Spanish represents nowadays a force of incredible wealth whose value takes their strength from three factors. On one hand, its powerful demographics: it is the fourth most spoken language in the world behind the Chinese, English and Hindi and the number of Spanish speakers worldwide will soon cross the edge of 500 million; then, its increasingly appreciated functionality: as a language of international communication, Spanish occupies a key place in the international arena while the doors of the professional future of all those who study it opens; and last, but not least, its renewed cultural prestige: Spanish is the ideal vehicle to access an enormously rich cultural heritage generated by all Spanish-speaking countries in all its expressions: literature, art, film …
Spanish has enormous potential that goes beyond culture. It is a language in expansion, both in the cultural field and in the business contexts. Countries like the United States, Brazil, Morocco, Russia or even China, have millions of citizens and businessmen who speak Spanish, all of it meaning new opportunities for our companies to expand networking for business. Spanish has come to be also one of the main tools of our economic diplomacy, in terms of institutions or enterprises.
The Cervantes Institute in Bucharest celebrates this year its 20 years of activity in the Romanian capital and represents a place that promotes an open dialogue of languages through its three areas of activity: cultural, academic and library. The figures that accompany its activity are a strong indicator of its permanent work of building bridges between the two cultures. The Cervantes Institute has consolidated and enriched its academic and cultural offer by including in its programs the co-official languages of Spain and the diversity of its cultures. The Cervantes Institute in Bucharest recorded in the last academic year more than 1,600 students and over 600 candidates registered for the international examinations of (DELE) – diplomas of international recognition of the Spanish knowledge level – and starting of this year a major renewal process of DELE has been launched both regarding the structure of calls, test management and delivery of qualifications. Since January 2014 the number of examination sessions in Romania has increased to four calls per year (April, May, July and November), instead of the previous three, in the 14 DELE examination centers in the country, with the aim of responding to the growing demand and reaching a wider audience.
The Academic Department of the Cervantes Institute continues to organize training courses for teachers of Spanish in Romania and Moldova, with the support of the Casa Corpului Didactic and the Romanian Ministry of Education.
As for the Cultural Department, out of the nearly 150 cultural activities programmed this year, the Cervantes Institute in Bucharest underlined the celebration of Cervantes biennium through a number of activities including the “Cervantes Week” that shined and the star-event through the public reading of Don Quixote and the concert of Zarabanda early music group dedicated to Cervantes. In fact, this concert is part of a series of musical performances titled Hispano-Romanian Musical Confluences, a program that is organized in collaboration with leading institutions in the country for years now. In this line of traditional programs one can also find the collaborations in the program Cinema Edu, that is an education program through cinematography aiming at the youth audience in schools and colleges. A constant vector of our cultural offer is represented by the flamenco dimension (i.e. the Ultra High Flamenco concerts and the up-coming jazz flamenco with Dorantes on the 24th of October at the Radio Hall) and a series of dialogues in literature (guests like José María Merino, Valerie Miles, Enrique Redel – Mircea Cartarescu´s Spanish publisher – have visited us in the first semester; our guests for the last quarter include historian José Antonio Lisbona and the young writer Ivan Repila). As a member of the EUNIC cluster in this capital, the Cervantes Institute participates in all the events organized by this cluster throughout the year: Night of the Cultural Institutes, the European Day of Languages or the Night of European Literature in Bucharest.
As a consequence of its increasing prestige, the Cervantes Institute in Bucharest has signed an important number of agreements for academic co-operation with educational and cultural institutions in Romanian, both public and private, and is a partner in several currently ongoing projects with other European partners.
Last but not least, our Library – named of the Spanish poet Luis Rosales – is being continuously updated not only in terms of bibliographical registers, online catalogs, e-books, audiobooks, etc., but also in terms of new technologies that have been incorporated in its registers. This makes the Luis Rosales Library the largest center of bibliographical resources in Spanish in the whole of Romania. It is worth mentioning that the Cervantes Institutes is participating every year in the International Book Fair “Bookfest”, always with support of the Ministry of Culture, Education and Sport of Spain.
It is so encouraging to be able to say that the future of the Spanish language and culture is as promising as the future of our society is, reflecting its characteristics: dynamic, active, demanding, evolving, always with an eye on the future and at the same time praising and incorporating in its present its fertile cultural memory.