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APRIL 20, 2001

Ambassador Cuenca, Consul-General Alonso-Buron, other members of the Consular corps, Councillor Cruz, distinguished guests, colleagues, and friends:

On behalf of York University, I am delighted to welcome you to the opening of the Spanish Resource Centre at York University, and to thank the government of Spain for its generosity in donating the cultural and pedagogical materials which comprise the Centres collection. Bringing the Centre to fruition has involved the joint efforts of many people. I would like to thank in particular Consul-General Mariano Alonso-Buron, who has demonstrated unfailing interest in and support for the development of Yorks partnership with the Spanish government since the possibility of locating the Centre here was first broached several years ago, and whose office has also supported a number of academic events at York on Spain and Europe over this period.

The initiation of the Spanish Resource Centre at York University reflects the importance, within the university, of an understanding and appreciation of Spain and its role in Europe, and we therefore welcome this opportunity to expand our ties with Spain. It also recognizes the significance of Spanish as a world language, evidenced by its status as a United Nations language, and the influence of Spanish culture, both in Europe and the Americas, particularly the United States in recent years.

The Spanish Resource Centre not only makes a wealth of Spanish materials available to the York community and schools in our area, but it provides a locus for the development of workshops, seminars, and cultural activities designed to increase awareness of Spain. It also furthers Yorks objective to be a leader in international research and teaching activities in Canada and abroad. In particular, it will help us build on our strengths in relation to European Studies, as it will be closely linked - both physically and intellectually - to the prestigious Canadian Centre for German and European Studies, a joint research centre of York and the Universit�de Montr�l, which is funded by the DAAD.

York has strong teaching and research interests in European languages and cultures (including Spain) across the university -- in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics and several other departments, for example humanities, history, and political science, in the Faculty of Arts, and the Department of Hispanic Studies and other areas at Glendon. A new interdisciplinary European Studies program in Arts allows students to gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular country or region within the broader European context. The Schulich School of Business offers a renowned International MBA program, which includes an exchange agreement with ESADE (Escuela Superior de Administracion y Direcci� de Empresas) in Barcelona, and just this year has initiated an International BBA program, which also has a strong European component. Students and faculty in many areas take advantage of exchange opportunities with European universities, including the University of Valencia. We also have strong teaching and research commitments and ties to Spanish-speaking countries on this side of the ocean, particularly through our interdisciplinary program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and CERLAC - the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as a number of active exchange and research partnerships with institutions in these countries.

Again, I want to thank the Spanish government for its generosity in bringing to York University this wonderful resource for our students, our faculty, and the community we serve.

Sheila Embleton
Vice-President Academic
York University

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