The Instituto Cervantes will hold its Annual Directors' Meeting in San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa) from 20 to 22 December, an event which will bring together more than 70 directors from both the centres around the world and the central headquarters in Madrid. This will be the first time that the meeting of the organisation that promotes the Spanish language and culture in Spanish will take place in the Basque Country, and the second in an autonomous community with a co-official language (the first was in Galicia in 2005).
These regular working meetings, which until now were always organised in July, and which could not be held in 2020 due to the health situation (the last one was in the summer of 2019), are thus resumed. The sessions will take place mainly in the Tabakalera building in San Sebastian, the city's well-known international centre for contemporary culture.
The inauguration will be held on Monday, 20 December, at 11:30 am, in an event open to the media in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, and the Minister of Culture and spokesperson for the Basque Government, Bingen Zuripia, will participate, and to which Queen Letizia has been invited. Beforehand (10 a.m.), there will be a press conference given by the director of the Cervantes Institute, the poet and professor Luis García Montero, and other Basque authorities.
The first day will also feature two inaugural lectures: by Ángel López García, Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Valencia, (who will speak on 'Identity and languages of Spain', at 4 p.m.) and by Ángeles Albert, Director of the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome ('Perspectives on cultural management and the promotion of Spanish culture abroad', at 5 p.m.).
The various closed-door working sessions over the three days will analyse the situation of the institution, the challenges it has faced and continues to face due to the successive waves of COVID-19 in the 45 countries in which the institution is present, and the most successful strategies for the coming years, with a special focus on digitisation.
Sixty directors of Cervantes centres will take part (on whom the Cervantes classrooms and the smaller Cervantes extensions depend), as well as a dozen people in charge of the Institute's headquarters in Madrid.
Another highlight of the programme is the presentation of a bequest to the Caja de las Letras by the actress Ángela Molina. The veteran performer, Goya of Honour 2021, will donate a personal legacy to the Basque Film Library, located in Tabakalera, which will be collected by Luis García Montero and deposited in the vault at the Cervantes Institute's headquarters in Madrid.
There will also be presentations by CANOA (the pan-Hispanic network for the internationalisation of culture in Spanish) and the cultural institutes of the co-official languages. For his part, the journalist and digital expert Mario Tascón, and member of the advisory board of the Fundéu (Fundación del Español Urgente), will speak in a session on digital renewal.
The Cervantes directors will also have time for a small agenda of cultural activities that will include visits to the Chillida-Leku Museum (which brings together sculptural work by the artist Eduardo Chillida in Hernani), the Basque Culinary Center (an academic and research institution dedicated to food and gastronomy, the "highlight" of the Basque Country) and the emblematic Victoria Eugenia Theatre, where they will see a performance by the Kukait Dantza company, directed since 2001 by the dancer and choreographer Jon Maya, winner of the 2017 National Dance Prize.
Previous Annual Meetings of Directors of the Institute were held in La Coruña (2005), León (2006), Córdoba (2007), Soria (2008), Comillas (Cantabria, 2009), Alcázar de San Juan (Ciudad Real, 2010), Alcalá de Henares (Madrid, 2011), Salamanca (2012), Cáceres and Mérida (2013), Logroño and San Millán de la Cogolla (La Rioja, 2014), Santiago de Compostela (2015), Madrid (2016), Málaga (2017), Orihuela and Alicante (2018) and El Escorial (Madrid, 2019).
Submitted by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanismo advisor.