In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria Thursday, visiting Egypt at a time when there is a great demand for learning Spanish in the country, director of Cervantes Institutes around the world Luis Garcia Montero opened a library at the Cervantes Institute in Alexandria.
The library carries the name of great Spanish poet Jaime Gil de Biedma (13 November 1929-8 January 1990).
World Director of Cervantes Institutes Luis Garcia Montero and Deputy Head of the Arab Academy Ali Abdel-Bary signing the agreement - Photo courtesy of Cervantes Institute
Montero, who is also a poet and professor at the University of Granada, seized the opportunity to sign an agreement with the Arab Academy under which the Arab Academy will become one of the centres that can conduct exams for the DELE diploma of Spanish as a foreign language.
"The opening of the De Biedma Library in Alexandria helps in the spread of the Spanish language and culture among the Egyptians. As a professor at the University of Granada, I had the chance to know De Biedma 38 years ago; and the reason behind naming the library after him is that he has many writings on Alexandria and Egypt," explained Montero.
The Barcelona-born poet belongs to the generation of the fifties, and his work was highly acclaimed by many poets, critics, musicians and filmmakers who produced cinematic and documentary films about De Biedma.
Director of Cervantes Institute Silivia Grijalba, next to her Abdel-Bary, Meqati, Montero, Casares, and Albi - Photo courtesy of Cervantes Institute
Director of the Cervantes Institute in Cairo Silivia Grijalba introduced the opening proceedings. Guests who attended included deputy head of the Arab Academy Ali Abdel-Bary, actress, film director and writer Ines Garcia Albi, the niece of De Biedma, deputy director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) Mona Meqati, together with Iraqi poet and translator Abdel-Hadi Saadoun, who read poems by De Biedma in Spanish and Arabic, accompanied by a guitar recital performed by the gifted director of the Alexandria Conservatoire Kareem Freig.
Spanish Ambassador to Egypt Ramon Gil Casares: “The opening of the De Biedma Library in the Cervantes Institute's Alexandria branch is just a first step in reinforcing the cultural links between Egypt and Spain. I am very pleased with the signing of the agreement between the Cervantes Institute and the Arab Academy that will approve the exams of the Spanish DELE diploma."
Following the official opening of the library, 31 October, a series of seminars, roundtable discussions by the likes of the poet's niece, Ines Garcia Albi, and poet Abdel-Hadi Saadoun among others, as well as concerts and exhibitions dedicated to the works of De Biedma, will be held from November to June 2020 at the Cervantes Institute in Cairo and Alexandria.