The director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero, travelled to Tunisia for the first time this Sunday, a country where the institution has a centre, with the aim of increasing the presence of the Spanish language and its culture, especially to strengthen the teaching of Spanish in universities and secondary schools, as well as to promote synergies between the Tunisian cultural fabric and the Spanish language.
He will discuss all of this on Monday in meetings with the Ministers of Higher Education and Universities and Culture. With the former, Moncef Boukthir, García Montero will discuss increasing the number of Spanish language classes in secondary and higher education, which would make it easier for students to study Spanish as a subject both in the final years of secondary school and at university. He will also advocate for the Tunisian education system to standardise the DELE, the internationally recognised official diploma that certifies the level of knowledge of Spanish, which is issued by the Cervantes Institute on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education.
Other educational issues include the creation of more bilingual baccalaureate courses, either French-Spanish or Arabic-Spanish; promoting more lecturer positions in Tunisian universities; and increasing grants for Spanish students to take intensive Arabic courses in the Maghreb country.
As for the working meeting with the Minister of Culture, García Montero will propose a range of initiatives to Hayet Ketat Guermazi with the aim of strengthening Spanish-Tunisian relations. They will also study issues such as the decentralisation of culture to other areas of the country beyond the capital, and the promotion of bilateral meetings with Spain within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean.
On Monday afternoon, García Montero will take part in the opening of the colloquium 'La lengua española a la frontera', organised by the Cervantes Institute, the Spanish Embassy and the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts 'Beït al-Hikma'.
The colloquium will take place at the Academy's headquarters in Carthage and will pay tribute to the great Sevillian humanist Elio Antonio de Nebrija, author of the first Castilian Grammar, in the context of the fifth centenary of his death in 1522. It will also remember another great figure of the Spanish language, King Alfonso X the Wise, on his 8th centenary. The opening ceremony will also be attended by the Spanish Ambassador, Guillermo Ardizone, and the President of the Academy, Mahmoud Ben Romdhane, and the Director of the Department of Letters of "Beït al-Hikma".
The first day of work will conclude with the signing of a collaboration agreement with Repsol Exploración Murzuq S.A. (REMSA), under which the Spanish company will finance the design, delivery and evaluation of a 100-120 hour online course run by the Instituto Cervantes for Libyan teachers of Spanish as a foreign language.
The course will be offered this year to between 15 and 20 Libyan teachers with experience in teaching foreign languages. The teachers will update their methodological knowledge and learn how to develop key competences. The Spanish ambassador to Libya will attend the signing of this agreement at the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute in Tunisia, which has thus strengthened its scope of action in the neighbouring country.
On Tuesday, Luis García Montero will hold a working breakfast at the Cervantes with all the staff of the centre, headed by its director, Germinal Gil de Gracia. In the afternoon, he will take part in a meeting with Tunisian Hispanists, poets and cultural managers at the Spanish Ambassador's residence.
Finally, on Wednesday 30, he will present the Spanish Day Conference together with the director of the Higher Institute of Tunisian Languages (ISLT) of the University of Carthage, Houda Melaouhia Ben Hamadi, in an event in which the Spanish ambassador will also participate.
Sent by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanism advisor.