On June 17, 2016, His Excellency Manuel Valencia, Ambassador of The Kingdom of Spain to the People’s Republic of China, was the special guest of the Ambassador Speaker Series event at Yenching Academy of Peking University. Mr Jose A. Benedicto, the Education Counsellor, and Ms. Belen Cuadra, the assistant at the Spain Embassy in Beijing also attended the event.
Li Yansong, Vice President of Peking University, and John Holden, Associate Dean of Yenching Academy of Peking University greeted the Ambassador at Lin Hu Xuan on Peking University campus. Ambassador Valencia and Vice President Li had a discussion on the topics including the promotion of Spanish language learning and using in China, the higher educational exchange between Peking University and universities in Spain, along with strengthening education exchange between the two countries through better cooperation at a national level with the help of the China Scholarship Council.
After the short meeting with Vice President Li, Ambassador Valencia met with Yenching Scholars at Jingyuan Courtyard 4. Professor Lu Yang, Director of Graduate Studies at Yenching Academy hosted the meeting.
Ambassador Valencia started with a brief introduction on the Kingdom of Spain. He introduced today’s economy growth, the infrastructure construction, and technology development of Spain. Tourism and Spanish cuisine are also presented as two important parts of Spanish culture. The Ambassador also mentioned the love of sports by Spanish people and said, “We come with passion. It’s the way we have in work and everything in life.”
When speaking about the relationship between Spain and China, Ambassador Valencia pointed out that “This year is a meaningful year for both Spain and China, as we commemorate the 400th death anniversary of the famous writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra together.” Cervantes is also the first foreign writer that has a sculpture in China after the Cultural Revolution. Since 1973, Spain and China have built up a growing positive relationship on the basis of friendship and trust. Spain is also one of the most important partners with China on the 21st Century Silk Road, and one of the founding members of AIIB. With more exchange and communication among people through education and culture, the Ambassador encouraged everyone to witness a more cooperative and long-lasting friendship between Spain and China.
Ambassador Valencia closed the meeting by answering questions from Scholars on the difference between Institute Cervantes and Confucius Institute, the growing business involvement of China in Europe, the variety of Spanish dialects and sub-cultures, and the higher-level university cooperation between China and Spain.