Four days before the inauguration of the Congress by the King and Queen of Spain

Minister Albares and the directors of the Cervantes Institute and the Royal Academy present the Spanish Language Congress

PHOTO/INSTITUTO CERVANTES - Luis García Montero, director of the Cervantes Institute

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, the Director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero, and the Director of the Royal Spanish Academy and President of the Association of Spanish Language Academies (ASALE), Santiago Muñoz Machado, presented the 9th International Congress of the Spanish Language (CILE), which will be inaugurated by the King and Queen of Spain in Cadiz on Monday 27th. At a working breakfast at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid, organised by the New Economy Forum, the three guests spoke about the strength of Spanish, the challenges of this event, which will be held until 30 March, the coordination between the organisers and the influence of Artificial Intelligence on our language. 

With more than 270 speakers, almost 300 accredited journalists, 500 registered participants to follow the sessions in person (which for the first time will all be broadcast online) and the participation of web content creators (social networks, YouTube, podcasts...), this Congress will be "a unique opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing the language", said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

José Manuel Albares said that Spanish "is a living and thriving language, one of our great strengths and values", with "a present and a promising future", whose promotion as a language of prestige is one of the main axes of Spain's foreign policy, as it conditions our international weight. 

Albares cited several pending challenges to be addressed at the CILE. The first is to boost our relations with Latin America, which is "the absolute priority for Spain" at this time, "the most confusing since the fall of the Berlin Wall". Also, to consolidate Spanish "as a language of prestige in diplomacy and as a leading language in international relations". In this respect, he announced that the Hague Conference on Private International Law has approved Spanish as an official language, adding it to English and French, until now the only languages accepted. 

Another objective is to "position Spanish in the central nucleus of Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the metaverse", he declared, given that language technologies (voice assistants, automatic translation, etc.), which change reality through AI, have become interested in our language. 

On this matter, Luis García Montero assured that "machines and artificial intelligence speak according to how they are programmed by human beings", which is why supremacist risks or other undesired effects appear, but they also serve for the progress and development of societies. For example, they help people who emigrate to other countries to maintain contact with their communities of origin, thus avoiding uprooting. 

The director of the Cervantes Institute advocated cooperating for the unity of the language, following the teachings of the Colombian Andrés Bello, who in 1848 urged not to endanger the treasure of a language that allowed the new South American countries that had recently gained independence from Spain to understand each other. Under the slogan "Spanish language, mestizaje and interculturality", the CILE will be committed to dialogue, which must also extend to the internal reality of Spain with its four official languages. 

García Montero announced that the Cervantes Institute will organise a tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa on 11 and 12 April, curated by the Nicaraguan Sergio Ramírez. In this context, the institution will receive the text that the Nobel laureate wrote for the CILE, which was scheduled to take place in Arequipa. The Cervantes will keep the document until, as expected, the Spanish-Peruvian author's hometown will host the next edition of the Congress in 2025 and the text can be read in public. 

He also ruled out tensions between the organising bodies of the CILE. "The mutual relationship is very good," García Montero said. The fact that it has had to be adapted to its new location in less than three months "creates a series of rushes, but the debates are resolved with the common desire for the Congress to be a success"

In this he agreed with the director of the Royal Spanish Academy, who played down the importance of differences with the government: "There is always some friction, and there may be some differences of opinion that can be healthy", said Santiago Muñoz Machado. But this "does not push anyone to get out of the way". 

"Spanish is not in danger". 

The director of the RAE and president of the Association of Academies (ASALE) denied that anti-Spanish positions are emerging in Latin America: "There are no aggressive policies against Spanish, nor any risk of displacement or disappearance", but rather "a new American constitutionalism that strengthens the traditions and way of thinking of the original peoples" by helping their indigenous languages, which "seems good to us because some are at risk of disappearing". Although "Spanish is not in danger", he lamented the insufficient support of those governments for the Academies of the Spanish Language, and especially the "monumental nonsense" of dissolving the Nicaraguan Academy by "the Ortegas". 

Muñoz Machado announced that there will be a meeting in Cádiz, in the presence of the King, between the presidents of the Academies of the Spanish Language and directors of technology companies that manufacture AI machines applied to language: translators, correctors, intelligent loudspeakers, etc. These US-based companies, he said, "are shrinking our vocabulary" because "they don't use the pan-Hispanic canon, but that of Silicon Valley". The aim will be to convince them so that "the machines speak Spanish well" and do not reject as incorrect or incomprehensible words admitted in the Dictionary of the Spanish Language. 

The presentation concluded with García Montero and Muñoz Machado thanking the Government, Peru and the City Council of Cádiz, a city considered to be the "gateway to the Atlantic world" and which will host this great international event which will be held for the second time in Spain, 22 years after the 2001 edition in Valladolid. 

The presentation was attended by the Secretary of State for Ibero-America, the Caribbean and Spanish in the World, Juan Fernández Trigo; the President of La Rioja, Concha Andreu (who briefly presented the Global Observatory of Spanish, attached to the Cervantes Institute and based in the Language Valley), the Ombudsman and several ambassadors, among other guests. 

Submitted by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanismo advisor.