Spanish Resource Centre officially inaugurated at Glendon

The Spanish Resource Centre (SRC) on York’s Glendon campus, which was officially inaugurated Nov. 21, is what Glendon Hispanic Professor Esther Raventós-Pons calls an exciting educational and recreational opportunity for students.

Created in 2001, the SRC was previously housed in Vanier College. It is supported by Spain’s Ministry of Education, Social Policy & Sport in collaboration with York University and its Glendon campus. Much of the background preparation and negotiations for the centre’s transfer to Glendon from the Keele campus were the work of Spanish ambassador to Canada Mariano Alonso Burón and Raventós-Pons, former chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies who was recently named Comendadora de la Orden del Mérito Civil by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Right: Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts (left); Sheila Embleton, York vice-president, academic & provost; and Spanish Ambassador Mariano Alonso Burón sign the Letter of Understanding

“I am very excited about the Spanish Resource Centre’s presence here at Glendon,” said Raventós-Pons. “The conferences, symposia and workshops presented will enhance and develop [the students’] knowledge of Spanish life, language and cultures.” The centre’s mandate is to organize seminars and workshops related to teaching and research of the Spanish language and culture. There are a multitude of resources on topics concerning language, culture, art, literature and history of the Spanish-speaking world.

“We believe that a centre such as this is the beginning of the expansion of Spanish culture across Canada,” said Burón. “Cultures thrive in their connection with others. While during [Francisco] Franco’s time Spain was an island, today we make every effort to reach out across the world. It is our hope that the centre will be a meeting place for different people and different cultures.”

Left: Spanish ambassador to Canada Mariano Alonso Burón (left); Professor Esther Raventós-Pons of Glendon’s Department of Hispanic Studies; and the keynote speaker Professor Pere Salabert of the University of Barcelona

The keynote lecture, at the official opening, by Pere Salabert, a prominent professor of art, esthetics and theory from the University of Barcelona, was a provocative presentation titled “Notes on Spanish Contemporary Art: From Metaphysical Esthetics to Sarcology.” Salabert gave insight into the current production of Spanish art against the background of a comprehensive overview of representative art works of Western culture from Renaissance painters Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, to 20th-century Catalan painter and sculptor Joan Miró and beyond.

“This is only the beginning,” said Raventós-Pons with enthusiasm. “Teachers, professionals, students and the community at large will gather here to exchange ideas and gain enrichment for many years to come, thanks to the presence of the Spanish Resource Centre.”

Jerzy Kowal, chair of Glendon’s Department of Hispanic Studies hosted the evening. There was a list of participating officials reading like a who’s who of Toronto’s Spanish community and York University’s administration, including Jacobo Gutiérrez, Spain’s education and science attaché to Canada ; Jorge Luengo, director of the SRC at the Spanish Embassy; Sheila Embleton, York’s vice-president academic & provost ; Adrian Shubert, York associate vice-president international; and Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts.

Above: Jorge Luengo, director of the Spanish Resource Centre, Spanish Embassy; Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts; Sheila Embleton, York vice-president academic & provost; Spanish Ambassador Mariano Alonso Burón; Adrian Shubert, York associate vice-president international; and Jacobo Gutiérrez, education and science attaché, Spanish Embassy

“We invite everyone to take part in our activities and we are very grateful to the Glendon administration for creating such a pleasant and welcoming environment,” said Luengo.

Some examples of York’s ongoing activities supporting the SRC’s mandate include Osgoode Hall Law School’s courses on international law; the International MBA program at the Schulich School of Business, which includes an exchange agreement with ESADE (Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas) in Barcelona; the continued scholarly work of Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts, a renowned political scientist who is a specialist in Catalan politics; Glendon’s new School of Public and International Affairs; Glendon’s new International Bachelor of Arts (iBA); and not least, the work of Glendon’s Department of Hispanic Studies.

Right: The new Spanish Resource Centre

“Glendon’s unique role as a campus of fully integrated bilingualism and a Francophone Centre of Excellence makes it an ideal location for a centre of Spanish studies as well,” said McRoberts. “We are honoured to welcome this centre on our campus and grateful to Vice-President Embleton and Associate Vice-President Shubert for facilitating its transfer to Glendon.”

The evening culminated in the official signing of the Letter of Understanding between the government of Spain and York University, a document outlining the support for and functioning of the SRC.

“We welcome new opportunities to build partnerships with Spain,” said Embleton. “York University continues to demonstrate its deep commitment to international partnerships, internships and opportunities for our students to study abroad. Our agreements with Seville, Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona demonstrate this. York is also the site for administering Spanish language proficiency tests across the city.”

Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny