GU Creates New Spanish Studies Chair

By Emily Lyons Hoya Staff Writer

Spanish Prince Felipe of Borbon and Grecia (SFS ’95) and University President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., met Tuesday morning with distinguished guests and faculty to announce the creation of the Prince of Asturias Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Spanish Studies.

The chair, which is intended to increase awareness of Spanish politics, culture and international affairs, is named after his royal highness Prince Felipe, who graduated from the School of Foreign Service four years ago.

The new position is a gift from ENDESA, Spain’s national electricity company, which has donated $1.5 million to the School of Foreign Service. ENDESA CEO Raphael Miranda Robredo said the chair will “offer a vision of Spanish reality to students of the whole world” and that it “responds to the aim of our foundation, which is to develop cultural activities related to the areas of our international expansion.”

Robredo said that Georgetown was chosen as the recipient of this award because of its high degree of academic excellence and its multicultural student body, which includes many students from Latin America, an area where ENDESA has a large presence.

Currently Georgetown is made up of 25 percent minorities, including a 6 percent Hispanic population.

The professorship will provide for a specialist in Spanish culture, history, American relations by “steering the `European boat’ across the Atlantic and helping us all in our commitment to a free and just world.”

He added that the expressed goals of the professorship may be lofty. “I know it can only achieve so much but likewise I am convinced this is just a start – a good one, I may add – and a very clear sign of things to come.” He spoke of Spain’s increasing role in international affairs and the importance of promoting Spanish culture outside of Spain.

O’Donovan offered thanks to ENDESA and Prince Felipe reminding audience members of the Jesuit tradition’s Spanish origins. He said that because of their foresight “Georgetown will continue to create a strong forum for building friendship between Spain and the United States.”

The Society of Jesus, the Jesuit order, was founded by Spaniard Ignatius Loyola in the sixteenth century and included several Spaniards as original members.

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