India, Spain and Latin America: AMU symposium discusses areas of co-operation

Foreign diplomats and faculty members of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) discussed the language, culture and arts that bind India, Spain and Latin American countries in spirit despite being continents apart.

They had come together for the symposium of the Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of International Studies on ‘Socio-Culture Relationship between India, Spain and Latin America’ organized on Friday.

“At the moment, in New Delhi alone, we have 40 schools offering Spanish as a part of their curriculum,” said Oscar Pujol, director, Instituto Cervantes, the nodal institute of the government of Spain which oversees Spanish language learning in India.

He added: “The Instituto Cervantes offers Spanish language courses dedicated to promoting the use of language and culture and not the technical aspect of it. It is an opportunity to explore and get familiar with a wide range of Spanish-speaking cultures.”

“Relations between India and Latin American countries have been traditionally friendly at the bilateral and multilateral levels, but more academic interaction needs to be fostered to give us kinds of outputs, including joint publications, technology development, technology transfer, improvised products and processes,” said Federico Salas Lotfe, ambassador of Mexico in India.

Inaugurating the programme, Prof Mohammad Gulrez, pro vice-chancellor, AMU, spoke about different arenas of cultural exchanges between India and Latin American countries.

He pointed out: “Our mid-day meal program is a direct adaptation of the similar scheme in Brazil and there have always been healthy and fruitful cultural and educational interactions between India, Latin America and Spain”.

Prof Ash Narain Roy, director, Institute of Social Sciences, delineated social and cultural common grounds between India and Latin America from an interdisciplinary perspective. He also shared experiences of working with Latin American services of BBC Mundo and contributions to Mexican newspapers.

In the welcome address, Prof Jawaid Iqbal, dean, faculty of international studies, suggested academic collaborations for the department of foreign languages, AMU, with leading universities and institutes in Latin America.

Dr Noorin Khan deliberated on ‘The presence of Latin America in India through Educational Journey’ and Dr Murad Ahamad Khan reflected on the commonalities between India and Latin America and the growing demand for Spanish language in India.

Suhail Akhtar and Dr Subair PM delivered the opening remarks and extended the vote of thanks, respectively.

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