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Research Showcased For Spanish King And Queen

Media release
18 June 2009

Research Showcased For Spanish King And Queen

Links between Spain and The University of Auckland will be further strengthened when King Juan Carlos 1 and Queen Sofia pay a visit early next week (Monday 22 June).

Their Majesties will view displays showcasing pioneering research in bioengineering, induction power technology and yacht design. They will also meet the University's new Professor of Spanish along with students of Spanish and Spanish nationals on the staff.

The new professor, Dr José Colmeiro, is the third holder of the Prince of Asturias Chair of Spanish Language and Culture inaugurated in 1991. The chair came about as the result of Prince Felipe, Crown Prince of Spain, visiting the University in 1990 and was the first of five highly prestigious Prince of Asturias Chairs worldwide.

"It is highly appropriate as well as symbolic that Their Majesties should follow their son, Prince Felipe, in honouring us with their presence," says the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon.

"We are grateful to Spain and its government for their generous support for our Spanish programme over many years. This has contributed to Spanish being the most popular European language taught at our University.

"Spanish language and culture courses and Latin American studies attract over 1000 enrolments from students both within the Arts Faculty and from other faculties who have come to recognise the value of language and cultural studies to careers in an increasingly global economy."

The Yacht Research Unit's display had been organised with the King and his keen interest in sailing in mind, said Professor McCutcheon. "It has been a world leader in innovative sailing technology.

"The displays of virtual human models designed to improve healthcare and a wireless charging system for electrical cars are equally novel and ground-breaking."

King Juan Carlos 1 and Queen Sofia will arrive at the entrance to the Owen G. Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road at 10.10am. After being welcomed by the Chancellor, Mr Roger France, and being given a presentation on the University by the Vice-Chancellor, they will be introduced to the new appointee to the Prince of Asturias Chair, Professor José Colmeiro, and presented with a commemorative gift. They will then meet the researchers and see their displays.

Moving to the Fale Pasifika in Wynyard Street, they will be introduced to senior staff members and Spanish students, and will view a display of the current research and activities of the School of European Languages and Literatures. After talking to students and staff they will depart at 11.45am.



The Prince of Asturias Chair at The University of Auckland was held first by Professor Sally Harvey and then Professor Jonathan Tittler. The new incumbent, Professor José Colmeiro, comes to Auckland from Michigan State University. There he taught graduate courses on modern Spanish literature and cultural studies, Hispanic cinema and popular music. His research interests also include Galician, Spanish and Latin American literature, detective fiction, gender studies, and Hispanic transatlantic studies. Professor Colmeiro received his PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkeley.

There is a Prince of Asturias Chair at four other universities: the London School of Economics, Georgetown University (Washington DC), Tufts University (Massachusetts) and the University of New Mexico.

The University of Auckland has agreements for student exchange and research collaboration with three Spanish universities: Granada, Oviedo, Salamanca.


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