Riviera' in Benidorm and 'The Lawyers Forum' as a supplement to the 'Neighborhood Forum', both held in Javea.������������������������������������� ������������������������������������ Following the institutional cooperation model of other similar entities such as the Casa Asia or Casa Árabe, the Casa del Mediterráneo will be made up of a consortium which includes the National Government, (providing 60% of the budget), the Community of Valencia (20%), the councils at the central headquarters (10%) and the two secondary headquarters (both with 5%).
New Spanish agreement with the UN Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees ● The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, together with Koning AbuZayd, the General Commissioner of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), signed a collaborative framework agreement on January 25 this year. The signing of the agreement was followed by a meeting on the delicate situation in the region.������������������������ ����������������������� The head of Spanish diplomacy recalled that cooperation with the Palestinian territories is a priority for Spain, in accordance with Spain's commitment to the peace process and to achieving a viable Palestinian State. Spain, the world's eighth largest donor of aid, has significantly increased the amount of financial aid it gives to the UNRWA. Its contribution has increased from just over 3 million Euros in 2001 to almost 12 million in 2007.
The Spanish-Russian Council Foundation has been created ● “I am convinced that this new instrument will be useful and effective for
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developing dialogue between Spain and Russia and increasing social and economic relations. This is how the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation defined this Foundation, which aims to continue working to strengthen Spanish-Russian relations, whose trade volume increased by 40% in 2006. The Spanish-Russian Council Foundation
covers three basic areas: cultural issues, the participation of civil society and economic and commercial relations. With this in mind, Miguel Ángel Moratinos declared that “new prospects in the Russian market are being created for Spanish companies, particularly in the sectors of finance, infrastructure, energy, transport and trade".
The Spanish-Russian Forum is an initiative promoted by the Spanish government as an outgrowth of President Putin's state visit to Spain in 2006. In addition to political and economic relations, cultural cooperation has also been strengthened, particularly that involving the work of the Cervantes Institute and the Spanish Ambassador in Moscow.
Queen Sofía visits Cambodia
Miguel Ángel Moratinos during his speech to the Executive Council of the African Union in Ethiopia. EFE/P.Campos.
Spain will send over 30 million Euros to help prevent conflicts in Africa ● On January 29 of this year, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, pledged to send 30 million Euros to help prevent conflicts in Africa. The pledge was made at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. He made this announcement during his speech before the organization's Executive Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers. This marked the first occasion on which a speech has been made to the organization by a minister of foreign affairs. In his speech, he drew attention to the increase in Spain's presence in Africa over the last four years, in which
time six embassies and a dozen trade and cooperation offices have been opened. He also stated that "European countries cannot continue to make the same mistakes they have in the past, nor can they impose policy from the outside". He visited the African Union Headquarters during a tour of Africa which took him through Mali, GuineaBissau, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, with the goal of encouraging Spanish cooperation with these countries. The minister signed several agreements and demonstrated Spain's commitment to development in Africa. According to the UN's report on human development published in 2007, Mali, Guinea Bissau, the DRC and Ethiopia are among the 10 poorest countries in the world and are classed by the Spanish government as being of particular interest in the current Africa Plan (2006-2008).
● Her Majesty the Queen learned firsthand about Spanish cooperation projects being carried out in Cambodia during her visit from February 18 through 25. Of particular note are Somai Mam's project to prevent the sexual slavery of young girls and the project run by Spanish bishop, Enrique Figueredo, for the victims of anti-personnel mines. Queen Sofía, accompanied by the director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Juan Pablo de la Iglesia, visited the rehabilitation and professional training center, Tom Dy, which is sponsored by the AECID. Here, 60 women and young girls who have fallen victim to forced prostitution learn mathematics and languages and develop other skills. The Queen also visited the Arrupe Center run by Bishop Figueredo, which has a workshop for assembling wheel chairs and a textiles training and manufacturing center for children who have been left handicapped by landmines. Another project that the Queen observed was the translation of software into the Khmer language, aiming to reduce the social inequality experienced by this ethnic minority in Cambodia.
The Spanish-French Summit strengthens the fight against ETA ● The Spanish President, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on January 10 for the 20th Spanish-French Summit. Spain and France agreed to create permanent research teams with policies from
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both countries to prevent attacks carried out by ETA and to pursue terrorists. Both leaders backed the promotion of "a master European immigration policy through a grand accord", which "will have the Spanish-French stamp of approval". Both countries agreed to promote collaborative policies on the joint repatriation of immigrants and to take part in joint development policies with the countries of origin, particularly in the regions of North and Sub-Saharan Africa. The Paris summit also served to finalize the new electrical unification project that will connect the countries via the Eastern Pyrenees. The Spanish President was joined by the ministers of foreign affairs, interior, justice, education, development and industry.
80 Spanish companies at the Dubai food festival ● The Gulfood Festival, one of the most important events in the Middle East for the food, hospitality and catering sectors took place between February 24 and 27 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was attended by 80 Spanish companies, 157% more than the first Festival in which Spain was involved. The importance of the Gulfood Festival lies, above all, in the fact that according to the World Trade Organization, Dubai is the world's most rapidly growing tourist destination. Furthermore, investment in agro-food franchises is increasing by approximately 27% every year and it has a huge capacity for re-exporting food--72% of agro-food imports into Dubai are re-exported to a total of 160 countries.
Spain is the European country with the most companies in Miami ● 'Enterprise Florida', the government agency responsible for economic development in Florida, announced on February 13 that more than half of the European companies being set up in the region over recent years have been
Spanish. This includes a total of 47 companies, which have created over 1,200 new jobs. At the same time, several Spanish banks have set up branches in the region, creating an international support system for the companies. This prevailing Spanish presence in the region will continue. In fact, according to ‘Enterprise Florida’, of the 20 European companies that are likely to be set up in Miami-Dade County in the next few months, 16 are Spanish, 3 French, 2 Italian, 2 British and 1 Swedish.
Three of Spain's business schools are included in Europe's top 10 ● Every year the Financial Times, a British newspaper, publishes rankings of the best business schools in the world. In 2008, Spain has two schools in the world's top 15. The first of these is the Instituto de Empresa Business School, which came in 8th place out of the 156 schools assessed; and second was the IESE Business School, ranked 11th. If we apply this data to Europe, Spain has the 3rd, 5th and 9th ranking schools in the top 10. The 9th-ranked school was the Esade Business School, which was ranked 21st in the world. The Financial Times scoring criteria was based on a diverse set of factors, including whether the Masters in Business and Administration (MBA) program is at least 5 years old and whether the school has been accredited by international organizations.
The Minister decorates the chairman of ArcelorMittal, and Wing-45 of the Air Force ● On February 8 of this year, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, awarded the Great Cross of Civil Merit to the entrepreneur and chairman, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, of the Arcelor-Mittal steel company. The Minister underlined his satisfaction when
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Press conference between the Spanish President and the German Chancellor. EFE/ J.Martín
Mallorca will host the Spanish-German Summit ● Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero met with the German chancellor Angela Merkel on January 31 of this year, at which time they underlined their shared vision of the financial system: The Spanish President stated that "we share the conviction that the international community and, of course, the EU must painstakingly apply new measures, with more information, more transparency and better regulations to prevent and anticipate problems in the financial system". Both leaders highlighted their shared viewpoints on global warming and renewable energies. Here Zapatero declared that Spain and Germany are "two countries that are dedicated and committed to the fight against climate change and promoting renewable energies". He added that they had reached an agreement to "implement joint projects on climate change and alternative forms of energy in Africa". The summit was also attended by the foreign, interior and defense ministers from both countries.
presenting this award to "one of the most outstanding entrepreneurs in the globalized economy and reiterated "the importance of Arcelor-Mittal as part of the fabric of Spanish manufacturing". In turn, the 58-year-old entrepreneur, a native of India, expressed his desire to "maintain or increase the company's relations with Spain". Arcelor- Mittal is the largest steel group in the world with 15 plants in Asturias, the Basque Country,
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parliamentar y Madrid and Toledo and makes up 46% of gross Spanish steel production. Likewise, in another ceremony, Miguel Ángel Moratinos together with the Spanish Defense Minister, José Antonio Alonso, awarded the plaque of honor to the 45th Group of the Spanish Air Force in recognition of their work. The 45th Group, is responsible, among other duties, for transporting the Minister and other top officials in the Foreign Office to highly important conferences and meetings on the development of Spanish foreign policy. This award was created by Spanish Royal Decree 1815 with the purpose of rewarding those who work defending national interests.
Spain is committed to the fight against infant mortality ●In January, UNICEF presented the 'State of the World's Children 2008' report, which states that infant mortality has dropped below 10 million deaths per year for the first time since records began. The number of infant deaths has reduced from 20 million in 1960 to 9.7 million in 2006. The Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Leire Pajín, who attended the ceremony emphasized that "despite the positive figures in the report, children are still dying from preventable causes and we cannot become complacent". Leire Pajín stated that Spain had given 37 million Euros to UNICEF in 2007 and emphasized the need to support similar organizations in order to bring an end to poverty. She stated, "no person possessing even the slightest conscience can accept the situation as it currently is, especially the countries of the Northern Hemisphere."
Spain and China make a joint investment in Cape Verde ● The port of Mindelo in San Vicente, an island of Cape Verde will be the setting for the signing of an agreement be-
Parliamentary control in the 8th Legislature ● The degree of parliamentary control over the government was a topic more often addressed in the recently concluded legislature (8th Legislature, 2004-2008), than in any of the previous legislatures since the transition to democracy. Foreign policy was not excluded from this issue. Rather, parliamentary control over the government in this area has been discussed a significant number of times, giving rise to numerous initiatives (some requested by the government and others by parliamentary groups), which have required the ongoing involvement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the four secretaries of state. Some figures illustrate the increase in these initiatives. First, and perhaps most notable due to their media impact, were the questions posed to ministers in the weekly sessions on parliamentary control as part of the Chamber's plenary sessions: in the 8th legislature, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation answered 117 questions in
the Plenary Session of Congress (96 in the 8th legislature) and 116 in the Plenary Session of the Senate (80 in the 8th legislature). Secondly, though garnering less press coverage, it is necessary to emphasize the government's attendance in meetings held by the commissions with jurisdiction over foreign affairs and cooperation, which is the most common and systematic form of parliamentary control over government action. The total number of appearances at these commissions, both by the Spanish foreign minister and the secretaries of state, was 241, with 175 at the Congress and 66 at the Senate. Of these appearances, 78 were made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and 163 by the secretaries of state. The parliamentary commission receiving the greatest input from foreign affairs officials was the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Congress, which was attended 21 times by the foreign minister and 77 times by the secretaries of state.
● CD of Parliamentary Election Observation Missions in Latin America Recently, a CD-Rom was presented to the Congress of Deputies that covers 8 election observation missions organized by the MAEC, the Congress of Deputies, and the Senate. Those who are interested can request a copy at aparlamentaria@maec. es
tween Spain and China on partnership investment. Spain will be responsible for renovating the cooling unit in Internase. Meanwhile, China will control the privatization of Cape Verde's naval shipyards. The government of Cape Verde plans to create a fishing base capable of attracting Spanish and Chinese fleets that operate in the maritime zone off West Africa.
Casa Sefarad-Israel organizes the official Holocaust Remembrance Day ● Casa Sefarad-Israel held the Official Holocaust Remembrance and the Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity Day, which was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation,
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Miguel Ángel Moratinos, the Minister of Education and Science, Mercedes Cabrera, and the Minister of Justice, Mariano Bermejo. The institutional ceremony was held under the slogan ‘To think of Europe is to think of Shoah’ and included several speeches by Jorge Semprún and Josep Borrell among others, as well as musical performances. Casa Sefarad-Israel is a consortium made up of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Community of Madrid and Madrid Council, and was set up to study the Sephardic culture in greater depth and promote friendship links between Israeli and Spanish societies.
Spain’. The series includes 26 episodes showing the cultural wealth of Spain's different regions through their cuisine, wines, and culture in general. The program made its debut on February 15 and is broadcast from Washington on the US public television channel, PBS. The inauguration was carried out by the Spanish Secretary of State for Trade and Tourism, Pedro Mejia. The ceremony attracted members of the Spanish and American press who specialize in gastronomy, tourism, and television. The episodes, which each last around 30 minutes, will be shown through 2008 and 2009.
Casa África holds the First Spanish-African Congress for Female Entrepreneurs ● On February 18 and 19, the Women's Network for a Better World, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the University of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria took part in the First Spanish-African Congress backed by Casa África. It discussed the conditions that enable the creation and development of companies by Spanish and African women, with ideas being shared on this issue. At the congress, speakers addressed the different aspects of business activity related to issues of gender and the challenges of operating in African regions. Topics included launching a new business, experiences of exporting, how cooperatives work, microcredit, associations, and networking. On the most practical level, the speakers talked about the experiences of Spanish female entrepreneurs working in Africa, as well as methods for empowering women using new technologies or projects that fund the training and business proposals of African women.
US public television broadcasts ‘Made in Spain’ ● Renowned chef José Ramón Andrés is starring in a series entitled ‘Made in
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Secretary of State for International Cooperation with the Atlético Madrid chairman, Enrique Cerezo, during the signing of the agreement. EFE
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better world". Also at the signing were the ambassadors of Honduras, Morocco and Argentina, as well as the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Leire Pajín. Representing Atlético was club chairman Enrique Cerezo and several players including Maxi Rodríguez, Kun Agüero, Leo Franco, Pernía, Raúl García, Antonio López and Pablo Ibáñez, who sponsored the projects.
Casa Árabe takes part in the "Month of Morocco" ● Casa Árabe decided to hold the ‘Month of Morocco’ by hosting two events in Granada in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the School of Arabic Studies at the Higher Center of Scientific Research. The first was held on February 25 under the title Alliance of Civilizations: Spain and Islam. It was headed up by Addeluahed Akmir, director of the Al-Andalus Center of Studies and Dialogue of Rabat Civilizations. The second was dedicated to the "Moroccan Feminist Movement and Social Changes" delivered by Leila Chafai, president of the Moroccan Writers Union.
MAEC and Atlético Madrid Madrid is to have united against poverty an international ● The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Atlético Madrid signed press center an agreement that aims to deal poverty a "tough blow" through a series of projects in Argentina, Honduras, and Morocco. This agreement will set up a comprehensive children's development center in collaboration with a Honduran soccer club, as well as three sports-social clubs in Tetuán, Buenos Aires and Rosario. Miguel Ángel Moratinos confessed that it was a special day for him because they were bringing together two of his greatest passions; his love for the red and white shirts of Atlético Madrid and the fight against world poverty and inequality. He also seemed convinced that "in regions where the economic and social conditions are appalling, soccer can help many children to take on the hardships of life to search for a
● On January 30, Vice President María Teresa Fernández de la Vega announced during the awards ceremony for the Association of Foreign Press (ACPE) in Spain, that a large international press center will be created close to the Spanish Congress of Deputies. The new center will be located on Calle Duque de Medinaceli and according to the Vice President, will be "a meeting point and workplace for correspondents and all foreign journalists coming to Spain". The Spanish government's second in command received the ACPE's 'Social Impact' award for this project and for the support given to correspondents in carrying our their work. The other people to win awards were Santiago Carrillo, Manuel Fraga and Adolfo Suárez for their role in the Transition.
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DRC the heart of Africa
The heart of Africa beats black and green-a reflection of its people and its jungles, a manifestation of its dark past and its bright future. Spain is actively involved in development within the country, which has been classified as a Special Attention Country in Spain's Cooperation Master Plan
BY: ricardo losa. PHOTOS COURTESY: efe and j.hernĂĄndez
â—? (DRC) is clearly the heart of the Dark Continent--a place where the essence of the enigmatic, sometimes incomprehensible world of Sub-Saharan Africa permeates every nook and cranny. Conrad called it the heart of darkness, a name that for many still rings true today, both because of the country's central location in the dark continent itself, and because of the difficulty many Europeans face when attempting to understand this immense land and its culture. A quick glance at a map of the continent will suffice to illustrate the coun-
try's size and influence. No fewer than 9 countries border the DRC, and its position directly across the equator ensures a continuous supply of water for the Great River--the country's principal means of communication--as well as its labyrinth of tributaries and the lush vegetation that blankets the landscape. A closer look will reveal the country's enormous struggles and wealth of resources, the diversity of its landscape, its ethnic differences, and its astounding natural richness. Its borders, initially defined by the Congress of Berlin (and known since then as "the conventional Congo River Basin"), ended up dividing
a significant number of communities. The humanitarian crisis in Rwanda and the instability that rocked the DRC in the '90s gave rise to swarms of ethnic militias that have turned the jungles of Congo into battlegrounds for control of the country's principal resources: gold, diamonds, and that scarce and highly prized metal, coltan. During this period, the Kivu, Ituri, Bunia, Goma, and Kisangani regions sadly became textbook images of the humanitarian crisis. However, the peace process and 2006 elections have begun to open the way for a brighter future. The greatness of the Congo is especially apparent in its people: in daily
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> drc facts Capital: Kinshasa. Area: 2,344,885 km2 Population: 60.64 Million (IMF 2006) Name: Democratic Republic of the Congo Currency: Congolese Franc (CF) Languages: French, Lingala, Swahili, Tshiluba, and Kikongo. Pop. Density/km2: 22.7 Infant Mortality: 129 per 1,000 (2005) Life Expectancy: 44 Years (2005) Urban Population: 33% (2005) Literacy Rate (2000-2004): 81% Men
/ 54% Women Internet (2000-2004): 0 Total GDP: USD 8.9 Billion Annual Growth Rate (2007): 6.5% GDP per Capita (2006): USD 141 Inflation Rate (2007): 10% Education Spending (1994-2004): 0 (Estimated 7% in 2007) Defense Spending (1994-2004): 18 Imports from Spain: 12.7 Million Euros (2007) Exportation to Spain: 3.1 Million Euros (2007)
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activities and in the uniquely African language of dance and the smile. The population survives amid an endless stream of difficulties by calling upon its skill and resourcefulness, normally through an ever-present informal economy, but also through an unsinkable will to survive. The power and allure of Congolese society become readily apparent in its music--one of the most beautiful styles on the entire continent, and in its dance--a show of supreme joy in the ephemeral, with movements in which partners remain impossibly close to each other in a celebration of life and bliss. In a country where the construction of transportation, social, health-care, and educational infrastructures is still a priority, where the government is barely able to retain control over the entire territory, and where reform of the national security system remains pending, the Congolese people's desire to build a country based on respect for its plurality of cultures and capable of standing up to the great challenges that face it is nothing short of astounding. The new government of the new democratic Congo is fully aware of the historic
March 23, 2007 will be forever remembered in the Spanish Embassy at Kinshasa after the explosion of an artillery shell forced the evacuation of all 17 workers. Confrontations in the city resulted in a 5-hour long attack on the Embassy during which all the windows were destroyed by the impacts of various types of projectiles. The shell left a 30 centimeter hole in the faĂ§ade. After several tense hours, Uruguayan soldiers deployed with a United Nations task force were able to evacuate all staff from the building. The photographs below show some of the damage caused by the attack.
moment in which its country is living. In 2006, for the first time in the history of the country, presidential and legislative elections were organized, leading to the election of the first democratically chosen president in the DRC. Over 30 years of cruel dictatorships, over 10 years of festering ethnic conflicts, and millions of victims have brought on a veritable explosion of hope for peace, freedom, and development. President Kabila knows he must not fail the expectations of his fellow Congolese. The International Community, including Spain, knows this as well, and is thus doing all in its power to strengthen the Congo's fledgling democracy. However, democracy
cannot be strengthened in the absence of stronger development; that is, it is impossible to strengthen democracy without also ensuring sustainable growth in a country that is listed at 168 of 177 in the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index. It is an enormous challenge, but the community has a key ally: the tremendous desires, ambitions, hopes, dreams, and yearning of 60 million Congolese citizens. These are people who are able to celebrate life and happiness as no one else, even in the midst of deep adversity--a celebration that draws on a unique combination of the magical universe and the real world, because in the Congo it is sometimes difficult
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Various departments of the Spanish Embassy in Kinshasa and the building where the Embassy is located in the capital city.
to tell where the one ends and the other begins. Bilateral relations between Spain and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have traditionally been good, although sporadic. However, in recent years the situation has changed, given the potential importance of the Congo in the future of the subcontinent and renewed attention from Spain. In Spain's 2005-2008 Cooperation Master Plan, the DRC was listed as a Special Attention Country, which has resulted in a significant increase in cooperation in recent years. With regard to bilateral economics, it is important to note a growing interest by Spanish businesses in the DRC. Some of these businesses have already begun to establish themselves in the country in order to take part in the intense infrastructure rehabilitation currently underway, which is being financed by the World Bank and by several international organizations. Furthermore, Spain has been first to provide international support for peace in the region. For instance, by unanimous agreement of the Congress of Deputies, Spain has joined one of the two European missions working in the country--EUPOL--and will soon join the other--EUSEC.
“Living among these people is a gift from God” a spaniard in the DRC Elisa Ávila Morcillo is a member of the Congregation of Santo Domingo de Granada and has been living in Kimbanseke, a town on the outskirts of Kinshasa, since 1995.
— What has your experience been since you arrived in the Congo thirteen years ago? — In those days, the country was going through an extremely difficult time, at the end of the Mobutu regime. Today, unfortunately, very little has changed, and the people are still suffering. For example, education and health care are completely neglected. If it weren't for the presence and support of the missionaries and aid workers--who give their all--hope would have become an impossible dream for these people. To me, living among these people is a gift from God: They are always smiling, always there for you... — What has your everyday relationship with the Congolese
been like? — Most of the people living in Kimbanseke--and by extension, the entire country--only eat once a day; and what is interesting is if you stop and visit someone without letting them know beforehand, they will actually feel a little put out, because they really want to know beforehand that you plan to visit so they can make you something to eat. They make you see life from a completely different perspective; they make us see life differently than we normally do. Our congregation is working to provide a full education--as complete and practical as possible--to girls who have not had the opportunity to study. We teach them skills that
will help train them and give them some personal independence to allow them to help their own families. — What is the best thing we can provide as a developed nation? — I feel that the cultural and spiritual traditions that we bring to these lands, when coupled harmoniously with those native to the country, help initiate development based on mutual respect because we and they both open new worlds to each other: thus the importance of international cooperation. And I can say with pride that in this enormous mission, both aid workers and missionaries can count on the unconditional support of our Embassy.
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Miguel Fernández-Palacios M. Spanish Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The DRC: Spain's Unified Commitment ❖ Located in the heart of Africa and with a veritable treasure chest of mineral resources buried beneath it, the economic potential and strategic geographical location of the Democratic Republic of the Congo make it a key to the future of the continent, especially the area known as the Great Lakes Region. ❖ However, since it gained its independence, the history of this enormous country has been anything but placid: In fact, the convulsive independence process, complete with internal secessionist movements, was followed by a long dictatorship culminating in two devastating wars. Increasing domestic and international outrage with such an untenable situation in which the population at large remained the principal victim accelerated the transition to democracy--a transformation in which the International Community, including Spain, played a decisive role. In fact, the celebrations held near the end of October 2006 following the second round of presidential and legislative elections marked the end of a transition process that had been underway since 2002, after the signing of a series of agreements between the opposing forces involved in what has become known as the First African World War, which left 3 million dead, 3 million displaced, and inflicted massive violations of human rights. ❖ Today, the Congolese government and people are faced with numerous challenges: fighting corruption; reforming the security sector; building transportation, health-care, and educational infrastructures; fighting impunity, exclusion, and poverty; and pacifying the country are just a few of the many challenges faced by the government of President
Kabila. The International Community will offer its full support to Congolese authorities in their efforts in all these areas. ❖ Spain has not been content to remain a spectator of this enormous international commitment to the DRC. Therefore, the Democratic Republic of Congo--with which Spain has enjoyed diplomatic relations since November 3, 1964--was listed as a Special Follow-Up Country in its Africa Plan, a classification that will ensure Spain's active support in the political transition and democratic normalization processes. This commitment was exemplified by the deployment of an armed unit of the Legion between July and December 2006 as part of the European force-EUFOR--sent to provide support for the electoral process. Likewise, we were also able to contribute to the United Nations Mission to the Congo (MONUC)-the largest UN peace-keeping operation in the history of the organization--by sending two officials from our Armed Forces who now carry out observation missions in the extremely harsh Congolese territory. ❖ The growing strength of our political commitment has been made clear in recent months by a flurry of high-level visits to both countries. In the past 12 months, the President of the DRC's National Assembly and the Congolese Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Interior, Women's Rights, and the Environment have visited Spain, while Chief of Staff, General Sanz Roldán visited the DRC in December of 2006 and Minister Moratinos just completed an official visit to the country--the first visit to the DRC by Spain's Foreign Minister in the past 25 years.
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❖ Spanish businesses are also beginning to see the enormous possibilities that the new Congo offers. Spanish companies operating in strategic industries such as electricity, energy, commercial aviation, and port management have found a niche in a country where Spanish business has not traditionally been found. ❖ At the same time, the current Spanish Cooperation Master Plan lists the DRC as a Special Attention Country. In fact, in the past four years we have gone from having a non-reimbursable, testimonial-based cooperation program to a program currently operating on over USD 20 million. The cooperation program Spain has implemented in the DRC is focused on supporting the country's decentralization process, gender issues (with additional help from the AECI-NEPAD Fund), improved access to basic social services, and humanitarian aid. Thus, the principal components of this program are, first Humanitarian Aid--which is channeled through specialized international agencies and programs such as PAM, UNICEF, and OCHA, as well as both Spanish and international humanitarian NGOs; second, NGOs--a large portion of cooperation funding has traditionally gone to providing health services, education, and water sanitation, principally through Spanish NGOs; and third, International Agencies such as the UNDP, OCHA, and UNHABITAT. ❖ But it is the Base Bilateral Cooperation Agreement signed by Minister Moratinos during his recent visit to Kinshasa that will allow us to establish the logical framework that will shape our cooperation in the country from this point forward. ❖ I cannot conclude this article without mentioning the extraordinary work that our missionaries and nuns have been doing in the country for over 50 years. Their commitment to the DRC is the most palpable evidence of Spain's unified commitment to the country. In recognition of their efforts, I extend this tribute to all of them.
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The world fashion business has reached a paradoxical state. The industry itself seems worn out, but design is reaching its apex. And the situation is no different in Spain. The question is obvious. Is Spanish fashion growing or has it stagnated? Meanwhile, the world's largest fashion companies continue to experience unprecedented growth. Many of them are from Spain: Mango, Cortefiel, and Inditex Group. For years, these three corporations have been developing ever-more ambitious strategies for growth. Currently, all three have thousands of stores throughout the world and are reaping profits of hundreds of millions of Euros.
INDITEX a growing multinational company BY: miradas al exterior. PHOTOS COURTESY: inditex
● Inditex, a world-famous Spanish fashion distributor, is the owner of eight commercial brands--Zara, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home, and Kiddy's Class-and is made up of over 100 companies dealing in various aspects of the textile design, manufacturing, and distribution business. Inditex Group currently has 3,701 stores in 68 countries. Its unique management model, based on innovation and flexibility, and its numerous achievements have made Inditex one of the largest fashion distribution groups in the world. Its fashion
perspective--creativity and quality design with rapid response to market demand-has allowed it to expand quickly into the international market, with highly positive consumer response to the products offered by its various chains. Inditex Group has been publicly traded since May 23, 2001, and its stock value is listed on the largest Spanish and international stock market indices, with a net worth exceeding 25 billion Euros. The first Zara shop opened in 1975 in Coruña (Spain). It was here where the Group first began its activities and where the corporate headquarters are now located. Its stores, always located in upscale shopping locations, can be
found in over 400 cities throughout Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. Inditex Group's corporate culture is based on teamwork, open communication, and high business and product standards. These principles form the basis for personal commitment to customer satisfaction. Inditex Group employs over 70,000 professionals throughout the world. Its workforce is international--over half of its employees work outside of Spain; mostly female--82.8%; and young, with an average age of 26.
● Business Model. Since its inception, Inditex Group's business model has been characterized by a high level
AN EMPIRE REACHING AROUND THE WORLD
n Paris (France)
n London (United Kingdom)
n Berlin (Germany)
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30 years after opening its first store in Coruña in 1975, the Group has now exceeded 3,700 commercial establishments of vertical integration based on a flexible structure and a special focus on the customer. Timeliness takes priority over production costs, and allows the company to adapt its products to customer demand. By overseeing all phases of the fashion process, Inditex Textile Group can ensure homogeneity in both production and its international image. Fur-
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thermore, the success of Inditex Group's collections is based on its understanding of the market and its ability to assimilate constantly changing trends.
● Commercial Chains. Currently, Inditex Group owns eight fashion distribution chains. All share the same business focus, but are under independent management. The business decision-making and resource administration management teams are completely independent. As the parent company, Inditex is responsible for overseeing central corporate services, such as administration, use of logistics technology, general human resources policy, legal matters, etc.
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● The Rise of Inditex Group. Between 1963 and 1974, Amancio Ortega Gaona, president and founder of Inditex, was an entrepreneur running a clothing manufacturing company. His business grew steadily and he was able to open several manufacturing plants that distributed his products to several European countries. The first Zara store was opened in 1975, on a main street in Coruña. Zara's fashion products enjoyed such great success that the company was able to extend its network of stores to most of the largest cities in Spain. Inditex was created in 1985 as the head of the group of companies. For the next few years, all the goods produced at the group's manufacturing
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INDITEX WORLDWIDE n Number of stores as of 02/19/2008
Asia and the Pacific
Zara Pull and Bear Massimo Dutti Bershka Stradivarius Oysho Zara Home Kiddy’s Class / Skhuaban TOTAL
1,134 520 426 510 383 293 205 230 3,701
n Number of stores by brand as of 02/19/2008
No. of Employees 69,420 Net Income 1.002 Billion e International Sales 60.4% No. of Countries 64 n Data as of 01/31/2007
companies was sold through the Zara chain, establishing the foundation for a logistics system able to keep up with the strong expected growth rate. In December of 1988, Zara opened its first store outside of Spain, in Oporto, Portugal. Later the group entered the United States and France, opening stores in New York (1989) and in Paris (1990). In 1991, the Pull and Bear chain was created and the company purchased 65% of the Massimo Dutti group. At the same time, new international markets continued open up: Mexico in 1992, Greece in 1993, Belgium and Sweden in 1994. Between 1995 and 1996, Inditex acquired Massimo Dutti in its entirety and opened stores in Malta and Cyprus. Inditex added Norway and Israel to its international market in 1997. The Bershka chain, which focused on a younger female market, was created in 1998, leading to openings in additional countries: the United Kingdom, Turkey, Argentina, Venezuela, the Arab Emirates, Japan, Kuwait, and Lebanon. One year later, Inditex acquired Stradivarius, which became the fifth chain in the Group. Stores were opened in more new countries: Holland, Germany, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. In the year 2000, Inditex moved its headquarters to a new building
located in Arteixo (Coruña) and opened stores in four additional countries: Andorra, Austria, Denmark, and Qatar. In the year 2001, the Oysho lingerie chain was launched, and the group entered Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jordan. Construction was started on a new Zara logistics center in Zaragoza the same year. One year later, the Group opened its first stores in Finland, Switzerland, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Singapore.
Since May of 2001, the date of its initial public offering, Inditex's stock value has continued to rise on the largest national and international stock market indices.
In 2003, Inditex opened the first Zara Home stores--the eighth chain in the Group--and inaugurated the Plataforma Europa (Europe Platform) distribution center in Zaragoza. Meanwhile, stores were opening for the first time in Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, and Malaysia. In 2004 the Group opened its 2,000th store, in Hong Kong. By this time the Group was operating stores in 56 countries throughout Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. That same year stores were opened for the first time in Morocco, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, and Panama. In 2005, Inditex opened its first stores in Monaco, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Costa Rica. In 2006, Serbia, China, and Tunisia were added to Inditex's list of international markets. Last year, Inditex opened stores in Guatemala, Croatia, Colombia, and Oman. This year, the Spanish fashion giant is preparing to enter several Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, with a store in downtown Kiev, and Montenegro. It is also planning to open stores in Seoul (Korea) and in Egypt. Thus, by the end of the year 2007, the group founded by Amancio Ortega had grown to nearly 2 million square meters of floor space divided among 3,691 stores scattered over 68 countries.
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VICE-PRESIDENT AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF INDITEX
Inditex and Spain's Internationalization Model ❖ International outlook is one of Inditex Group's most important characteristics. Two decades ago, it started down a path that has led it to become one of the largest and best-known Spanish corporations in the foreign market today. The Group has been clearly growth-oriented since its inception, and has based much of this growth on expanding its business presence in new markets. This strategy led to the opening of stores in a large number of Spanish cities within just 10 years after the opening of the first store in Coruña, and to its leap into the international market almost immediately after that. ❖ Today, the consolidation of that process has led the Group to consider the European continent as its domestic market. In fact in 2006, sales in European markets outperformed Spanish sales, which is a direct reflection of a growth strategy focused primarily on expansion in Europe. ❖ Inditex Group now has over 3,100 stores in Europe, nearly 300 on the American continent, and many others in Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. Inditex enjoys a significant presence in all the large European markets--France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany, and has commercial establishments in nearly ever y member countr y of the European Union. Growth has been especially vigorous in Eastern Europe and Russia, where expansion of commercial space has exceeded 60%. Along these lines, in April of this year we will be opening our first store in Ukraine, in an excellent location in the capital city of Kiev.
❖ After Europe, Inditex's second priority with regard to expansion is the Asia-Pacific region--an area where Inditex has maintained a commercial space growth rate double that of our average growth rate throughout the rest of the world. Our fashion products are well received by Asian consumers and as a result, growth in the past three years has tripled our business presence in the region. The Japanese and Chinese markets, as well as the Korean market, where we will begin operations in 2008, are the three strategic pillars that form the foundation of our marketing attempts in the region, where stores have been opened in five other countries as well.
❖ Making Europe our primar y market and the Asia-Pacific region our second priority is the key to defining the direction of Inditex's growth strategy for the coming years. However, the Group's business model and especially the universal appeal of our fashion products allow us to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves in regions other than these two. Thus, the company operates 300 commercial establishments in the United States, Canada,
● spain abroad
and a large number of Latin American countries. In fact, Mexico has the largest number of Inditex-owned stores on the American continent. We have over 200 stores in other regions, such as the Middle East and North Africa. ❖ The focus on international growth is part of the definition of our company. In 2007, this focus meant that 80% of the 560 stores opened that year were located outside of Spain. The Group began operations in four markets where it had no presence at all, and during the year it increased the number of stores in a total of 50 countries throughout the world. An expansion effort of this magnitude is only possible when our own employees-today numbering 80,000 professionals from 140 nations--are able to view our potential in the global market with an open mind and a willing attitude. ❖ Inditex's growth in foreign markets began at a ver y early stage in the company's histor y, when the large number of opportunities in the domestic market--Zara had close to 60 stores in Spain at the time-might have made a focus on internationalization a difficult, even risky, decision to justify. However, the first store openings in New York and Paris in the early '90s--as well as the 65 new markets that would follow-helped to mold and improve our company's business model, our ability to approach different markets and listen to customers, and, perhaps most importantly, helped us assimilate many positive values into a corporate culture that would be ver y difficult to replicate today. In short, Inditex began its growth into foreign markets as a humble apprentice hoping to learn from these expansion opportunities, but also decidedly driven by its confidence in an innovative business model for the industr y, realizing that in an ever-expanding world of competition, internationalization would be the best way to ensure future growth.
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Are there reasons to be satisfied with the progress that has been made up to this point in research, development, and innovation (R&D&I)? Can we look to the immediate future with optimism, as we strive to make our mark on the scorecard of the top tier of developed nations?
BY: jacobo garcĂa. PHOTOS: stock
â—? The gods seldom heap blessings upon the human race without asking for something in return, and thus in allowing us to discover the benefits of innovation, they also imposed upon us the arduous task of innovating better and faster than our neighbors if we want to reap any sort of benefit from our discoveries. Until recently, innovation remained sequestered within a handful of countries receptive to talent and effort and willing to pay for the ideas of talented, hard-working individuals. The rest of the world was content to pay for the inventions of innovative countries with raw materials or industrial
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Assessment of the situation and challenges
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2006 Data 2005 Data 2004 Data
The resources Spain has allocated to R&D&I based on its GDP are low compared to the EU overall (2%) 1.80% 1.60% 1.40% 1.20% 1.00% 0.80% 2000
R&D&I recent advances products with little added value. All that changed with the dawning of a new century and the first cries of globalization. Now, it seems everyone is trying to jump onto the innovation bandwagon: In fact, the world has been astounded by the rise of strong competition in Asia,
which is quickly catching up to the rest of us. Some examples will serve to illustrate this frenetic pace: Eight years ago, IBM had only 2,000 employees in India--today it has 54,000. The number of engineers graduating from Chinese universities is
we are indeed capable of innovating at a reasonably quick pace, especially considering our historical lack of innovation experience
now double that of the United States and the European Union combined. Compared to countries like Ireland, which has in a very short time gone from last place to leading the European Union in income per capita, thanks in large measure to its technological investments, Spain's progress has been rather slow. However, compared to other countries, which seem content to remain on the bottom rungs of the European Union, Spain is advancing at a respectable rate. And if we compare ourselves with our past, we are forced to conclude that we are indeed capable of innovating at a reasonably quick pace, especially considering our historical
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lack of innovation experience. In just a few years, Spain has gone from a developing country--just as China and India are today, although on a much smaller scale--to a developed country; it has progressed from an immigration source country to an immigration destination, from exporting oranges to purchasing foreign banks and corporations. But today, this is no longer enough. Today, some of our own corporations are being purchased by countries with what we consider to be emerging economies, such as the Gulf Emirates, and we will soon be left wondering how to pay for our imports such as petroleum, natural gas, strategic minerals, and technology. Therefore, the time has come to let go of our innovation customer mentality and allow ourselves to become the innovators. Everyone, from the government to small and medium businesses, and including large corporations and universities, is under this obligation. In the process, some will falter and eventually fall. Other, a minority perhaps, will succeed. What is most important is to know who and how to help. It goes without saying that in order to do this, we must look beyond the old culture of fat subsidies and adopt an open, business mentality that favors equal opportunity. During a recent seminar on technology globalization sponsored by the Vodafone Foundation of Spain, we had the opportunity to hear a significant number of R&D&I proposals by 18 experts in the field. Many of these proposals were not only reasonable, but also brilliant and captivating, to the point they
We must look beyond the old culture of fat subsidies and adopt an open, business mentality that favors equal opportunity would have been right at home in the next sci-fi thriller. A few, on the other hand, while based on solid technology, offered little more than a blatant mockery of common sense. How else, in our modern world of global warming and desperate efforts to reduce nonstop traffic, can we categorize a proposal by a world renowned aeronautical corporation to develop an individual aircraft prototype to replace the private automobile? Should technical and economic viability be the sole motive for the production of goods? Another example. A bank's innovation division is developing a technology in the field of what is known as 'native telecommunications' (machines that talk among themselves and process the results) that will be able to predict when a client is about to become divorced in order to provide the appropriate financial products for his or her new status. Is there any way this sort of research,
The new National R&D&I Plan for 2008-2011 projects an investment of over 47.7 billion Euros
which regardless of its intention seems to draw us ever closer to realizing the nightmarish Big Brother portrayed in George Orwell's novel 1984, should be considered beneficial to society? And finally, what of the work of a university department specializing in environmental intelligence focused on allowing our own homes to turn on the lights and play a previously selected tune when we arrive? Is making our lives that much more automated and making us more dependent on technology than we already are really worth the effort? At the other end of the spectrum lie initiatives designed to cure and prevent illness, eliminate or simplify difficult tasks, increase and better share our knowledge, sort and prioritize the ever growing waves of information that pound us on a daily basis, help us travel from one part of the world to another, facilitate city-wide commutes, transport goods at a lower cost to the economy and to the environment, protect the environment, recover forests, clean the air, and save the planet. There are very real reasons for believing that all that glitters is not gold. Some bureaus established by various administrations in order to promote citizen-oriented R&D&I initiatives seem more focused on advertising themselves than on effectively helping the innovator. The average citizen may marvel at the vast sums spent by various levels of the administration in the promotion of these platforms, but only citizens with innovative ideas will be able to determine whether or not such depart-
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NATIONAL R&D&I PLAN FOR 20082011 The National Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation Plan is the General Administration's instrument for R&D and technological innovation planning. In place since the year 2000, it is also the mechanism for setting medium-term research and innovation policy objectives and priorities and the basis for instruments that ensure the implementation of such policies.
The new Plan for 20082011 doubles financing from the previous four years for a total investment of over 47.7 billion Euros and incorporates important changes in structure and management. It has evolved from a theme-based model, which had been useful in previous years, to an instrumentdefined model. Instruments are the response of public administrations to strategic objectives and the objectives set forth in the National Science and Technology Strategy. Of these objectives, the promotion of a competitive business
ments will be useful. A central R&D&I information facility has been promised for 2008. As far as corporations that claim to have a R&D&I department are concerned, only half of such departments are headed by an actual person, according to a survey by IBM Spain. Can such a department work effectively in the absence of an individual dedicated to its oversight, or is this merely a cheap form of propaganda and/ or a way to obtain subsidies and other aid? In the universities, the traditional ills of elitism and bureaucracy have been joined of late by that of proliferation. Is an institution spread out to such an extent even
network, the advancement of international involvement, and the promotion of a scientific and technology culture will place Spain at the forefront of knowledge and understanding. The National R&D&I Plan for 2008-2011 is aimed at public organizations, universities, and technology centers, as well as toward corporations, business groups, and research groups, and implements a four-fold emphasis. First, to generate the knowledge and skills necessary to train and integrate highly qualified staff. This includes the implementation
capable of competing in today's world? Finally, there are several gaps that must be bridged in order to truly jumpstart our R&D&I efforts: gaps between the rural and urban worlds, between men and women, between companies that are able to afford consulting to determine which autonomous community will offer the most advantages for its headquarters and those that cannot afford such a luxury, between
The Severo Ochoa Program is designed to bring internationally-renowned researchers to Spanish labs
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of the Severo Ochoa Program, which is designed to bring internationallyrenowned researchers to Spanish labs. Second, to improve and promote collaboration among public and private institutions. Third, to increase technological innovation industry by industry, and fourth, to develop five specific strategic actions in the areas of Health Care, Biotechnology, Energy and Climate Change, Telecommunications, Information Society, Nanoscience, and Nanotechnology, as well as develop new industrial materials and processes.
the staff researcher and the researcher forced to survive on grants for undetermined periods of time that may exceed 10 years, etc. The State budget for R&D&I in 2007 was 6.54 billion Euros, while in 2004 it did not even reach 3 billion. The Ingenuity Plan projected reaching 2% of the GDP by 2010, and we are still only at 1.2%--there is much effort still to be made. The objectives of the new R&D&I Plan for 2008-2011 are much more ambitious. Ultimately, there is little purpose in asking whether or not we will be capable of reaching these objectives, because for us, the choice has already been made.
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Al-Maden, the mine. That was the name given to this deposit in the foothills of the Sierra Morena mountain range in the province of Ciudad Real. The mine was prized by the Romans for its color, hailed by alchemists for its chemical composition, and was the key to obtaining the American gold and silver upon which an empire would be built.
before and after the mercury rush BY: DAVID MERINO. PHOTOS COURTESY: ALMADÉN MINE PARK
● Spain's most famous mines contain the largest reserve of mercury in the world in the form of cinnabar. Cinnabar is a mix of mercury (quicksilver) and sulfur. It has been calculated that sales of Almadén ores from the 16th century to the present day amount to over 20 billion Euros in today's values. But, although fully one third of all mercury used by man has been extracted from these mines, it was not quicksilver, but rather pure cinnabar that brought fame to the deposit in ancient times. Those who have visited the Prado Museum extension will recall its brilliant Pompeian red walls. A red that evokes the reds found in the frescos that adorned the city interred by Vesuvius. It is interesting then, that the pigment used to paint the houses of the Pompeian elite was originally taken from the cinnabar deposits in Almadén, Ciudad Real, Spain.
Every year some 10,000 pounds of ore were sent to Rome, where they were processed to create a highly prized red dye. A luxury product by any measure, the dye was used to give color to textiles, walls, and even the faces of the most affluent women.
ing them control of the mines. Almadén continued to play a fundamental role even after the change in dynasty. With the Bourbonic Enlightenment came the establishment of the Academy of Mining and Underground Geography, the fourth oldest in the world.
● Amalgamation. If any single event can be considered the event that turned the mines into a fundamental pillar of the Spanish economy, it would be Sevillian Bartolomé Medina's discovery of amalgamation in the 16th century. Amalgamation is a technique that uses mercury to separate gold and silver from other materials and it was discovered at a time when Spain was searching for techniques to purify its overseas findings. So great was the economic significance of Almadén that King Carlos I was able to settle his debts with the bankers that had financed his crowning as Emperor and the European Wars by grant-
● Between Science and Alchemy. Over time, uses for Almadén mercury began to grow. Mercury has been used in barometers, batteries, lamps, switches, dental fillings, and even explosives. For centuries, collective imagination attributed new properties to mercury compounds that were, for better or worse, subsequently marketed as laxatives, antidepressants, antiparasitic drugs, and preservatives. When Almadén was conquered by the Christians, only the fighting monks of Calatrava were bold enough to occupy a land so close to Muslim territory. During the golden age, alchemists considered
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Various images of the Almadén Mine Park, which comprises the old facilities that centuries ago made up the most important mines in Spain.
mercury to be the key to transforming lead into gold. They believed that all metals consisted of mercury and sulfur in various proportions. Thus, converting any metal into gold, or silver, was simply a matter of altering the amounts of the two components of cinnabar. The Renaissance brought with it the spread of a new plague throughout Europe: syphilis. Doctors felt they had discovered that quicksilver could be used to treat the new illness; however, the results were more toxic than remedial. It was always known that mercury was harmful, but in recent decades it has been shown that even small amounts can damage our ability to speak, see, hear, feel, and think. Last year, the European Commission outlawed the export of mercury and the manufacturing of thermometers containing mercury.
● Almadén in the 21st Century. Almadén was one step ahead of Brussels,
The Almadén Mine Park hopes to promote tourism and scientific understanding of this Spanish heritage site and stopped mercury production in 2003. Three years later, an agreement between the state-owned company Minas de Almadén y Arrayanes S.A, the Castilla-La Mancha Board, and the Ciudad Real City Council led to the creation of the Almadén Mine Park. The park is a 20 million euro project to promote tourism and scientific understanding of a natural wonder that was produced 430 million years ago by an eruption of mercury, mixed with sulfur, from the sea floor. A tour of the park allows visitors to relive the conditions under which workers mined cinnabar before advancements were made in the 20th century. Visitors are treated to a journey back
through time, from the 20th century to the 16th century, which takes them by train 50 meters below the surface to see extraction wells, workshops, and distilling ovens. Almadén now endeavors to become a World Heritage Site. Spain has presented its nomination to UNESCO together with Slovenia--which has the second largest mine in the world--Mexico, and Peru, where amalgamation techniques were first developed. The Mercury Route is presented as a cultural journey across continents that was a causeway of intense exchange. Contact between Almadén and the New World was extremely common from Patagonia to North America. In fact, near Silicon Valley--the symbol of high U.S. technology--a natural park called 'Almaden Quicksilver County Park' has been established in honor of the Spanish mines. It was here where the mercury required for amalgamation during Gold Fever was mined.
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The largest musical spectacular of all time, Rock in Rio, will be held in Arganda del Rey, Madrid. The five previous events held in Brazil and Portugal have totaled 4 million visitors and over 1 billion radio and television spectators in over 70 countries around the world. Now it is Spain's turn.
Rock in Rio
the most important musical event in the world comes to Spain BY: david merino. PHOTOS COURTESY: rock in rio and stock
● Rock in Rio is a huge event on all accounts. The Arganda del Rey facilities, located 25 kilometers from Madrid, cover an area of 200,000 square meters, complete with green areas and two spectacular stages for the shows: ‘Escenario Mundo’ and ‘Hot Stage’, will be used by up to 70 artists during the last week of June and the first week of July. International groups to perform include The Police, James Morrison, Jamiroquai, Franz Ferdinand, and Lenny Kravitz. Spanish groups include El Canto del Loco, Alejandro Sanz, and Hombres G. One of the most emblematic structures of the entire complex can be seen from the entrance to the City of Rock: a fountain measuring over 200 meters high, where water will dance to the rhythm of the music. Rock in Rio Madrid will also have an Electronic Tent, where 25 internationally-acclaimed DJs will be performing. Other highlights include a VIP zone with climate control and a 2,000 person capacity; Espacio Fashion (Fashion Place) for fashion shows and expos; and Zona Radical (Radical Zone) where ice rinks and snow slopes will be installed for skating, snowboarding, and zip lines.
Arganda will also have a place for younger concertgoers--the Espacio Niños (Children's Place)--where parents can leave their children with educators and supervisors while they enjoy the concerts.
● For all ages. Festival organizers hope to bring people of all ages to the City of Rock. Therefore, in addition to providing a play space for small children, each ses-
sion will be centered around a different type of music. Promoters estimate that approximately 100,000 people will attend Rock in Rio Madrid each day of the festival. This 'Rock Theme Park' hopes to stand out from other festivals by providing all services necessary for concertgoers to enjoy their stay in the city from opening time in the afternoon to well into the early morning. The park will operate like a true city, with pavement, lighting, telephones,
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A computer simulation of the 200,000 square meter area in Arganda del Rey (Madrid) where Rock in Rio will be held in the summer of 2008.
a sprinkler system and irrigation canals, six large restaurants, 40 shops, over 500 restrooms, a hospital, and three medical care stations.
● In tune with climate change. Rock in Rio is also an environmentally aware festival. Since 2001 it has adopted the motto 'For a Better World', which, for the Madrid event, means a focus on the problem of climate change. Thus, the organizers are
planning to plant trees to compensate for the CO2 emissions to be generated by the festival, as well as take advantage of renewable energy sources--the main stage will be solar powered--save electricity, and make use of public transport. Two to five percent of the proceeds from Rock in Rio Madrid will be donated to projects designed to increase awareness among Spanish children and youth that the future of our planet is everyone's responsibility. Even some of the participants are also ambassadors for environmental projection, like Alejandro Sanz: "I am very concerned for the planet we will be passing on to our children," explained the 2008 Grammy award winner for best Latin pop album, "I am concerned about global warming and about CO2 emissions. That is why I feel it is important to spread this message”. Brazilian singer Ivette Sangalo, who is very popular in Portuguese-speaking countries, is another exceptional ambassador.
2001 festival were used to help finance the education of 3,000 youth and sponsor 29 UNESCO projects throughout Brazil, under the motto 'cultivating lives, disarming violence'. In 2004, the festival reached Europe. Sting, Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys, Metallica, and Evanescence gave performances in Lisbon, Portugal. The success of the event led to a repeat event in 2006 in Lisbon's Bela Vista Park, where some artists like Sting and Guns N'Roses performed again together with new guests such as Shakira, Jamiroquiai, and Anastacia. 2008 is a special year for Rock in Rio. It is the first time the festival will be held simultaneously in two countries: Spain and Portugal. Spain will become the epicenter of rock on the 27 and 28 of June and on the 4, 5, and 6 of July. Concerts will take place in Lisbon during the last weekend in May and the first weekend in June.
● A history of success. 22 years ago, Brazilian advertising agent Roberto Medina decided to show his country's music to the world through artists such as Barao Vermelho and Kid Abelha, together with internationally-acclaimed bands such as Queen, AC/DC, Rod Stewart, and Iron Maiden. This first festival broke nearly every record. The second Rock in Rio was held in 1991, with performances by George Michael, Guns N'Roses, Joe Cocker, and Prince, among others. The third Rock in Rio was not held until 2001, with performances by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sheryl Crow, Oasis, and Carlinhos Brown. In a spirit of solidarity, proceeds from the
● The future. The mayor of Arganda del Rey, Ginés López, explained that his City Council would like to continue to host Rock in Rio beyond 2008, and has proposed the creation of a network of cities 'For a Better World' to which all cities that have hosted the largest festival on the planet or plan on doing so would belong, in an attempt to strengthen the ties between countries. A network could potentially span many cities, as the organization hopes to bring Rock in Rio to other countries besides Brazil, Spain, and Portugal by 2013. After this date, the organization has set a much more ambitious goal: to hold the festival in three countries at once.
culture and society Journalists from Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Spain are awarded King of Spain Prizes
● The Colombians Rubiel Navia, Juan Pablo Noriega and the editorial team from “Semana” news weekly, edited by Alejandro Santos, the Brazilian Rodrigo Cavalheiro, the Argentinean Javier Drovetto, the Mexican Raúl Alejandro, and Spain's Fran Sevilla and Juan Antonio Sacaluga were all awarded King of Spain International Journalism Prizes. The King of Spain International Journalism Prizes are awarded annually by the Efe press agency and Spain's AECID foreign aid office. The team from the “Semana” weekly won in the Press category for their “Parapolitics” report. The Brazilian Rodrigo Cavalheiro and the Argentinean Javier Drovetto shared the Ibero-American Prize for work published in the “Zero Hora” and “Clarín” newspapers. The jury praised the “the original bi-national approach to the same topic, corruption, which uncovered the extortion that Argentinean traffic cops practice on Brazilian truckers and other motorists”. The Mexican Raúl Alejandro Estrella won in the Photography category for a photo published in the “El Universal” daily. Colombians José Rubiel Navia and Juan Pablo Noriega were awarded the prize for Digital Journalism for “The Yukpas, a warrior people”, which appeared in the newspaper El Tiempo's on-line edition “eltiempo.com”. Two Spaniards, Fran Sevilla and Juan Antonio Sacaluga, were prizewinners in the Radio and Television categories, respectively. Sevilla, Latin American correspondent for the Spanish national radio channel RNE, received his prize for a report entitled “The Mothers of Ciudad Juárez”. Sacaluga was honored for a series of reports entitled “Women's Struggle” which was broadcast on the state-owned TVE network. The Don Quixote Prize went to Mexico's Germán Dehesa for his piece “Ah, the times we live in!”, published in the “Reforma” newspaper. The jury com-
mended his “brilliant synthesis” of the Spanish language and popular Mexican speech.
Council, and the Almagro National Theater Museum, among others, as well as private collections. After India, the exhibition will travel to the Jinsha Site Museum in Chengdu, China, where it will be open to visitors through June 7 to July 7 2008.
Cervantestv, spanish worldwide and digital Exhibition poster courtesy of SEACEX.
SEACEX organizes ‘A Showcase of Iberian Puppetry’ in New Delhi ● The State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX), the Tolosa Initiative Center (CIT), the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA), and the Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust have organized the ‘Showcase of Iberian Puppetry’ exhibition in New Delhi, which will be open until February 26, 2008. The exhibition has also received support from the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Teamwork, India Habitat Center and the Spanish Embassy in India. The exhibition forms part of the program of the New Delhi Ishara International Puppet Festival and has over 350 puppets from Spain and Portugal on display. The exhibition begins with 18th Century marionettes and ends with the work of contemporary creators. Among the highlights are puppets made by Tía Norica from Cádiz, Tirisiti de Alcoy's Bethlehem scene, traditional Saint Aleixo puppets from the Alentejo region of Portugal, the work of Hermenegildo Lanz, who carved the heads of the puppets used in various shows directed by Lorca, and Joan Miró's figures for Merma Never Dies, a re-working of the Jarry classic “Ubu Roi”. The pieces have come from various collections, such as the Évora Drama Center, Alcoy Town
● The first TV culture channel in Spanish with world-wide coverage has begun broadcasting its programs. This initiative, put forward last March 12 by the Cervantes Institute, is appropriately called Cervantes. tv.es. The Institute's Director, Carmen Caffarel, explains that the initiative came from the notion that its educational and cultural programs “can reach the places we can't go”. Its broadcasts, including four hours daily of in-house programming, include a daily news bulletin, a cultural review, interviews, discussions, reports and documentaries. In September it begins transmission of a Spanish language course consisting of over 200 programs that will be followed by two million learners in the first five years.
Francisco Casavella. EFE
Francisco Casavella wins the Nadal Prize ● The Catalan author Francisco Casavella has won the Nadal Prize, awarded each year by the Destino publishing
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house, for his novel ‘What I Know about Vampires’. Casavella (born in Barcelona, 1963) burst on the literary scene in 1990 with ‘Triumph’, a story of Gypsy musicians; he followed this with more novels set in downtown Barcelona such as ‘Stay’ and ‘A Spanish Dwarf Kills Himself in Las Vegas’, and spent three years writing ‘Watusi Day’, which he finished in 2003. The latest prize-winning work is set at the end of the 18th century and, says its author, “it's not historical and it's not about vampires, although it might seem like it”. The hero is a Galician, Martín de Viloalla, who leaves Spain with the Jesuits when they are expelled in 1767 and travels to Rome, through Germany and Denmark to a Paris in the throes of revolution, who belongs to a group of “outsiders, wanderers, philosophers, artists and grifters”, who wander from court to court concealing their identity beneath “a permanent mask”. The runner-up for the Nadal Prize was the journalist Eva Díaz Pérez (born Seville, 1971) with ‘The Memory Club’ and the winner of the Josep Pla Prize for Catalan writing was the young author Melcior Comes (born Sa Pobla, 1980) with ‘Walter Stamm's Battle’.
‘Anónimo de España al revés’ by Eduardo Arroyo.
Homage to Eduardo Arroyo at the Valencia Institute of Modern Art ● The Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) is hosting a retrospective devoted to the multidisciplinary artist Eduardo Arroyo (born in Madrid, 1937) until April 13. Thirty-one paintings and twenty-two sculptures show how the artist's work evolved during a period of time
● culture and society
Brazil as the guest of honor, and remodeled premises marked the 27th ARCO Fair ● Gallery owners, collectors, and art professionals from around the world came together at the International Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, ARCO 2008, which marked the occasion with newly-renovated premises and a restructuring of exhibits. The 27th ARCO Fair brought together 295 galleries from 34 countries. A noteworthy aspect of the latest ARCO Fair is the high number of new participants, a total of 118 galleries, 76 of which were first-time attendees at the Fair (7 from Spain and 69 from abroad), while 42 had attended in previous years. This tendency confirms the increasing interest shown in ARCO and the Spanish art market on the international scene. Among those attending for the first time were notable contingents from the art establishments of the two major artistic centers: New York and London. Latin America has always been one of the key areas that the International Contemporary Art Fair has targeted, and the latest show underlined its importance by making Brazil the guest of honor. In Madrid, 32 galleries showcased the best of Brazilian art, which has achieved an enormous degree of prominence in recent years
when he became intensely creative and achieved great international fame. He is one of the main contributors to contemporary Spanish art. His sculptures play a major role in this exhibition. During the last few years, Eduardo Arroyo has developed a sculptural universe of simple references with totemic and mythic echoes: heads of goats, oxen, cattle and shepherds carved from the local stone of Laciana (León), where he has his sculpture workshop.
thanks to art that is constantly redefining itself and blending with new currents, taking on new hybrid forms, and that is characterized by a much greater diversity than the international public normally associates with Brazilian art. Among the best-known artists who showed work at the Fair were the photographer Vik Muniz; the electronic artist Eduardo Kac, and the artists Rosângela Rennó and Leonora de Barros, the latter one of the country's leading video artists. Brazil's contribution also included a rich program of exhibitions, film screenings and concerts in Madrid's main museums and art centers. Among the exhibits, Jose Damasceno's installation at the Queen Sofía Art Center in the National Museum was particularly noteworthy. He is among the major exponents of the art of the nineteen-nineties. The next Arco Fair, to be held from February 11 through 16, 2009 will review the process of architectural design and distribution that went into the latest Fair, with an eye to improving and optimizing space for the next event. India's presence as the guest of honor will be one of the initiatives featured at ARCO’09.
Spain ahead in organ donation
● Spain is the world leader in organ donation. In 2007, Spain had a total of 1,550 donors, an all-time record that brings the rate of donation to 34.3 per million inhabitants, the highest in the world, eight percentage points higher than the rate in the United States (26.5) and double the rate of the European Union (17.8). These 1,550 donors made
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‘Many Times’, one of the works of the sculptor Juan Muñoz shown at the Tate Modern in London. EFE/Mañoso.
it possible for 3,829 transplant operations to be carried out, with all-time highs for kidney, liver and lung transplants. By region, the most spectacular rise was in La Rioja, where the rate rose from 30 to 74.2 donors per million inhabitants; this areas now has the highest rate of donation ever achieved anywhere in the world. In contrast, the rate in Extremadura is only 17.4.
Najat el Hachmi.
A Moroccan-born writer wins the Ramón Llull Prize
● The Ramón Llull Prize for Catalan Literature, which is the most valuable prize for writing in Catalan, and thus regarded as the Catalan equivalent of the Booker Prize, has been awarded to the Moroccan-born writer Najat el Hachmi for her novel ‘The Last Patriarch’, which was entered into the competition under the pen-name Mimouna Bouziane, a common name in Morocco's Rif Valley. The novel deals with the highly topical issue of immigration. El Hachmi, who was born in the Moroccan city of Nador in July 1979 after her father had already emigrated to Vic,
Juan Muñoz retrospective ● SEACEX, in conjunction with Tate Modern, has organized a Juan Muñoz exhibition. The retrospective opened on January 23, 2008 and continues through April 27. The exhibition has also been supported by the Tate International Council with additional support from the Henry Moore Foundation. The Juan Muñoz exhibition brings together the most important examples of all aspects of his work, including his famous sculptures and installations as well as works using elements of sound and representation, and also his sketches for the Raincoat Drawings, as well as other series. Juan Muñoz (1953-2001) is considered one of the most important contemporary sculptors working with installations. He attracted international attention in the 1980s with a series of sculptural installations which placed human figures in real architectural settings. His reputation is built on his power to create tension between the illusory and the real, the contrasting of observation and reception, and the poignancy of the individual isolated within a group or crowd. Muñoz's installations are dramatic and theatrical. He uses scale and perspective to shape the relationship between the viewer and the work. His work includes sketches, sound bites, and literary texts that employ narrative and communication as a starting
point for investigations of form and structure. Munoz's first installations place familiar architectural elements in the unaccustomed space of the gallery. Taken out of their normal context, and sometimes with a subtle change of scale or reduced to doll-house size, these balconies, banisters, stairways and pieces of furniture are recognizable but take on a strange quality because of their isolation, their slightly modified form or their deceptive placement. These installations and sculptures play with the presence and absence of a subject, and sometimes place the spectator as the dramatic centre of the piece. In addition to his sculptural works there is the series of approximately forty sketches entitled "Raincoat Drawings" which examines home interiors. These drawings of sparsely furnished interiors, in white chalk on black-painted raincoat fabric, always show images of doorways leading to equally desolate spaces. Juan Muñoz was born in 1953 in Madrid, where he lived until his death. He studied in London and New York, and was a contributor to international exhibitions such as Document IX (1992) and the Venice Biennale (1986, 1993). In Spain, Muñoz began work as an exhibition curator before concentrating on his work as a sculptor. Muñoz was awarded the prestigious National Prize for the Plastic Arts in 2000.
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Javier Bardem makes history at the OSCARS ● The predictions came true and Javier Bardem will go down in the history of Spanish cinema for his role in the movie ‘No Country for Old Men’, by the Coen brothers, which brought him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The award marks a turning point for Spanish cinema and for this 39-year-old actor, who is the brother, nephew, cousin and grandson of actors. Bardem was previously nominated in 2001 for ‘Before Night Falls’. The actor has now crowned a year in which not a single prize was beyond his grasp, especially in the United States, where he gained 26 awards, including the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors' Guild Award. Before Javier Bardem's Oscar, fifteen of the statues had been awarded to representatives of the Spanish movie industry. Juan de la Cierva was the first to achieve this in 1970, for his technical contribution to the motion picture industry. Other Spanish winners have included directors Luis Buñuel, José Luis Garci, Fernando Trueba and Alejandro Amenábar, set designer Antonio Mateos, costume designer Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and cameraman Néstor Almendros. But there are only two Spaniards who can lay claim to a pair of Oscars: director Pedro Almodóvar and art director Gil Parrondo.
Barcelona, settled in Cataluña at the age of eight under the family reunion system. Although literature was originally just a pastime for her, it gradually became a way of expressing her feelings about belonging in two places at once, and a possible way of bringing her two worlds closer together. Najat El Hachmi, who gained Spanish nationality eighteen months ago and who has studied Arabic Philology at the University of Barcelona, is a woman who writes, who looks after her seven-year-old son, and who works as a cultural mediator for Granollers City Council. In 2004 she published the autobiographical work ‘I, too, am Catalan’ in which she ponders questions of identity and belonging.
Ken Follett chooses Vitoria ● The writer Ken Follett, author of the eminently well-known ‘Pillars of the Earth’, arrived in Vitoria recently to launch his latest novel, ‘World Without End’, a sequel to the previous book. The city was no random choice; this regional capital of the Alaves, and more specifically its Cathedral of Santa María, inspired the Welsh author to recreate the process of building another cathedral, Kingsbridge, in his novel. The city has now officially recognized Follett's gesture, and has put up a bronze statue of him in the Plaza de la Burullerías, in front of the famous Cathedral. Of course, Ken Follett is not the first writer to take inspiration from the Cathedral of Santa María. It also inspired Paulo Coelho's novel ‘The Zahir’, and ‘The Shadow of the Temple’ by local Vitoria author Toti Martínez de Lezea.
The Spaniard Adolfo Nicolás is named as the Jesuit's new Superior General ● The Spanish Jesuit Adolfo Nicolás was elected in Rome as the new General Superior of the Order following the resignation of the Dutchman Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, who had headed the Society of Jesus for 24 years. The 217 electors, meeting in their 35th General Congre-
gation, elected Adolfo Nicolás, born in Palencia on April 29, 1936, on the second ballot. The new Jesuit Superior General has lived in Asia for almost 43 years, mainly in Japan, where he studied and afterwards worked as a Professor of Theology in Tokyo. His ecclesiastical career began in 1953 when he entered the novitiate of Aranjuez and earned a degree in Philosophy in Madrid before moving to Tokyo, where he was ordained into the priesthood on March 17, 1967. In 2005 he was promoted to Provincial Superior for Asia and Oceania and moved his residence to Manila, where he has lived until now. The Jesuit's Superior General is known as the "Black Pope", because of the enormous power the order has always wielded within the Catholic church, and because of his black apparel. Alfredo Nicolás, who holds office for life, will be at the head of this highly influential order, which has a presence in 127 countries and has teaching centers in 69 of these. The Jesuit headquarters in Rome, the Curia, has let it be known that the new Superior General attaches particular importance to “universality” and “enculturation”. Also emphasized is his closeness to Pedro Arrupe, a native of Bilbao, who was elected Superior General of the Society on May 22, 1965, and who was also sent to Japan, where he witnessed the explosion of the atom bomb over Hiroshima.
Cildo Meireles wins the 2008 Velázquez Prize ● The Brazilian sculptor Cildo Meireles has won the 7th Velázquez Prize for the Plastic Arts 2008 in recognition of his artistic career. The jury decided “unanimously” to award the prize to the 60-year-old Brazilian artist. The jury's decision read: “Cildo Meireles' work expresses a political commitment that combines harmoniously with the poetic imperatives inherent in any creative work. Throughout his long career he has shown an unending capacity to imagine and produce new forms”.
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Meireles, considered to be one of the world's greatest conceptual artists, has created sculptures and installations that demand the public's involvement and that explore particularly the dimensions of time and space. Meireles seeks to “transgress reality”, according to the artist himself, who has shown his work in such venues as the New York Museum of Modern Art, the MACBA in Barcelona, and the Tate Modern in London. The award, which brings prize money of 90,450 Euros, also holds out the possibility of an exhibition of the artist's work in the Queen Sofía Art Center of the National Museum in Madrid. The awardwinning sculptor himself must now choose another artist under 35 years of age as the beneficiary of the Velázquez Scholarship, worth 30,000 Euros. The Velázquez Prize for Plastic Arts was established in order to encourage strong links between culture and artistic creation in the countries of Latin America. It was first awarded four years ago to Ramón Gaya, the poet and painter from Murcia, and subsequently to the painters and sculptors Antonio López, Pablo Palazuelo, Juan Soriano, and Luis Gordillo.
Spain is building two new vessels for oceanographic research ● The Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), an institution dedicated to research in Spain's coastal areas that comes under the Ministry of Education and Science, has ordered two new ships to expand its existing fleet of six. The new vessels, with a length on the waterline of almost 200 feet and each costing over 30 million Euros, will be built in the Montajes Cies shipyard in Vigo, and will be equipped with the latest technology. Both the vessels and their equipment will be entirely Spanish and will meet socalled "Clean Ship" requirements, meaning that their emissions will be kept to a minimum and will comply with strict rules governing energy efficiency. The plan is that one of the ships will be deployed along the Cantabrian and Atlantic coasts while the other is stationed on the Mediterranean coast. There they will carry out research in areas such as climate change, the dynamics of currents, fishery resources, and marine pollution. The Institute has now set in motion a plan to build a re-
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placement for the “Cornide de Saavedra”, the flagship of the fleet. The new ship will measure 280 feet at the waterline and will be equipped to undertake missions thousands of miles away from Spanish coasts.
Spanish archeologists have unearthed important finds in Egypt ● Two teams of Spanish archeologists have found important deposits in Egypt in the last few months. The team led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) archeologist José Manuel Galán recently discovered the undisturbed tomb of a highranking archer more than 4,000 years old. Its importance lies in the fact that it is “a unique and surprising find, as it is very rare for archeologists to have the good fortune to discover an intact burial chamber of such antiquity”, explained Galán, who has led seven expeditions for the project. Elsewhere, members of the National Archeological Museum team, led by Carmen Pérez Die, have discovered Pharaonic artifacts from the First Intermediate Period of the Pharaonic Era around 75 miles south of El Cairo.
Casa Asia presents a major collection of the work of photographer Raghu Rai ● Historic documents of a complex country and era. This is a brief description of the photographic work of the Indian Raghu Rai (born 1942, Jhhang, now Pakistan), whose most typical work has now been selected by Casa Asia for the largest exhibition devoted to this photojournalist ever put on in Spain. Almost a hundred large-scale photographs in color and black and white are spread throughout the institution's various exhibition spaces in Barcelona and Madrid thanks to a unique project, entitled “Raghu Rai: Passages to India”, that will be on exhibit in both venues through April
27. The photographs on display cover a crucial period in India's history, from 1964 to 2007. These are images from a photojournalistic perspective, but they have an unmistakable artistic and documentary value, covering the typical daily life of the country and its unknown people as well as events which have marked its recent history such as the Bhopal chemical tragedy of 1984. There are also portraits showing the human face of personalities who have played a key role in the country, such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
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Some unexpected Goya awards TEXT: miradas al exterior. PHOTOS: efe
● There were surprises at the award ceremony for the Goya Prizes awarded annually by the Spanish Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. As was expected, ‘The Orphanage’ carried off seven prizes, though mainly in the technical category. But in the real surprise of the evening, the prizes for Best Film and Best Director went to ‘Solitude’ and its director, Jaime Rosales. The film also featured the Best New Actor, José Luis Torrijo. The veteran actor Alfredo Landa received the honorary Goya. The biggest disappointments were ‘Thirteen Roses’, in spite of winning four Goya Prizes, and ‘Seven French Pool Tables’, which redeemed itself by winning the Best Actress Prize for Maribel Verdú and Best Supporting Actress for Amparo Baró. ‘Beneath the Stars’ brought Best Actor prizes for Alberto San Juan and Best Adaptation for Félix Viscarret. Jaime Rosales, age 37, from Bar-
the prize: creativity and risk ✒ Any selection that creates
winners and losers also, by necessity, pits a diversity of interpretations against one another. Here I would like to briefly make two points that I think have implications, first, for how we conceive of Spanish cinema, and second, for the idea of the Ibero-American community and cooperation. ✒ One. The widespread labeling of “Solitude” as “experimental” is mistaken,
Director Jaime Rosales accepting the Goya Prize for Best Film of the year. EFE.
celona and a movie maker greatly admired in that holy of holies known as the Cannes Festival, where he showed two of his movies, won the three prizes he was nominated for. After his surprising debut four years ago with his first production ‘The Hours in the Day’, Jai-
me Rosales returned to the big screen with ‘Solitude’, a work that deals with how tragedies large and small impact on human relationships. Nobody expected that an independent film with a low budget and shown in an original two-screen format would triumph over the two favorites. Furthermore, his movie had only just opened. In his acceptance speech, Rosales addressed his own generation of parents and their children, urging them to “take them to the movies as young as possible”, and “not just to watch Disney movies, but to introduce them to different films, like Vittorio de Sica's ‘The Bicycle Thief ’”. After the showing of various clips from his movies ‘ Attack at Three o'clock’, ‘Crack’, ‘Love, Spanish Style’ and ‘The Holy Innocents’, recently retired veteran actor Alfredo Landa was presented with the Goya Award of Honor, and was overwhelmed by the plaudits of his peers. The Argentinean film ‘XXY’ won the prize for Best Foreign Film in Spanish.
the support of ALBERTO GARCÍA FERRER. General Secretary of the ATEI in my view. There seems to be some confusion between the searching, and hence risk, involved in any creative act, and a concept of "experimental" which implies an experiment, an attempt, with a view to possible improvements or applications: practice, try-out, exercise, lesson, are just some of the synonyms the dictionary gives for it. But referring to “Solitude” as experimental suggests that this film, winner of the Goya Prize for Best Film, is somehow immature. The fact is that the use of a split screen has a precedent in the cinema of
the sixties, and certainly the original concept can be traced back to Einsenstein's use of montage. “Solitude”, let this be said once and for all, is the product of a creative process, expressed in a strong and mature way, and it is far ahead of mediocre films that never push the boundaries of the most hackneyed narrative conventions. ✒ Two. Jaime Rosales, his production manager María José Díez, and his sound engineer, Eva Valiño, are graduates of the International School of Cinema and Television set up in Cuba by
Gabriel García Márquez. In its first year of existence there are already the beginnings of cooperation with Spain, and the possible creation of an integrated Ibero-American audio-visual space. It is now committed to admitting Spanish students, and has revoked the article of its constitution that specified that only students from Asia, Africa, and Latin America would be admitted. If we look at this as an act of reaching out, of risktaking, like any creative act it can be read in different ways, but above all, it opens up new possibilities for action.
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k s t o .. . w it h t h a n p ra d a A m a n c io t) o u r n a l is ga r c ía (j o b o c ja by
❖ Bastabales, on the Pilgrim Route to Santiago in Noia, has seen its beauty scarred by dense housing development, but when Rosalía de Castro was inspired to write a poem that evoked the sound of its church bells, its dignified, modest and peaceful beauty still held a promise of rural bliss. Those bells rang out again over a centur y later, when a young singer from Bierzo, a student of agricultural business, set Rosalía's verses to music.
❖ After Rosalía he turned to Miguel Hernández, Federico García Lorca, Celso Emilio Ferreiro, Agustín García Calvo, the early Galician and Portuguese troubadours, Saint John of the Cross, the Castillian bard... ❖ The music for the Spiritual Canticle of Saint John of the Cross took him years to write, and the result was one of his most resounding successes. The unearthly beauty of the Carmelite friar's love poetr y inspired Amancio and imbued his song with an aura of mysticism that brings an
He made his debut in Paris at the age of 20. Almost thirty years later, he is still writings songs in which emotion and technique combine to create soaring castles of sound with genuinely poetic lyrics.
❖ That version, Rosalía de Castro (1975), in fact his second record, would have been enough to qualify Amancio Prada (*born Dehesas del Bierzo, León, 1949) for the title of troubadour for our times. However, following that album he went on to arrange a wonderful collection of poetic writing for music, voice and instruments, and it is difficult to say which are the most exquisite, the folk verse or cultured poems, or the sayings in Spanish or Galician.
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other worldly quality to the original poem. ❖ For years, this was his way, and his unerring taste led him to choose the most exquisite writing in both Spanish and Galician (two branches of a single tree) based on criteria that had nothing to do with fashion or ideology. Then he would set them to music, always for his own voice and a small number of instruments, almost invariably guitar, cello and flute, though, oddly, never piano, although he had spent two years studying piano at the Valladolid Conser vator y. And then he would perform them, in his exceptionally clear and sweet voice, in an impeccably refined and original style.
❖ Until he began to write his own lyrics and set them to music. The outcome was a long oratorio, in eight movements, for two solo voices and a chamber orchestra comprising two guitars, flute, violin and cello. The most important innovation in Emboscados (1994) is the appearance of the other leading vocal line, the female voice, in this case belonging to Clara Montes. With her, Amancio sings of the Celtic world, a world of damp forests, myth-shrouded treasures and men and women who meet and tr y to live lives based on values that we have now lost or become detached from. ❖ One of the most characteristic features of his stage presence is his seraphic smile, which seems to express a tranquility of mind rarely found today, but I do not think he wants to persuade us that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Or of anything else. Even his love songs express a kind of nostalgia, an awareness of the passing of time that threatens even love itself. What they don't express is the cult of ugliness that mars so much of what now passes for art. Perhaps they want to tell us that we could live in the best of worlds if we wanted it to be that way. ❖ One proof of the fact that his songs do not set out to flatter us is that they have not always enjoyed success. But really, what does it matter? The important thing is that, in the words of the old song 'Polo margariteño' he heard Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio sing so often, and that they also sing together, “Songs have meaning, / intelligence and reason, / good pronunciation / and instruments for hearing.”
The project's cost is estimated at 30 million Euros and its main goal is to improve the standard of living of the people who live and work at the dump.
Spanish Cooperation closes the largest garbage dump in Latin America TEXT: cristina arenas lópez
● In the district of Acahualinca, which is home to more than 18,000 inhabitants (40% of whom are children), lies the La Chureca garbage dump. Over 1,300 tons of garbage arrive here per day from residences in Managua, as well as from industry and hospitals. It is spread over an area of 40 hectares with a total of 3 million cubic meters of accumulated waste. Here, men, women and children work in sub-human conditions. In addition to the 2,000 people who work there every day (of whom about 50% are under 25 years old and approximately 110 are under 13), over
1000 people live in extreme conditions. The work of some 3000 people is related to the collection, recycling and treatment of garbage, for which they receive salaries of less than 2 dollars per day. In August 2007, the First Vice President of the Government, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, on an official visit to Nicaragua, wanted to learn firsthand about La Chureca and its living conditions and pledged to make improvements. Weeks after this visit, the AECID began on-site preparations for the project in collaboration with Nicaraguan authorities, the Managua Council and residents of Acahualinca and La
Chureca. On January 15 this year, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega together with the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Leire Pajín, launched the comprehensive development project for the Acahualinca-La Chureca district in Managua at the AECID headquarters. This project, which will be carried out in collaboration with the Managua Council, will involve sealing off the La Chureca garbage dump, the largest inhabited dump in Latin America, as well as creating new jobs and decent living conditions for its residents. The project will start this year (2008) and will be carried out in different phases until its completion in 2011. It is a highly innovative project due, on the one hand, to its size and scale, with an estimated cost of 30 million Euros and on the other hand, because of the comprehensive nature of the work, which involves all areas of society (education, health, habitability, governability and economic growth, among others) and Spanish cooperation mechanisms.
● The project consists of three substantial lines of action. Firstly, to improve the living conditions of the people inhabiting the dump, which is the fundamental goal of the project, achieved through its different areas of activity: education (with an allocation of 1.1 million Euros); training (with a grant program for training people in trades and a workshop-based program, (1.1 million Euros), health (2 million Euros), habitability (with an allocation of 8.5 million Euros for the emergency relocation of families, sewer systems, drinking water, lighting and housing improvements), self-development through a system of credits and economic incentives and governability. Secondly, sustainable development alternatives will be put in place with the opening of a new sanitary landfill to properly treat solid waste (8.6 million Euros) and finally, the current dump will be sealed and its grounds will be re-purposed, to the benefit the district's residents (8 million Euros).
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International conference on indigenous communities held in Malaga ● On April 2 and 3, an International Seminar on "Information and Communication Technologies in the Educational Development of Indigenous Communities" is taking place at the School of Educational Sciences at the University of Malaga. This meeting aims to tackle the difficulties faced in educating indigenous communities and the role that technology can play in preserving cultural, biological and linguistic diversity, and in developing educational projects. The seminar is being organized by the Educational Technology Group of Andalusia (GTEA) with the financial backing of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID).
Annual International Cooperation Plan Approved for 2008 ● At the end of January, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the Annual Plan of International Cooperation (PACI) for 2008, placing Official Development Assistance (ODA) this year at 5,509 billion Euros. This will enable Spain to meet the commitment it pledged in the Spanish Cooperation Master Plan (2005-2008) to assign 0.5% of Spain's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to ODA. Latin America will continue to be the priority region for Spanish cooperation and Sub-Saharan Africa will receive double the previous amount. More specifically, this region of Africa will receive over 800 million Euros in 2008 compared with just over 200 million Euros in 2004. The PACI 2008 is developing its general objective of consolidating its public policy into seven directives: the fight against poverty, with specific goals such as improving the amount and quality of ODA towards water and basic sanitation; promoting dialogue and compromise be-
tween the different players, with the specific goal of getting all parties involved in the 2009-2012 Master Plan; policy coherence; improved effectiveness of aid, where one of the goals for 2008 is to set up a new Spanish Association for International Development Cooperation (recently approved by the Council of Ministers); active multilateralism, both selective and strategic, with goals to set up a multilateral strategy and education for development.
Advertisement for the event in Guatemala.
“Y la Palabra se hizo Música”, a journey through Ibero-American singer-songwriting. ● On January 24 at San Carlos University in Guatemala, the exhibition “Y la palabra se hizo música” (And Word Became Music) was opened, after having traveled through various venues in Cartagena de Indias and Bogotá in Colombia during 2007. The exhibition, commissioned by Fernando González Lucini and Javier Lucini, was organized by the Spanish Writers Foundation and the Office of Cultural and Scientific Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, with collaboration from the Spanish Cultural Center and San Carlos University, both located in Guatemala. “Y la Palabra se hizo Música” captures the cultural and social significance of Spanish and Latin American singer-
songwriting over the last 50 years, using the works of a large number of fine artists who illustrated the album art for recordings released during this period. Many of these illustrations are dedicated to the greatest poets and singer-songwriters on both sides of the Atlantic and further show the significance that protest song has had in uniting Ibero-American communities.
The Queen with the Red Cross at Casa África ● On January 28 and 29, Casa África hosted a meeting organized by the Spanish Red Cross bringing together the presidents of National Red Cross Societies from 19 Central and East African countries (Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, The Republic of Guinea, Mali, The Central African Republic, The Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Togo and Ghana). The Spanish Red Cross is carrying out a project to support different National Red Cross Societies in West Africa in order to strengthen their response capacity by renovating and equipping their headquarters, training volunteers, disaster management training and financial training. On the morning of the 28th, Her Majesty the Queen attended the first session, which dealt with the challenges facing Central and East Africa, with the president of the Ivory Coast Red Cross, Monique Coulibaly, as the speaker. Queen Sofía then visited the Anthropological exhibition “El Arte de Vivir, los últimos indígenas” (The Art of Living, the last indigenous peoples), on display in Casa África.
Group photo of the meeting at Casa África.
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The First International Forum on Women and Local Politics
The Prince during his visit to the facilities in Panama.
Inauguration of the Humanitarian Logistics Center in Latin America ● The Prince of Asturias, Don Felipe de Borbón, inaugurated the Humanitarian Logistics Center for Spanish Cooperation in Latin America on Saturday, January 12 in Panama. The creation of this Logistics Center was announced in 2007 by the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, during the 17th Ibero-American Summit held in Chile. Attending the inauguration were President Martín Torrijos Espino and the First Lady, Vivian de Torrijos, in addition to state ministers and representatives of diplomatic bodies and international organizations. The Humanitarian Logistics Center for Spanish Cooperation in Latin America, which is capable of dealing with two crises simultaneously, is the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation's (AECID) response to the search for new logistical solutions to emergency situations caused by all types of disasters and crises in the area. The Logistics Center is an addition to the facility which Spanish Cooperation has maintained at the Torrejón de Ardoz airbase since 2005, when it was handed over by the Ministry of Defense. The optimal location of the new center will enable a reduction in the
costs associated with transporting aid and will shorten the AECID's response time. Likewise, it will help to adapt the aid materials and processes to local requirements. Over the last 4 years, the AECID has dealt with 29 emergencies in Latin America, mostly in the Central American region. Panama was selected as the location to set up the Humanitarian Logistics Center, not only because of its logistical and transportation benefits but also because its convenient geographical location will assist coordination with the countries to which it provides aid, thus guaranteeing more direct and daily contact with the agencies operating in the region. Spanish Cooperation has provided 1 million Euros for supplying the warehouse this year, which means that the amount of inventory and storage space will be gradually increased in accordance with the region's requirements. The Logistics Center will be equipped with protective equipment, sheets, tents or tarpaulins, water treatment equipment, generator sets, as well as basic equipment such as cooking and wash kits and water containers. In 2007, Latin America received 20.7% of the AECID's humanitarian aid, equivalent to over 21 million Euros. The tragedy in August caused by the earthquake in Peru was the most significant bilateral emergency aid operation in 2007. The floods in Mexico, Hurricane Felix in Nicaragua, Tropical Storm Noel in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, among others, all received aid from Spanish cooperation between August and November.
● On February 26 and 27, Cordoba held the First International Forum on Women and Local Politics that brought together female politicians and leaders from Europe, Latin America, the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The forum analyzed initiatives to tackle the challenges created by an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, as well as discussing and sharing plans and networking resources on local issues. The First International Forum on Women and Local Politics was organized by the Andalusian Council Fund for International Solidarity (FAMSI), the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC), the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID), Casa Árabe, the International Foundation for Ibero-American Administration and Public Policies (FIIAP), Córdoba Provincial Council, UNIFEM and the UNDP's ART Initiative.
The AECID, at the Contemporary Art Festival in Madrid ● The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) launched ARCO8, the Arte inVisible (inVisible Art) project at the International Contemporary Art Festival in Madrid. The project aims to bring together a contemporary art show from the members of the agency who have few opportunities to their exhibit art at international venues. Reality often presents us with situations of struggle and poverty coupled with a desire to live a culturally dignified life while protecting our own identity in a world with a great deal of creative diversity. To this end, initiatives linked to the arts and creative processes are being included in the project. This is not a new idea, although it might seem that way; this inclusion actually falls within the parameters of development cooperation. Arte inVisible invites an aesthetic reading,
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The exhibition, ‘After the Tsunami: The Survivors' View’ ● Indonesia was the setting for the largest humanitarian aid operation of all time. The tsunami that lashed the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004 took the lives of over 240,000 people and destroyed the means of living of several generations. Spanish cooperation, coordinated by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and with the involvement of numerous government offices and Autonomous Communities, NGOs, etc. was one of the international players that rapidly deployed their emergency teams after the tsunami. Furthermore, since the beginning of 2005, it has been taking part in the reconstruction of the devastated areas. Three years after the tsunami, the AECID has welcomed the “After the Tsu-
nami: the Survivors' View") exhibition to its headquarters in Madrid. This is a project carried out by Spanish photographer María Heredero and the NGO ‘Vues d’un monde’, in which some of the survivors tell their personal stories through the medium of photography. After attending several photography workshops, 27 members of the communities of Northern Sumatra have become photographers and are able to show us how they are currently living. The work produced is of great value, not only culturally, but also in terms of its documentary value, as the photos capture the huge effort that has been made with the assistance of humanitarian aid, and is witness to the programs which they and their families.
BAPAK ISHAK El señor Jafar está preparando las redes antes de pescar.
Various photographs from the show.
not an exotic interpretation, of the African Art on display at Arco and offers the experience of coming into contact with artists from different parts of the world who can discuss and interact with art projects in Spain. Since its beginnings, Arte inVisible has sought to cast light on the art being produced in Africa. After 3 consecutive years at Arco, this project has been able to consolidate itself, raising its profile and displaying works by 30 artists from 8 African countries, as well as Native American contemporary art, on the international art circuits.
Area Strategies for the Fight Against Poverty ● The Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Leire Pajín, presented the area strategies for Spanish cooperation in the fight against poverty at the headquarters of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). The strategy consists of 11 documents on planning and direction,
El tanque de plancton Windu, es un tipo de gamba que se captura aquí, mejor y más valorada que la gamba tigre.
which set out the goals to be drawn up for Spanish cooperation in different areas, with the involvement and consensus of all parties involved. These strategies target the following areas: health, education for development, humanitarian aid, the fight against hunger, culture and development, cooperation with indigenous communities, gender, governability, peacebuilding, education and the environment. The launch of these strategies marked the end of the planning and reflecting stage, which has been going on since the Master Plan was approved. The strategies make up the conceptual framework of Spanish cooperation. Leire Pajín pointed out that these strategies raise awareness of areas such as the indigenous or Afrodescendent communities, from which the program hopes to learn and incorporate new agents. In this sense, the Secretary remarked that the Culture and Development area strategy is the "new distinguishing feature" of Spanish cooperation, which defends diversity and cultural rights and includes culture as part of development, not only in people's way of life but also from an economic standpoint.
Casa África collaborates with NGO Coordination Bodies in Mainland Spain and the Canaries
● At the beginning of February, Casa África opened its doors to the presidents of non-governmental development agencies whose focus is cooperation in development efforts, both on a national scale (the NGO Coordination Body on Development) and for the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands (NGDO Coordination Body in the Canaries), as well as to Canary Islands NGDO representatives. As part of the meeting’s highlights, Casa África General Director, Alfonso Ortiz, signed the corresponding framework agreements with both of these coordination bodies and requested their collaboration to help improve the work of the institution in charge. After the signing, the president of the Spanish Coordination Body for Non-Governmental Development Organizations, José María Medina, reiterated the importance of the role of an "essential" institution such as Casa África in the heart of Spanish society.
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This is the section where all readers are invited to contribute. a forum where our readers can share reviews of common interest. Institutions, organizations, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC) officers who wish to contribute to this section may submit their work to the following address: Revista “Miradas al exterior”. Dirección General de Comunicación Exterior. Serrano Galvache, 26. 28034 MADRID
dilemmas associated with building a united Europe.
> ‘Two Views on Europe: Decline or Renewal?’, Fidel Sendagorta. Editorial Biblioteca Nueva. Real Instituto Elcano. Fidel Sendagorta is a diplomat and author. During the course of his career he has served in the Spanish Embassies at Tokyo, Havana and Rabat, as well as with the Permanent Delegation to the European Union in Brussels. He is currently the Director of the Office of Foreign Policy Analysis and Forecasting. He is a frequent contributor to the media and to specialized journals of international affairs and is co-editor of BlogEuropa.eu, a forum for discussion on Europe. This essay addresses the current challenges facing Europe from a historical perspective. The development of Europe over the last half century has been a success story, but there are also signs of trouble on the horizon that hint at difficult times to come: the fall in the birth rate, the aging population, the difficult accommodation of Islam within European societies, and the
> ‘Public Sector Employment in Spain’, Director General of Public Services. Madrid. Ministry of Public Administration. General Technical Directorate. 174 pages. The passage of Law 7/April 12, 2007 regarding the Basic Statute governing public employment has brought about a major change in administrative structures and thus justifies the publication of this book, the purpose of which is to provide citizens with information about the new structure of basic regulations relating to public organizations and public sector employment, covering both government service regulations and labor contracts. The reader will also note that, while new standards are still under development, the book covers the new regulations and also includes references to the existing ones that remain in effect pending the aforementioned developments, thus providing legal guarantees and setting out a 'road map' for the process. This added value demonstrates the book's intention to both inform and guide, with a clear, well-organized and concise structure which addresses the whole of the new public employment system and its future developments. As the Secretary General for Public Administration states in the foreword: “we are confident that this book will achieve its aim to be a useful working tool for interested readers”.
> ‘Praying for Rain’, Wojciech Jagielski, Editorial Debate. ‘Praying for Rain’ is the fruit of ten years of traveling in Afghanistan and neighboring countries between the spring of 1992 and the fall of 2001. Wojciech Jagielski, a journalist with the Gazeta Wyborcza--Poland's bestselling newspaper--recounts in a journalist's vivid and lively style the recent history of a country ruined by war, a country that has never accepted foreign domination but which has been unable to unite around any central authority. A whole procession of military leaders, politicians, devout mullahs, ordinary citizens and brave warriors file through these pages, giving us a multifaceted portrait of the country which is at the same time deeply personal, rooted in experience and full of admiration for the people and the landscapes of Afghanistan. > ‘City of Dead Women’, Marcos Fernández and Jean-Christophe Rampal. Editorial Debate In Ciudad Juárez, in the Mexi-
can state of Chihuahua, near the United States border, nearly four hundred women have been murdered since 1993, and to this day fifty of them have never been found. However, more than ten years after the discovery of the first victim, although several suspects have been arrested, the authorities are no nearer to identifying the perpetrators of these murders. Worse still, the crimes continue, at the rate of two victims a month, making Ciudad Juárez the world capital of femicide. French journalists Marcos Fernandez and Jean-Chris-
tophe Rampal carried out this investigation in the heart of the city in search of the main actors involved in the case. The authors go over the various leads in a case that is, unfortunately, far from being closed.
> ‘Troubling Perception’, Anunciada Fernández de Córdova. Editorial Visor. “A travel book based on images; an simple book at first glance, but one that has to be read and reread to appreciate its subtlety”. This is how the second collection of poems
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by Anunciada Fernández de Córdova was described by Gonzalo Santonja, a member of the jury for the “Jaime Gil de Biedma” Prize for Poetry. The author was runner-up at the most recent award ceremony organized every year by the Provincial Government of Segovia, in conjunction with the Segovia City Council and the Council of Castilla y León. Anunciada Fernández de Córdova, a career diplomat who is currently head of the Directorate General of Latin American Multilateral Organizations, has published two novels: ‘Half Moon,' a finalist for the Fray Luis de León Prize for Narrative (1999) and ‘Islands of Time’ (2004). She has also authored a collection of poetry, ‘Of Something Uncertain’ (2004).
> ‘Thinking Dance’, Delfín Colomé. Editorial Turner For decades, Delfín Colomé has been one of the points of reference within the world of dance. In this book, she has compiled a considerable number of articles, collaborative works, lectures and even program notes, through which she seeks to reflect on the art of dance and to show those who are familiar with dance how to make it accessible to
those taking their first steps towards it. A career diplomat, Delfín Colomé has always been involved in the world of music and dance. A critic, a conference speaker, an orchestra conductor, she has held several positions in Spanish embassies and international organizations. She is currently Spanish Ambassador to the two Koreas.
> ‘Women and the United Nations’, Irene Rodríguez Manzano. Los Libros de la Catarata. When the States that took part in the San Francisco Conference signed the United Nations Charter, not only did they reaffirm their “belief in the fundamental rights of man”, they also endorsed “the equal rights
of men and women”. From that time, the organization has actively worked for the advancement of women as part of its global commitment to maintaining peace, fostering economic and social development, and promoting human rights. The author, Irene Rodríguez Manzano, has a Doctorate in Political Science and holds the Chair in International Relations at the School of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Santiago de Compostela. Set out in chronological sequence, this book analyzes the history of these activities, beginning with the initial efforts to guarantee equal rights for men and women and ending with developments since the Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing. Her analysis aims to show the decisive role the United Nations has played in acknowledging and facilitating women's efforts to improve the lives of all human beings in a changing and unstable world.
> ‘Quorum. Latin Americana Review’. University of Alcalá de Henares Spanish foreign policy is the main theme of the latest issue of Quorum, edited by Celestino del Arenal, Professor of International Relations at Complutense University in Madrid. The other writers addressing this topic are José Antonio Sanahuja, Director of the Department of Development and Cooperation of the Complutense Institute of International Studies (ICE); Cástor Díaz Barrado, Director of the Center for
Latin American Studies of Rey Juan Carlos University; Caterina García, a professor at Pompeu Fabra University; Esther Barbé, Professor of International Relations at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Director of the Observatory of European Foreign Policy; Laia Mestres, a researcher from the University Institute of European Studies and member of the Observatory of European Foreign Policy; Fernando Delage, Director of the Casa Asia Centre in Madrid; Francisco Oda-Ángel, a professor at Rey Juan Carlos University, and Paloma González del Miño, Professor of International Relations at the Complutense University in Madrid. The journal's editor, Manuel Guedán, defends the independence of Spanish foreign policy in his Letter to the Readers. As in previous issues, there are also Roberto Goycoolea's Architectural Columns; a Dialogue on Language, produced by Caridad Plaza and the Mexican writers Jorge Volpi and Mario Bellatín; two news articles by Juan Pablo De Laiglesia with An Overview of Spain's Cooperation Policy, and Francisco Javier Giraldo and Olmedo Vargas on the Free Trade Treaty between the United States and Columbia.
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> ‘The Cold War’, Álvaro Lozano. Editorial Melusina. The Cold War was a turbulent period in international relations that, on several occasions, brought the human race to the brink of a nuclear abyss. But it was also a lengthy period of peace, when the players knew and respected the rules of the game, despite continual fighting in all corners of the globe. Writing with clarity and economy, the diplomat and historian Álvaro Lozano analyzes this crucial epoch of the 20th Century and shows how it has left an indelible mark on the new millennium. Álvaro Lozano, who is a frequent contributor to specialized history journals in Spain and abroad, is the author of ‘Operation Redbeard’, ‘The German Invasion of Russia’, ‘Kursk, 1943’ and ‘The Decisive Battle’.
> ‘Africa’, Vanguardia Dossier (Issue 26. January/March 2008) The latest monograph of the special supplement produced by the Catalan press La Vanguardia focuses on an analysis of the African continent, and specifically on the woes of Sub-Saharan Africa. Hence, the succession of
negative events makes it inevitable that the supplement's authors should ask the question, "why does the African continent seem to be a repository of all ills?" And they find a number of answers. One reason might be the collapse of the State; another, regional tensions; a third explanation for Africa's problems might lie in the devastating consequences of diseases such as AIDS. Nevertheless, there are positive things happening in Africa. One of them is the fact that 40 percent of African states have democratically elected governments. All of which means, the report concludes, that the developed world is in a position to do for Africa what the United States did for Europe after 1945. And the main European countries are taking steps to make this happen.
> ‘Necessary Lies. The Battle for British Public Opinion during the Spanish Civil War’, Hugo García. Editorial Biblioteca Nueva. This is the first study in monograph form of the efforts made by the two conflicting sides in the Spanish Civil War to win over British public opinion. Aiming to gain the support of what was then the greatest European power, and one that was officially neutral in the conflict, both Governments spent vast sums of money and set up a complicated network of propaganda organizations, with the crucial help of their allies abroad (Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, on the Nationalist side; the Soviet Union on the Republican side). In spite of the minimal influence these bodies had on the policy of the Cabinet in London,
which eventually recognized the Franco government in February of 1939, the marks left by these campaigns on English society can still be traced today. Following exhaustive research in the archives of four countries, and buttressed by an extensive bibliography, the author, who is a researcher working in the Complutense University's Department of the History of Ideas and Social and Political Movements, has devoted his first book to an apparently inexhaustible genre, and within that genre, to a single aspect (perhaps the most modern one) of that total war known as the Spanish Civil War.
> ‘Social Cohesion in Latin America: Some Unresolved Issues’, Latin American Thought (Number 1) Fundación Carolina y AECID. The first issue of the journal Latin American Thought focuses on the theme of “Social Cohesion in Latin America: some unresolved issues” and was officially inaugurated in Santiago, Chile during the Seventeenth Ibero-American Summit. Later it was presented at the Casa de América in Madrid, in a ceremony conducted by Leire Pajín, Secretary of State for International Cooperation. Sharing the platform were José Luis Machinea, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Francisco Rojas, Secretary General of FLACSO, and Soledad Gallego, Deputy Editor of the El País newspaper. The journal's first issue is devoted to the theme of Social Cohesion in Latin America and also deals with related matters such as democracy and governance within the region, and the role of elites and society
in Latin American crises. Among the authors are José Luis Machinea (ECLAC), Álvaro Espina and Rebeca Grynspan (UNDP). The second part of the journal contains articles by ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, María Teresa Gallego (UAMAutonomous University of Madrid) and Julián Salas (CSIC- Higher Council for Scientific Research). Among other topics, they discuss globalization and consider issues of gender equity and basic living conditions in Latin America.
> ‘War and Peace’, Charles Philippe David. Editorial Icaria While presenting the various schools of thought and interpretation of the international system, ‘War and Peace’ directs its readers' attention to topics such as the new terrorism, the crisis of fragile States and the discussion surrounding the promotion of democracy, the debate over preemptive strikes and the marginalization of International Law. This book will be especially valuable for academics, students, government officials, diplomats, members of nongovernmental organizations, and journalists.
interview He considers himself, first and foremost, a professor, an instructor who would much rather be teaching classes. In spite of this, the director of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language has amassed an impressive research résumé and he has led-both as an academic, in close collaboration with the Royal Academy's former director Lázaro Carreter, and as director of the organization--the modernization of the nearly 300 year-old institution. Based on modern technology and recent linguistic trends, Víctor García de la Concha explained that the Academy's greatest task today is to strengthen the unity of the language on both sides of the Atlantic, and he has begun to work "side by side" and "on equal footing" with the corresponding academies throughout Latin America to ensure adequate focus on this important undertaking. It is a true pan-Hispanic linguistic policy, one that goes hand-in-hand with that of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. There are so many objectives, he confessed, that it would be impossible to discuss them all, but two in particular stand out: the upcoming edition of a complete Grammar of the Spanish language and continued work on the Historical Dic-
tionary of the Spanish Language. This, of course, is in addition to the continual updating of the Royal Academy's Spanish Language Dictionary--the 23rd printed edition is to be released in 2013, in time for the 300th anniversary of the Royal Academy.
He insists that language belongs to the people and that the work of the Academy is, in essence, that of a record-keeper: registering what speakers of the language already know to be correct and incorrect. Thus, he assures us, he keeps his eyes and ears wide open.
We have to keep our ears and our eyes wide open to hear what is being said and to see what is being written
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BY: luis sánchez pérez PHOTOGRAPHY: julia robles
— I see you occupy an impressive office-an office filled with history. — Yes, this has been the director's office for ages. This building was inaugurated in 1894. The Academy's first headquarters was located in the palace of the Marquis of Villena himself, the founder of the academy, and later in some offices of the Royal Palace. Indeed, the Academy enjoyed has royal sponsorship since its inception. Later it was relocated to what is now the headquarters of the Science Academy, on Velarde Street. Finally, during the second half of the 19th century, the monarchs donated land from the Buen Retiro holdings for the construction of this building, which was designed specifically to house the Academy. — This is a building of contrasting traditions, not unlike the Academy's motto itself: “It cleans, sets and gives splendor”. — This motto is a reflection of 18th century linguistic ideals, as the Academy will be three centuries old in 2013. At that time its creators were aware of the fact that the language had grown significantly and, furthermore, had just experienced the two centuries of the golden age. Thus, the time had come to set or freeze the language at that climactic level, to attempt to defend it from impurities that did not befit the nature of the language, and to promote its splendor. Actually, our Academy was based largely on the guidelines established by the French, and even the Italian academies, the latter being the first established for the preservation of a language. Of course, the field of linguistics has changed significantly since that time.
— So, if it were up to you, would you change the motto, and adapt it to more modern times? — Before I answer your question, allow me to first explain an event that, in my opinion, is one of the most important in the history of the Academy. One of the most transcendent effects the institution has had on Spanish culture and society was the promotion of corresponding language academies in each of the nascent Latin American republics, following the independence of what had been our overseas provinces. During those years, there was something of an outbreak of linguistic independence that focused principally on the idea of creating an academy of what we could call American Spanish--different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. This was, of course, a misguided notion, as the supposed differences were not grounded in reality. However, we were incredibly fortunate that some of the great promoters of American independence were also superb linguists--Andrés Bello for example--and it was these individuals who confronted this linguistic independence movement, arguing that although they had risen up against a bad Spanish government, the Spanish language was as much theirs as it was ours--a shared legacy, so to speak. — So, a linguistic rift was avoided. — Fortunately, yes. And it was then that the Spanish Academy decided to promote the establishment of corresponding academies in the new American republics. To do this, it wisely chose individuals with social importance and intellectual prestige in each of these countries, a brilliant move that continues to this day. — What exactly do you mean? — When I first had occasion to visit the American academies, it struck me that many of their members had been presidents, ministers, or ambassadors for their respective countries... This is a tradition that hails back to those initial years. Those corresponding academies, which began to be established in 1870, were united into an association--the Association of Spanish Language Academies, in 1951, through an initiative of Mexican President Miguel Alemán. The first congress, the constitutional congress, was
held in Mexico, but the Spanish Academy was unable to attend, due to the fact that the Spanish government, which had barred relations with the Mexican government, placed the condition that Mexico expel the government-in-exile of the former Spanish Republic--a feat that did not, of course, lie within the power of the Academy or its constituents. — But going back to the original question. Would you change the motto? — Don't worry, I'll get to that. The second Academy Association congress was held in Spain in 1956. It was at this conference that Dámaso Alonso answered the very question you asked me. He said, in effect, that the motto "Purify, fix, and give splendor" was a reflection of 18th century linguistic ideas and that if we were to look for a new motto today, it should vouch for unity in the Spanish language and close collaboration among all the corresponding academies. Remember that there are 22 academies working on equal footing, even though the Spanish academy takes the role of "first among equals". — We're talking about 1951, but circumstances today are very different, especially due to the explosion of modern media, new technology… — Honestly, in 1951, opportunities for contact among the Academies were limited. However, today, new technology has provided us with instant, very fluid communication, which is evidenced by the fact that we've been working on what we call pan-Hispanic linguistic policy for the past 10 or 12 years. This is, in my opinion, the most important task to be undertaken by the Royal Academy and we are working very closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Allow me, if you will, to mention one other thing. The Royal Academy is the only Spanish institution that has continued its labors, without interruption, unaffected by wars, revolts, and other events, since the 18th century--an achievement that is not without merit, not without substance or significance. — What, specifically, does this pan-Hispanic policy address? — It consists of the three great codes that sustain and express the unity of the Spanish language; that is, the Dictionary,
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which is the lexical code, the Grammar, and the Orthography. Each of these works is the fruit of the academies acting as a whole and each is created and updated by the association as a group. This is not to say that the Spanish Academy creates them and the others approve them; rather, each of the academies is strongly involved in their creation. — Are all the Academies active participants? — Yes, of course. An example here is worth a thousand words: Next Sunday (this interview was held on January 22) representatives from the eight Spanish linguistic regions--that is, Chile, River Plate, the Andean Region, the Continental Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, the United States, and the Philippines and the Antilles, as well as Spain--will attend a retreat at the Parador de Segovia hotel. There we will have a week to prepare the new edition of the Grammar of the Spanish Language, which we have been working on for over 10 years, and whose basic text was approved at the 8th Congress of the Academy Association held in Medellín in March of last year. And there we will be, working side by side. — What are some of the highlights of the new grammar? — We are now in the editing phase of a work that, in its reference version, will cover the Spanish language in its entirety for the first time in the history of the Grammar. Up to this point, the various grammars published by the Academy were specific to the Spanish language as spoken in Spain, but this new edition will cover the Spanish language as a whole. This becomes crucial once we realize that Spanish as spoken in Spain makes up only one tenth of the language. Furthermore, it will be a very detailed Grammar--something like a huge relief map--and the longest version, the reference version, will consist of some 3,400 pages, to be published in two or three volumes. Later, a 600-or-so page shortened version will be published as well as an even shorter version--sort of a digest, you could say. This is an example of putting the panHispanic linguistic policy into practice. But there is more, since at the same time we
are continuously working on updating the Dictionary, which is becoming more and more a work covering the Spanish language as a whole and not just the Spanish of Spain. And we are doing all this in order to unify the Spanish language. So, we are now putting into practice what Dámaso Alonso was advocating back in 1956. — You yourself stated, with regard to the Medellín Congress, that those in attendance were surprised at the unity that is still present in the Spanish language. Would it be safe to say that modern media in an increasingly globalized world is driving this unity? Are we losing variety? — We have discovered an important fact: between 90 and 92% of the entire Spanish lexicon is common to all Spanish speakers. That is an enormous amount
I would like to point out that the language itself is not growing weaker, because every day it continues to gain strength and vitality...all around the world.
and it allows you to travel from the Rio Grande to Patagonia and be able to communicate quite normally. The greatest variation in vocabulary is found in the names of foods, fruits, and other small areas, but everything else is the same. We have also discovered that unity in grammar, the grammatical bond, is very deep and very wide--much more so, in fact, than we originally thought. I would say that these studies really force us to finally look beyond the idea of a Spain Spanish and an American Spanish. The division is not between Spain and America, especially in light of the fact that the language spoken in Andalucía or the Canary Islands, for example, is much closer to that spoken in America than the language spoken in, say, Burgos. That is, on the map of what we call isoglosses, the division should not be drawn between Spain and America, but some other way. With regard to globalization phenomena, we have found that many do play a significant role, including ease of communication, the ability to watch the same television programs, soap operas, etc. We also have to remember immigration, since there are currently about 600,000 Ecuadoreans working in Spain, for example. All these factors lead to a phenomenon known technically as language neutralization, in the sense that language variation diminishes and unity grows. I would like to point out that the language itself is not growing weaker, because every day it continues to gain strength and vitality through the creation of new meanings for known terms and the addition of new terms all around the world. — Of course. You yourself have stated time and again that the language belongs to the people. — The Academy's first and foremost role is to act as an observatory for the evolution of the Spanish language. To do that, we have an enormous database that consists of some 500 million lexical entries. What we do is keep our ears and our eyes wide open to hear what is being spoken and to see what is being written, and then we simply take note--as record-keepers, so to speak. We record what the people themselves, in their constant construction and
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One of the most transcendent effects the Academy has had on Spanish culture and society was promoting the creation of the Latin American academies. If we were to look for a new motto for the Academy today, it should vouch for unity in the Spanish language and close collaboration among all the corresponding academies. modification of the language, consider to be correct or incorrect, or what may be correct at a certain level of communication while incorrect in another. Thus, we are able to specify whether a given term is correct in everyday conversation but incorrect in formal communication or a formal speech. This is the reason the Dictionary contains those frequently overlooked symbols that indicate whether a term is considered slang, colloquial, obscene... — But, don't you feel that the language has begun to evolve more rapidly, due to the enormous influence of modern media? Instant messaging on mobile phones would be one example. You have stated that the Academy is considering creating a table of abbreviations for these types of messages. — There seems to have been some confusion regarding that statement. Perhaps I did not explain myself well, or I was misunderstood. These types of messages act as a system of abbreviations that each user creates at his or her discretion, and actually, we feel that it would be impossible to create an accurate table of this sort. These abbreviations can be as individual as the users themselves. Think about the personal nature of the notes people take during an interview, a conference, or a class in school. Longer messages, on the other hand--email for example--are a different matter altogether. When I mentioned this, I was actually referring to orthography, which, although it does have a scientific basis, is not a science in and of itself, but rather a convention. Orthography is more than simply a
phonetic device, because it has a lot to do with writing, and it is important to realize that it was, in fact, designed for handwriting--for the pen, so to speak. — But today, most people use computerized means for writing. — Exactly, and that is why it is so important for us to study instances of this type of writing through digital technology to determine whether or not the writers are in fact holding to standards of their own creation--standards that have come to be accepted by the users themselves. Therefore, it is crucial for us to remain open to the existence of these new forms of writing, because they do follow conventions, and it is our job to catalog them, study them, attempt to compile them, observe which ones persist... — One of the principal deficiencies of the Spanish language is its lack of presence in the scientific and technological world, according to a fairly general school of thought. How can the Academy best respond to this challenge? — There are several things it can do. We start by recognizing that there has always been a predominant international communication language. First it was Latin, then Italian, then French, and now English. — The lingua franca. — The unfortunately named lingua franca. It is important to clarify that this refers to two separate ideas. One is the lingua franca used for international communication--that used, for example, by the average traveler in an airport wanting to know from which terminal his or her plane will
be leaving. It is a language built from very heterogeneous elements, a very limited language, and one that has very little to do with, say, Oxford English. Scientific language, in which English very clearly predominates, is an entirely different matter. Here we could make significant progress if, in the first place, we had exact terminology for scientific terms and used them in a united fashion throughout the Spanish-speaking world. We are doing a lot in this area. In fact, we have created a commission that is responsible for setting terminology. We are providing unification criteria in order to establish this terminology appropriately, because translating every technical term to Spanish differently would constitute a significant barrier to uniting the language. — An inevitable task, I'm sure. — It will be a significant advancement if we are able to translate the technical terms used in scientific language from various languages--principally English-into Spanish. It is also an attempt to promote the use of Spanish among scientists. In this regard, we have found one statistic that may or may not be significant, but I believe it is. The 2006 data for exports of books written in Spanish, which showed a significant increase of 30%, indicates that the numbers of books on medicine and technical subjects has continued to rise. That should be the focus of our work. However, it is understandable that, due to language economy, people attempt to get maximum performance with the least
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Between 90 and 92% of the entire Spanish lexicon is common to all Spanish speakers. The grammatical bond is very strong as well, much more so than we originally thought. We could make significant progress regarding scientific language, much more than we realize, if we had exact terminology that could be used in a united fashion throughout the Spanish-speaking world. amount of effort when communicating; and therefore, if it is feasible to work in only one or two languages, that is much better than attempting to work in four or five. — I believe the Academy's plans include the creation of a spelling/grammar checker for Microsoft computers. — Actually, the Academy is on very good terms with Microsoft. Allow me to share a story about how this whole idea came to be. During one of Bill Gates' trips to Spain, he came and visited the Academy. Prior to this occasion, Juan Luis Cebrián had warned me that Mr. Gates has an absolutely splendid library and is himself an avid bibliophile. So we pulled a few "gems" from our own library for his enjoyment. While we were in the Academy's plenary hall, Bill Gates asked what we did in our plenary sessions. We explained that every Thursday we meet to set the language and to carry out our work with records of the standards created by the people. I noticed that this statement had a profound effect on him, and he replied: So why am I making three different types of Spanish language products? — Good question. — I told him that that was exactly the question I was going to ask him at the end of our visit. Since that time, we have had very good relationship with Microsoft, and they have asked us to test their Spanish spelling/grammar checker, to help them out with that. We have a fledgling department of computational linguistics, of which we are very proud, and in fact, one of their duties
is to work on spelling and grammar checkers. What is happening is that we have many projects underway and we cannot take them all on at the same time. — How large a staff does the Academy have to work on its projects? — There are approximately 20 people working at headquarters. But the Academy also has a Study Center, located in a separate building, that has about 80 employees. We work hard, but we just don't have time for everything. — In my opinion, this would be an extremely important project, as today most work is done on computers. The fact is, people are writing less and less by hand. You almost get the impression that writing by hand is pretty close to becoming obsolete, or at most only marginally used. — It won't become obsolete--I am sure that the joy of writing by hand will be rediscovered, just like the pleasure of reading printed books will be rediscovered. I am quite certain that we will be seeing more and more great reference works in electronic format, but the magic of printed books and paper will never be lost. — And that is exactly why I was saying that a good computer-based spelling/ grammar checker is essential. — Of course, of course, and we are certainly working on that. But at the moment we are focused on many other things as well, some as significant as the creation of the new Grammar--which currently occupies most of our time--and the Historical Dictionary. — Speaking of the Historical Dictionary,
I have the impression that this is a longterm project that you have already been working on for some time. — There have been two previous attempts to create this dictionary, both naturally in printed format. The second project, which was approved in the 1950s, was an extremely ambitious project--nothing less than the drafting of a history of every single word, from every country, every time period, and at every level. Naturally, the three volumes that the Academy was able to publish are massive works, but we did some calculations and reached the conclusion that we wouldn't be able to finish it for another 200 years; in the meantime, linguistics has changed and today, historical dictionaries are done a lot differently. — Could you tell me exactly how the criteria have changed? — The new Historical Dictionary will be based on advanced linguistic concepts. We have chosen what is known informally as the "onion method", based on the layers that make up an onion, and consists of beginning with a core of the 50,000 most frequently used words, and after some 15 years, add progressively more and more terms. The point is not to create a perfect, closed work. Our objective is to place the core of the language in the hands of scholars and other interested individuals, and then provide them with all of our material as it continues to grow--a task that has become much easier with the advent of computing. Fundamentally, it is similar to what we
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have already done with the Dictionary, which is on our web page and which gets progressively updated as modifications are approved. This is important because the Dictionary currently receives some 750,000 queries per day. — An impressive statistic, without a doubt. — It is absolutely crazy. The method itself is actually quite interesting, as we allow the general public to look up any word, and the web page will show the definition that appears in the current edition as well as any possible modifications that have been approved for the next edition. This allows people to use the very latest, cutting-edge version of the Dictionary. This means that our work becomes immediately available to the world, because we are an institution designed as a service to the people. — A live and up-to-the-minute service, no less. By the way, when are you planning to release the next printed edition of the Dictionary? — In 2013, in time for the 300th anniversary of the Academy. — If it's all right with you, I would like to ask you about your professional life. You have a doctorate in philology from the University of Oviedo and you also have a degree in theology. I have to confess that it is the latter that interests me the most. — That is correct. I completed my ecclesiastical studies and received a bachelor's degree in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome--a very important academic institution and the first ecclesiastical university in the world. — Is that where you found your love for the mystic poetry of San Juan de la Cruz and Santa Teresa? — Not exactly. My love for the mystics and mysticism came after I finished my ecclesiastical studies. It started in '73 or '74, while I was teaching at the University of Valladolid and a colleague of mine, Teófanes Eguido--a Carmelite and professor of Modern History--asked me to write a short article on Teresian literature. I promised to write it, but being somewhat unfamiliar with that particular topic, I began an in-depth study of Santa Teresa and her work. I never did write the article,
but the fruit of my studies can be found in my book "El arte literario de Santa Teresa" (The Literary Works of Santa Teresa). — Sort of a literary conversion, you could say. — I had discovered an absolutely fascinating world. At the time I was studying 20th century Spanish poetry and I made another discovery: I realized that it had been the great French symbolist poets that had truly discovered the poetry of San Juan de la Cruz and Santa Teresa. Poets like Mallarmé had found in these two mystics a perfect model for their symbolist lyric poetry. Naturally, my ecclesiastical studies were helpful, because, superficially, religion forms the underlying ideology of most of this poetry, although not so much from a literary perspective. However, I approached my study of the mystics from a strictly literary standpoint. — As a professor, you have had many opportunities. You have taught at universities such as Murcia, Valladolid, Zaragoza, and finally Salamanca. What are some of your most memorable experiences from those years? — For example, in Zaragoza I was given the opportunity to start up a Department of Literature; I think that was one of my most satisfactory projects. I went to Salamanca on the recommendation of Fernando Lázaro Carreter, a great friend of mine. Who would have thought, at the time, that we would both end up working at the Royal Academy and that I would end up working so closely with him during his time as director of the institution! — Why Salamanca, and not Madrid, for example? — Fernando told me that I should go to Salamanca because it was the best university for literary studies, it had excellent connections with other universities, and there I would have access to a marvelous library. It was excellent advice, and I ended up teaching at Salamanca for no less than 29 years. That certainly makes me an old man, doesn't it--I now have grandchildren that have become professors. That is, some of my students' students are now teaching at universities. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of associate professors have
studied at Salamanca. The University of Salamanca has always produced and has always done its best to produce excellent Spanish language and literature professors, and continues to do so today. — It seems to me that you consider yourself, first and foremost, a professor. — Yes, first and foremost, yes. I have done research, and continue to do research, but I always did enjoy being a professor and teaching classes. I have colleagues who would much rather do research, and I admit that research is an essential part of university work, but I personally prefer to teach. Furthermore, I built my career from the bottom up; I started as what was then known as a middle-level adjunct professor, after which I became an associate professor, and finally a tenured professor. The body of associate professors has always been wonderful, although it has gotten somewhat out of shape as of late, which is a shame. We have always had quite a few associate professors here at the academy. — You have also overseen the publication of book collections at various publishing houses, and you were even director of the literary magazine "Ínsula". — Collaboration with professors of language and literature is actually fairly common among publishing houses for the publication of certain collections. I was asked by Ignacio Bayón, who was director of Espasa Calpe publishers at the time, to oversee the re-release of the Austral collection as well as the Clásicos Castellanos (Spanish Classics) collection. This led to the publication of the complete works of authors such as Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Miguel Hernández... During that time, I became very interested in revitalizing the Austral collection, and adapted many of the works for school use. I did a lot of very in-depth work there. "Ínsula", on the other hand, was a publication oriented toward professors and focused on literature studies. I worked as director of the publication until I joined the Academy. When I was named director of the Academy, I left, because I felt that my new position required complete dedication.
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With Ana María Matute on the day she became a member of the Royal Academy. / Together with Microsoft President Bill Gates, at the signing of a collaboration agreement in Madrid / Visit by former Spanish President José María Aznar to the Institution headquarters. / With Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero / Together with poet Ángel González during a ceremony at the University of Oviedo / Presentation of the year 2000 Prince of Asturias Awards for Concord to the directors of the 22 Spanish Language Academies in Spain, Latin America, the United States, and the Philippines.
Born in Villaviciosa, Asturias on January 2, 1934, Víctor García de la Concha received a doctorate degree in philology from the University of Oviedo and a degree in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. ● A doctor summa cum laude, he built his professional career from the bottom up, starting as a middle-level adjunct professor and later becoming an associate professor and finally a tenured professor. ● García de la Concha has taught in the universities of Murcia, Valladolid, and Zaragoza, but the majority of his time was spent at the University of Salamanca where he taught for 29 years, starting in 1979. ● His research has been focused fundamentally on two time periods: Spanish works of the Renaissance period and Spanish poetry of the 20th century. Some
of his most important works include studies of 16th century mystic literature and his books on the two great Spanish mystics, San Juan de la Cruz and Santa Teresa de Jesús. ● He has also written several papers on Nebrija, Garcilaso de la Vega, Fray Luis de León, Pérez de Ayala--to whom his doctoral thesis was dedicated, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Antonio Machado, and others. ● Especially interesting are his
studies on Spain's literary vanguard and his book titled "El surrealismo español" (Spanish Surrealism). He has also spearheaded several cultural initiatives, including the Encuentros de Verines (Verines Encounters), which brings together writers of all languages spoken in Spain. ● His teaching work has taken full advantage of modern media, as illustrated by his multimedia course "Viaje al español" (Spanish Trav-
els), produced by Televisión Española and the University of Salamanca and designed to teach Spanish to foreigners. ● He was elected a member of the Royal Academy in November of 1991, occupying the lower-case "c" chair. In 1998 he was named director of the institution. ● He has received many awards, academic recognitions, and honorary doctorate degrees from various Spanish and foreign universities.
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