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Open House Showcases New Hispanic Research Center

By Indrani G. Das and Jill E. Steinman, Crimson Staff Writers

Nine months after its opening ceremony was delayed by the Boston Marathon Bombings, the Instituto Cervantes—a research centered devoted to Hispanic culture and the Spanish language—held an open house to officially celebrate its founding.

The Instituto Cervantes, a non-profit created by the Spanish government, operates branches in over 20 countries with 54 centers in total. The institute's Harvard branch, or “observatory,” focuses on research of the Spanish language in the United States.

According to Diana Sorensen, dean of Arts and Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the observatory was originally set to hold its official opening last April, but it was postponed due to the bombings. Since then, she said, the Institute has made up for its “false start” by celebrating in stages.

“The celebration has to do with the presence of the Spanish language and the Hispanic cultures in the United States and what that means at Harvard,” Sorensen said. “We hope that this will be a convening place for all of you who are interested in a hyphenated identity of Hispanic-American or Latin-American or Latinothe names themselves are tellingly diverse.”

The observatory seeks to foster dialogue between members of the community and to explore the development of Spanish language and culture in both the Harvard community and the United States as a whole, according to Francisco Moreno-Fernandez, its executive director.

“We are doing some research and studies on reports and we will present the results of these reports to the Harvard community,” he said, adding that the institute will gather information about Spanish language and culture through conversations with members of the community, including students and faculty.

At the open house at the observatory’s offices at 2 Arrow St., Moreno-Fernandez gave a lecture about the international importance of the Spanish language and a video report about the opening of the observatory at Harvard by a Spanish television network was shown.

—Staff Writer Indrani G. Das. can be reached at Follow her on twitter @IndraniGDas.

—Staff writer Jill E. Steinman can be reached at

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