Japanese and Spanish University Presidents Conference: Towards a Common Research Space
Salamanca, 7-8 November 2013
With the historical occasion of the IV Centennial of the Keichō Embassy to Spain, and provided that Luis Sotelo, a key historical figure in that Embassy, was a graduate from Salamanca University, The University of Salamanca and the Association of Spanish University Presidents (CRUE, http://www.crue.org/) propose the celebration of a joint conference of Japanese and Spanish University Presidents in Salamanca, Spain.
Similar to other bilateral international conferences among the CRUE and foreign universities, this Conference aims at establishing a common joint network to facilitate bilateral agreements between Spanish and Japanese universities. This initiative will have as main objectives:
- To foster the cooperation with high-level research institutions, establishing synergies between Spanish and Japanese research activities (research consortium).
- The transfer of scientific, technical and cultural knowledge, establishing a bridge between academic approaches and business interests in both environments: Japanese and Spanish, as well as in the wider Latin American and European contexts, especially through agreements on credit recognition and transfer, and mobility schemata.
- The promotion and diffusion of the Spanish language in Japanese universities and institutions of higher education
- The diffusion of the Spanish university training offer in Japan.
- The diffusion of the Japanese university training offer in Spain and Latin America.
The Conference will be organized around three main panel sessions:
1. First Panel: Research and Competition – A panel oriented towards the creation of a research consortium in order to facilitate access to competitive projects at an international level.
2. Second Panel: Academic Agreements – A panel oriented towards facilitating agreements on credit recognitionbetween Spanish and Japanese universities, with the participation of the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
3. Third Panel: Academic Exchange Networks – A panel oriented towards the creation of common networks to foster student and lecturers/ researchers’ mobility.
Panels will consist in representatives of public and private Spanish universities, representatives of Japanese private, public and local universities, and representatives of relevant institutions (Spanish Ministry of Culture, Regional government and local government, Embassy of Japan, etc.).
The event includes the signature of an agreement between the CRUE and representatives of Japanese universities in order to create a joint network to facilitate bilateral agreements between Spanish and Japanese universities.
The event will also include a visit to the University of Salamanca Scientific Park at the Villamayor Campus and the new Research and Development building in Salamanca.
3. Organizing and Collaborating Institution
The CRUE (Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas, Spanish University Presidents Association) is an association that includes all 75 Spanish universities (50 public universities and 25 private universities). Since its inception in 1994, the CRUE has been a key representative of Spanish universities in Spain and abroad, fostering the process of European convergence as regards higher education and research, as well as to strengthen the relationship of Spanish universities with public administrative institutions, with the productive sector and with society in general. The CRUE plays a key role in Spanish university politics and proposes to the Spanish Government several strategies and perspectives in order to define a well-structured politics of higher education. The CRUE is considered the main interlocutor between Spanish universities and the Spanish Government at a state level.
Among its activities, the CRUE has fostered the organization of joint conferences of Spanish universities and universities from other countries, in order to enhance academic collaboration at all levels (learning, research, innovation and transfer). Thus, in recent years, bilateral meetings have been celebrated among Spanish and universities of other countries: Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Egypt, African universities, China, Philippines, and Russia. The special position of Spanish universities in the Iberoamerican world has also fostered multilateral meetings among Spanish, Iberoamerican universities and other countries.
The host organizer and project applicant is the University of Salamanca. Being the oldest in Spain (with a history of almost 800 years), it is the foremost university in Hispanic Studies and one of the most prestigious universities in Spain in the field of Humanities and a dynamic research center in various technical fields. It has been granted an International Excellence mention (Studii Salamantini – Campus de Excelencia Internacional) This mention acknowledges the top position of the University of Salamanca in the training and research on the Spanish language at a world level, with strong links with the Royal Spanish Academy and the Cervantes Institute, and also the role of this university in bioscientific areas (National DNA Bank, Center for Cancer Research, CIC, Castilla-León Institute for Biosciences, Center of Ultraintense Ultrashort Pulse Lasers, Institute of Functional and Genomic Biology, Spanish-Portuguese Center for Agrarian Research, etc.).
The University of Salamanca has also a relationship with Japan that spans many decades. Perhaps the first mention of Japan on record at the University of Salamanca was the debate concerning Christopher Columbus’ project to open a western route to the isles of Cipango. Ever since then, the University of Salamanca has always been determined to fortify intercultural relations between both countries. Friar Luis Sotelo, a graduate of the University of Salamanca, was one of the main architects of the first Japanese diplomatic mission to Europe. The so-called Keichō Embassy, lead by Hasekura Tsunenaga, visited New Spain, then went on to Spain and Rome in 1613, the fourth centennial of which is to be commemorated in the coming months.
The Historical Library in the University of Salamanca houses dozens of rare books that tell of the Hispanic presence in Japan in the 16th-17th centuries. The first Japanese grammar published in the West was the Arte de la Lengua Japonesa, authored by the Basque Franciscan friar Melchor Oyanguren de Santa Inés, and published in Mexico in 1738; this grammar was based upon the Greco-Latin system devised by University of Salamanca Professor Antonio de Nebrija, and it bears witness to an undeterred interest in Japan despite its isolation. Once Japan reopened its frontiers to foreign relations in the last quarter of the 19th century, the University of Salamanca gradually consolidated its role as a top learning center for Spanish, particularly among Japanese diplomats and university students. Over the last twenty years, these ties have become even closer, establishing a true intercultural link between both countries, bridging the gap between the far East and the far West. The establishment of the Spanish-Japanese Cultural Center (日西文化センター) in the 15th-century Palace of Arias Corvelle, the activities of the University of Salamanca Association in Japan (サラマンカ大学友の会) and the establishment of Japanese studies at graduate and postgraduate level, bear witness to a long-standing relationship that justifies Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage site and an ancient place of learning, as an appropiate meeting point for University rectors of both countries.
Other collaborating institutions include the Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, the Junta de Castilla y León (Regional Government), the City Government of Salamanca (Ayuntamiento de Salamanca), Fundación Parque Científico de la Universidad de Salamanca, Fundación General Universidad de Salamanca, Fundación Consejo España-Japón and the Embassy of Japan in Spain.
Centro Cultural Hispano-Japonés
日 西 文化 センター
Universidad de Salamanca
Plaza de San Boal, 11-13
Tel. (+34) 923 294560
Fax. (+34) 923 294759
Please direct all correspondence to the above address.