Catalan institution forced to stop funding foreign universities offering Catalan Studies

The Ramon Llull's co-ordinator for education tells the CNA why budget cuts have forced the institution to re-evaluate its language partnerships

Caitlin Smith

August 3, 2011 06:57 PM

Barcelona (CNA) -To start with, Ramon Llull, the Institute charged with exporting Catalan culture and language internationally, had partnerships with 85 universities across the globe. In recent years demand for their assistance meant that 125 universities took on contracts with them. However, following spending cuts the institution has had to re-evaluate the benefits of such partnerships selecting only 114 universities world wide to continue to fund. The department co-ordinator for education, Ariadna Puiggené i Riera tells the CNA why this is not necessarily a bad thing.

There are currently 114 international universities which have gained funding from the Ramon Llull. The state with the most institutions is Germany (22) followed by the UK (17) and France (13) although institutions are spread as wide as India, Japan and Mexico. In total the network of partner universities includes more than 160 with approximately 5000 students. The Ramon Llull Institute, which describes itself as "an ambassador that brings the most welcome tidings about creativity, art and science" is a consortium formed by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government), the Government of the Balearic Islands and the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (the Catalan Studies Institute). It is dedicated to the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad through specialised departments in the creative arts, humanities and science and language and education. Although it is clearly motivated by a political ideology, Mrs Puiggené is clear in her conviction that "our institution is a cultural one" adding that, "whatever government is behind us the question remains the same, how do we best spread Catalan language and culture?" However, she confesses that "the only problem that we face is that we don’t have a state behind us" to promote the Catalan studies. The Ramon Llull clearly takes pride in the knowledge that "Catalan culture has definitely become more established internationally" in recent decades. And the increased interest that universities have in Catalan studies is a testament to the work that is being done here. "We are totally convinced that our culture is as great as any other one" Mrs Puiggené says with a smile.