Interview with Mrs. Rosa María Moro de Andrés, director of Cervantes Institute in Bucharest.
Spain is marking Hispanic Day on October 12. What this celebration means nowadays for Spain and for other Hispanic countries?
The 12th of October, the Day of the “Hispanity” is the National Day of Spain. If by “hispanity” we understand people and countries or communities from Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and North America that share both the language and the cultural identity related to Spain, undoubtedly one can assume not only that both “hispanity” and “hispanism” are continuously increasing – Spanish is nowadays spoken in 32 countries by almost 500 million people – but also that the Hispanic culture and way of living turned into an essential global reference of the XXI century. The significance of this day stands both in celebrating the language and the Hispanic culture by all native speakers together with all those who share the passion for Spanish, its culture, traditions, historical heritage or for those who, year after year, are getting closer to the Hispanic culture.
Can be Cervantes Institute considered a permanent reminder of the “hispanity” notion throughout the world?
Instituto Cervantes with a network of 90 centers in 43 countries worldwide not only fulfill its main purpose to teach the Spanish language and Spanish co-official languages, but also turned into the main instrument of promoting the culture of Spain and of the other Spanish-speaking countries. For a language not only is made of words, but stands as a reflection of our conception regarding the world. When people here in Bucharest, or in Tel Aviv, New York or Beijing come to Instituto Cervantes to learn Spanish, they are also given, along with the language contents, a key to enter the universe of Quixote, of the Spiritual Chants, of the Borgesean library or the pages of Gabriel García Marques´ novels and an open window towards the Cathedral in Leon, or the Aqueduct in Segovia, the seemingly infinite avenues of Buenos Aires or a charming street corner in Habana Vieja. While studying with the Instituto Cervantes, one receives together with the language knowledge a hint of the Hispanic cultural memory and a touch of its present and of its future.
If you had to sum up some of the most important cultural events of the Institute this year, what would be the highlights and what was their feedback?
2015 as well as 2016 stand below the national and worldwide celebration of the Cervantes Biennium, that is 400 years since the publication of the second part of Don Quixote and commemoration of Miguel de Cervantes´s death. That is why we have already organized in April, close to the 23rd of April that marks the International Day of the Book and also Sant Jordi, the Cervantes Week including a public reading of fragments of Don Quixote, film screenings, an early music concert with a repertoire of music contemporary to Cervantes interpreted by the Spanish group Zarabanda. Also have we continued our “perennial” programs such as literature dialogues with guest as José María Merino, Valerie Miles, Enrique Redel etc or the flamenco concerts with Ultra High Flamenco Group.
And what upcoming events do you have in store?
As for the last quarter of this year we will be welcoming historian José Antonio Lisbona for the Sephardic Culture Days or young writer Ivan Repila on the occasion of the launching of the Romanian translation of one of his novels. Music will accompany throughout the autumn with the duo María Montserrat Florea (violin) and Juan Barahona (piano) in Bucharest and in Chisinau, but also with a grat flamenco event featuring famous jazz-flamenco piano Dorantes with the dance of Leonor Leal and Javier Ruibal as percussionist on the 24th of October at the Radio Hall.
I’ve noticed that the institute “booked” every Monday for movie screenings? How this project is going on? How does the Romanian audience receive the Spanish films?
In 2012 when we came to our current address in Bd. Regina Elisabeta 38, given the generous space our hall has, we have implemented a program of Spanish and Latin American movie screening, most of them celebrated on Mondays. We have a continuos programming till December and we will also host Brazilian films and Columbian films with the support of their respective embassies in Romania.
How many students (children and adults) have joined this year to attend the Institute’s classes to learn Spanish and who are the most prevalent: children or grown ups?
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. As for the age of our public, we organize classes for children up to 15 years of age and in the general classes we have students from 15 up to 45-50 years, but the main public is formed by grown-ups.
Romanian language has many affinities to the Spanish one due to their Latin roots. Are Romanians good consumers of Spanish compared to other nations?
Of course, there is no doubt about it. I would even add: not only there is a huge affinity between the two languages that makes the learning process to become quick and easy, but also, in my perception, there is a huge number of socio-cultural values that our two people share. I must say that I haven´t met one single Romanian who after having lived or worked in Spain speak about my country other than with great appreciation and love, as well as all Spanish, in the above mentioned conditions, confess to be happy of being a citizen of Bucharest or of the rest of this great and welcoming nation that is the Romanian People.
Most cultural institutes, embassies have a very prolific communication and marketing activity on social media channels. Do you consider that Facebook, Twitter and others are speeding your PR activities prompting a more efficient feedback or there is still room for the conventional tools to herald a certain event/ information?
Communicating is the key of being “seen” and “heard” in the global world. Given that the main corpus of our audience consists in grown-ups from 15 up to 50 years, that is young public used to use the modern technologies, using social media channels is a must and we are communicating through these channels, trying to respect, let´s say, the speed you were mentioning. Nevertheless, the conventional way of communicating is also among our proprieties, given that I think we owe it to the general public, to people that use both social media and traditional media and to those that use printed media as their main channel of information.