Basque, Catalan, Galician and Spanish cultural institutions sign collaboration agreement

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2020-05-26

The heads of the official entities in charge of promoting the Basque (Etxepare Basque Institute), Catalan (Institut Ramon Llull), Galician (Consello da Cultura Galega) and Spanish (Instituto Cervantes) languages met by videoconference today and digitally signed the first collaboration agreement designed to promote the four languages and cultures.

The heads of the official entities in charge of promoting the Basque (Etxepare Basque Institute), Catalan (Institut Ramon Llull), Galician (Consello da Cultura Galega) and Spanish (Instituto Cervantes) languages met by videoconference today and digitally signed the first collaboration agreement designed to promote the four languages and cultures.

This collaboration agreement, signed in all four languages, is valid for four years and is renewable. The protocol will establish a collaborative framework among the institutions for participation in joint endeavours aimed at promoting the culture and languages of Spain, "within their respective scopes of activity and possibilities".

These actions would include disseminating knowledge of their own languages and cultures outside their respective regions; planning and implementing cultural activities in all artistic forms and disciplines (exhibitions, concerts, seminars, meetings, etc.) to showcase cultural richness and diversity; and promoting cultural programmes and initiatives to be offered at official centres, strengthening collaboration between the signatories. A joint committee will also be set up to periodically analyse the degree of cooperation in the activities aimed at disseminating culture in Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Basque.

The director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, Irene Larraza, borrowed a sentence from the Basque writer Anjel Lertxundi to illustrate the reasons that led them to sign this agreement: "There is nothing universal that is not grounded in a particular origin." Ever since Etxepare was first established, it has been working closely with a number of international institutions and cultural organizations. Therefore, the agreement signed with Institut Ramon Llull, Consello da Cultura Galega and the Cervantes Institute is, in Larraza´s words, "another milestone in the internationalization of our culture". “It´s smart to share this journey and to understand that diversity is part and parcel of mutual understanding,” she added.

Iolanda Batallé, director of the Institut Ramon Llull, endorsed Larraza´s words, saying that "this agreement forms part of a strategy of talking between each other and amongst all of us, because together we will go further". She also expressed a desire to share with the rest of the institutions the knowledge the Institut has accumulated over its 18 years of service.

The director of the Consello da Cultura Galega, Rosario Álvarez Blanco, stressed the "symbolic importance" of this shared action. She pointed out that, while each institution has its own particularities, "there is more that unites us than what separates us", adding that "languages are systems of expression and communication and must not be conceived as barriers".

Luis García Montero, director of the Cervantes Institute and host of the event, highlighted the role of the Cervantes Institute in this collaboration: "This is a time of celebration and significance. Activities of this type should be at the core of the Cervantes Institute to convey the image of a country that is proud of its richness and diversity."

The signing ceremony was broadcast live on the Cervantes Institute´s YouTube channel. Media outlets and journalists with access followed the event and were able to ask questions using the chat tool. This is the first digital press conference offered by the Etxepare Basque Institute since the beginning of the state of emergency caused by COVID-19.

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