Spain comes to Yemen [Archives:2007/1092/Local News]

October 8 2007

By: Almigdad Dahesh Mojalli
SANA'A, Oct. 6 ) Closer links between Spain and Yemen have been formalized with the signing of the first memorandum of understanding between the two countries. It means that Yemeni students will be able to study Spanish next academic year at the University of Sana'a.

This builds on exchange program between the university and the Complutense Madrid University, one of the oldest universities in the world founded 700 years ago. The vice rector of the university visited Yemen last year when an agreement was signed for students' exchange programs. The first two Spanish students arrived last month. The Spanish ambassador said that this is the first academic memorandum of understanding between Yemen and Spain and there will be many agreements between Sana'a University and Madrid Compelutense University in different fields.

“This memorandum comes as a result of the efforts and coordination exerted by the Yemeni and Spanish sides where a visit of the vice rector of Madrid Compelutense University for us last year preceded this memorandum,” Said Dr. Khalid Tamem, the rector of Sana'a University when signing the memo with the Spanish ambassador Marcos Vega last week.

Tamem added that the memorandum of teaching Spanish in Sana'a University is considered the first step for many coming agreements between Yemen and Spanish in the medical and cultural fields.

He pointed out that teaching Spanish isn't the only main aim of the memorandum but also the cultural exchange and understanding the two cultures through Arabic and Spanish Languages indicating that Sana'a university is ready to receive Spanish students to study Arabic.

Dr. Abdulrahman Abdrabu, dean of Languages Faculty said that the faculty carried a survey among students regarding desire to study new foreign languages and found out that students are enthusiastic to study many other languages. A large number of students had already enrolled in the new department opened recently. Abdrabu added that Sana'a University has sent one of its students in the Faculty of Languages who is studying an intensive course in Spanish language.

As for the curricula, Abdrabu mentioned that the Faculty of Languages had a tentative concept the curricula and are now waiting for two Spanish experts to give it the final look.

Rebeca Chantal Guinea, deputy head of mission and consular said “this agreement is very important because it is really a cooperation act. That's to say Spain, our Agency for International Cooperation, is going to send a Spanish professor to the University of Sana'a. Spain is going to pay the wages of this professor and also provide the needs of learning Spanish in Sana'a. On the other hand, Sana'a University is going to provide this teacher with a place to stay and with medical insurance. So, it is a cooperation between two countries”

Guinea added, ” the teachers that we are going to send from Spain are very specialized and are trained in our Agency of Cooperation in Spain to give full analysis. That's to say they don't only teach the Spanish language but also the Spanish culture. So, it is going to be a mix between learning a language and learning a culture of our country,”

According to the Spanish ambassador, Spanish is considered the second most common language in the world with about 500 millions Spanish speakers.