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President Park Chul of HUFS hosts a 'Spanish Day' event at Seoul campus


To emphasize importance of Spanish language used by 5 million

President Park Chul of HUFS hosts a
'Spanish Day' event at Seoul campus

On the second of July, 2013, foreign ambassadors from numerous nations of Spanish origin, including Spain and seventeen Latin American nations, joined in celebration of “Spanish Day,” or “Dia de la Lengua Espanola,” at the International Conference Room of the Minerva Complex at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul Campus.

President Park Chul of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (11th from left) and Ambassador Luis Arias-Romero of Spain pose with other participating ambassadors and faculty members at Dia de la Lengua Espanola.

“Spanish Day” was established by the Cervantes Spanish Cultural Center in 2003 to highlight and celebrate the importance of the Spanish language spoken by over 500 million people around the globe. Celebrated internationally, Spanish Day was first celebrated in Korea at the 2012 Yeosu Expo in conjunction with Spain and its Latin American counterparts, and the Korean nation is expected to continue offering respect to the great cultural artifact that is the Spanish language.

This year’s celebration began with an opening video which presented people of different nations expressing their well-wishes and congratulations for the successful celebration of Spanish Day. It featured ordinary, everyday people, around the globe, who in commemoration of this very special celebration, offered their thoughts and expressions of goodwill for those present at the ceremony. This introductory film was followed by a welcoming speech by the Spanish Ambassador, Luis Arias-Romero. Keynote addresses from the Chair of the Graduate School of International and Area Studies at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Park Jin and President Park Chul followed in turn.

Ambassadors of Spanish-using countries of the world and educational leaders of Korea meet at Spanish Day at HUFS.

During his keynote address, President Park underscored “the Importance of the Spanish language and its future,” highlighting its global, ubiquitous status not only in Spain but in the various Latin American countries in which the Spanish language and culture thrives with and among its vibrant populace. Spanish was first spoken in Korea as far back as the 16th century, when Jesuit Minister Gregorio de Cespedes made first contact with the Joseon Korean Dynasty. Since then, Spanish has taken on an increasingly important global role, highlighted in part by a very large demand for learning the language in Korea as early as the 20th century. As an official UN language, the Spanish language is a major world heritage, and its speakers are expected to expand in numbers and grow in importance into a larger, global community.

From left: President Park Chul of HUFS, Ambassador Ambassador Luis Arias-Romero of Spain and former National Assemblyman Park Jin (now chair professor at HUFS) speaking at the Spanish Day celebration meeting at HUFS in Seoul.

A round-table discussion was then held among the eight ambassadors from Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Paraguay, Uruguay, Spain, Costa Rica and Bolivia, on the prospect of the global proliferation, acceptance, and further use of the Spanish language. Each offered interesting opinions on the expected increase in numbers and growing prospects for not only the Spanish language but for its speakers as well. Each shared their own respective versions of Spanish, each offering a different take on what it means to speak the Spanish Language. But in the end, it was the similarities -- not the differences -- and the unanimity the Spanish Language inspired among these nations that was the center of the discussion.

Ambassadors of Spanish-using countries and faculty members of HUFS at the Spanish Day celebration at the university.
When Chung Hyun Jo, a Hankuk University student shared his positive experiences in learning Spanish and his continued interest in the discipline, it emphasized, if only in part, of the new generation of multiculturalism, the turning point of provincial attitudes in the 21st century, and was widely received with applause commemorating, welcoming his generation of worldly-minded scholars. This was followed by what was arguably the highlight of the entire ceremony -- a musical celebration in Spanish to honor not only the guests, the Excellences and the students gathered at the ceremony that day, but for all people of Spanish language and the others who would join them in creating a bright, new global world.

Along with 200 students and professors from the Graduate School of International and Area Studies at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, ambassadors from the nations of Spain, Paraguay, Honduras, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Bolivia were in attendance, along with deputy ambassadors from the nations of Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Chile, El Salvador, Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela. k

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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