With over 500 million Hispanophones around the globe today, the Spanish language continues to play an important role across the world - from culture, art and literature, to economics and business. As the world’s second-most widely spoken native tongue, the romance language has a significant social and cultural impact on the present, with its many centuries worth of history.
The Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) community got a flavor of Spanish culture and language during Spanish Cinema Week, held on May 17 and 18. Hosted by HBKU’s Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII), in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Qatar, students from TII’s Language Center got to share their Spanish skills with their peers and the community at-large. Representing the Embassy of Spain in Qatar, the Deputy Head of Mission, Ester Borras Andreu, graced the occasion and took part in friendly exchanges before the film screenings.
Students, staff, faculty and Spanish cinema enthusiasts enjoyed two film screenings at the HBKU Student Center in Education City. On Wednesday night, attendees of Spanish Cinema Week got a chance to watch José Luis Garci’s 1998 drama, El abuelo (The Grandfather), about a grandfather’s return to Spain from America, in hopes of finding his grandchildren. Following a similar theme, on Thursday night, the audience witnessed a screening of Imanol Uribe’s 2002 family drama, El viaje de Carol (Carol's Journey), which follows a 12-year-old girl’s journey as she travels with her mother from New York to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Following the screenings on both days, attendees participated in a live quiz about the films and had the chance to win attractive prizes.
Milena Savova, Director of the Language Center at HBKU’s TII, commented on Spanish Cinema Week by saying: “It was great to have our students and the Spanish speakers in Qatar enjoy these films. At HBKU, we value dialogue and discussion, and events like these with partners like the Embassy of Spain, strengthen our diverse community and give our students the opportunity to practice what they have learned in the classroom, in a real world setting.”
The Founding Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Science, Dr. Amal Al-Malki, commended the success of the event and went on to comment on the strong ties between the Spanish and Arabic languages and cultures. She said: “The linguistic relationship between Spanish and Arabic dates back to the 8th century, during Al-Andulus era. And until this day, the Spanish vocabulary has a significant number of Arabic words and phrases. It is exploring these kinds of patterns that enable us to prepare our students for a rapidly evolving globalized world, as we continue to be more interconnected through language, culture, technology and beyond.”
To find out more about TII’s Language Center, its various community initiatives, and public events, visit www.tii.qa.