Central headquarters of Instituto Cervantes in Madrid..
Cultural Projection
Cultural policies play a crucial role in the development of Spain's foreign policy, which is favoured by the cultural and artistic richness of our country and by a language that is second on the lists of languages by number of native speakers and which is subject to a growing learning demand.

Spain has a privileged position to make the cultural element one of the cornerstones of the Spain Brand. As second country in the world with the largest number of properties declared as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO, Spain combines rich heritage with a plural, mestizo and powerfully innovative culture that has shaped its image in international society.

The importance of our cultural heritage has as backdrop the global dimension of Spanish language, which according to the Yearbook 2012 "Spanish in the world" published by the Instituto Cervantes, places it as the second language in terms of number of speakers, with more than 495 million people, and as a second language for international communication.

Culture is, in short, one of the essential elements of the brand country image of Spain, and it is supported by various institutions and public bodies to project it abroad, including the Directorate for Cultural and Scientific Relations of the AECID (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development) as the coordinating entity for international cultural relations and the network of Representations and Cultural Centers under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; the Instituto Cervantes, whose most important work is the dissemination of the Spanish language, but also of the culture in Spanish; the General Directorate of Cultural Policies and Industries of the Ministry of Culture; the State Company Acción Cultural Española (AC / E); the Fundación Carolina, focused on the educational and scientific field, and the ICEX, which carries out work for the promotion of exports in the cultural field too.

Directorate for Cultural and Scientific Relations (AECID)

The Directorate for Cultural and Scientific Relations (DRCC) of the AECID is mainly aimed at promoting and disseminating Spanish culture, in its different forms and languages. For this purpose, the DRCC works on the internationalization of culture by promoting the international insertion of our creators and cultural industries, facilitating the presence of the sector in international events, encouraging the use of the Spanish language and the co-official languages of the State, promoting the creation of international knowledge networks in which Spanish agents participate and fostering the mobility of creators, producers and cultural managers. For the execution of the external cultural programs, the DRCC has, in addition to its Central Services in the AECID, a wide set of representations abroad, comprising Embassies and Consulates and the Network of Cultural Centers of Spain, present in Latin America and Equatorial Guinea, aimed at defending the importance of culture as a driving force of change and development.

In 2012, 146 diplomatic representations performed cultural programmes, and carried out over 2,500 cultural activities. Regarding the 18 Cultural Centres of Spain, we must highlight that they carry out permanent programmes of over 9,000 activities, and have almost a million visitors a year; this makes them reference spaces in the countries in which they intervene.

Likewise, the DRCC, by virtue of the principle of unity of action abroad, is in charge of coordination with other institutions of the General State Administration, and is authorised in issues regarding cultural action abroad (Instituto Cervantes, State Secretary for Culture, AC/E, ICEX, etc.), as well as with the Autonomous Communities and Local Entities.
Culture and Science AECID


Instituto Cervantes

Established in 1991, the Instituto Cervantes is a public organisation that reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, whose main duty is to promote Spanish language and the co-official languages of Spain (Galician, Basque and Catalan), and disseminate the culture of Spanish-speaking countries in the world. The Instituto Cervantes is present in 87 cities of 44 countries, in the five continents, and has two headquarters in Spain, the central headquarter in Madrid and another one in Alcalá de Henares and, within its multimedia platform, has a reference online website on the Spanish language and culture: the Centro Virtual Cervantes.

Year after year, the cultural activities of the Cervantes have experienced a significant growth; in 2011, the twentieth anniversary of the Instituto, more than 6,500 cultural events were held at the 87 Cervantes centres. More than 65 million people participated in these initiatives. Literature, music, theatre, fine arts and cinema are part of said cultural activities, which are usually developed by Hispanic creators, as the Cervantes is convinced that its centres must be aimed at spreading culture in Spanish, not only that of Spain.

This Hispanic orientation of the Instituto Cervantes is being reinforced by the current management of the Head of the Instituto, Juan Manuel Bonet.



Acción Cultural Española

Acción Cultural Española (Spanish Cultural Action, or AC/E) is a public institution aimed at fostering and promoting Spain's culture and assets in and out of our borders, by means of an extensive programme of activities and initiatives that fosters the mobility of professionals and creators. It is aimed at projecting Spain's image as a country full of talent, innovation and dynamism in the artistic production, and proud of its legacy.

AC/E is currently working with over a hundred of public and private entities, in and out of Spain, in order to make it possible to carry out projects related to Spanish heritage, emergent art, cinema, photography, science, history, architecture and urbanism, among other cultural areas. In 2011, the AC/E carried out over 65 exhibitions, in 74 cities of 34 countries. The presidency of the AC/E is currently held by Elvira Marco Martínez.



Fundación Carolina

Fundación Carolina is an entity aimed at promoting cultural relations and educational and scientific cooperation, between Spain and the Ibero-American community of nations, as well as with other countries with special historical, cultural or geographic ties. The Fundación Carolina is based on the joint participation of public and private stakeholders for its funding, governance bodies and activities.

Fundación Carolina develops four programmes for achievement of its goals: A Training Program to facilitate and promote the expansion of studies of university graduates, as well as the specialization and updating of the knowledge of postgraduates, professors, researchers and professionals from Ibero-America; a Research Program that is carried out through the Centre of Studies for Latin America and International Cooperation; an International Visitors Program, aimed at relevant, promising people in their respective countries, who are offered to visit Spain to give them the opportunity to establish contact with Spanish people and institutions in their area of interest and encourage the creation of personal and institutional links that contribute to improve and deepen relations between Spain and their countries of origin; and a Social Responsibility Program in order to raise awareness of all agents on the importance of developing coordination mechanisms aimed at improving the quality of life of workers and the environment in which business activity is carried out.




ICEX (España Exportación e Inversiones) provides services to Spanish companies, for fostering and facilitating their international projection. It takes part in foreign cultural action through the Division of Cultural Industries, which includes the support to internationalisation of our cultural industries.




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