Spain’s Cervantes Institute, a nonprofit organization that was created by the Spanish government and promotes the study of Spanish language and culture, will establish an Observatory for the study of Spanish in the United States at Harvard University, which will help consolidate the expansion of the language in a country with close to 50 million inhabitants who speak Spanish.
The new observatory, which will be housed in a building on Arrow Street, joins on campus the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, a 19-year-old hub for regional scholarship, though it will be the only space of its kind at Harvard devoted specifically to the study of Spanish language and culture within the United States.
The center will also carry out cultural initiatives, conferences and lectures as well as having the participation of Cervantes Prize winners and Latino writers living in the United States. By 2050, this country is predicted to be the leading Spanish-speaking country in the world, ahead of Mexico, with more than 132 million Hispanics, or 30 percent of the population.
Francisco Moreno-Fernández, a professor at the University of Alcalá who will serve as the observatory’s executive director: “We want Harvard to be a reference of culture and thinking expressed in Spanish in the United States”.
The Department of Romance Languages and Cultures, the David Rockefeller Center, and the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights will play a role in advising the observatory, according to Moreno-Fernández. The Division of Arts and Humanities will manage the observatory, which will also collaborate with the Polinsky Language Sciences Lab.
The project is sponsored by Emilio Botin and the Grupo Santander, which will contribute 1 million euros (1.3 million dollars) to it over the next four years.