Ambassador Rodríguez-Coso expressed his desire for closer cooperation between the Spanish Embassy and WIT to promote Spain and the Spanish language
His Excellency José María Rodríguez-Coso, Spanish ambassador to Ireland, paid an official visit to WIT on 22 March. Ambassador Rodríguez-Coso met with WIT President, Professor Willie Donnelly, the Head of Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality, Ray Cullen, International Affairs Manager Sinead Day and Don O’Neill, International Placement Coordinator for the Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality. The ambassador was accompanied by Embassy Counselor, Carlos Lucini, Educational Advisor, Adolfo Carbón and Penelope Eades the Spanish Consul for the South-East of Ireland.
Ambassador Rodríguez-Coso expressed his desire for closer cooperation between the Spanish Embassy and WIT in order to promote Spain and the Spanish language. During the visit, the ambassador also met with Spanish lecturers at the Institute, Erin McNamara-Cullen, Icíar O’Shea and Angelica Cisneros who discussed ways to advance such cooperation.
Welcoming Ambassador Rodríguez-Coso to WIT, Prof Donnelly spoke of "the close historical links between Ireland and Spain". He continued by adding that through his own research in the area of telecommunications he had ‘enjoyed particularly good relations with Spanish researchers and companies saying that there was a particularly strong affinity between the Irish and Spanish people’.
Ray Cullen, Head of Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality stated that Spanish was "one of the most popular languages amongst students at WIT with large numbers choosing to study Spanish on the BA Arts degree programme and a variety of other programmes including the BA in Hospitality Management and the BA in International Business." Mr Cullen added that "students also have the option of spending one or two semesters studying in Spain at one of WIT’s Spanish partner universities as part of their undergraduate programme funded by the European Union Erasmus programme".
WIT currently has partnerships with 15 Spanish universities and each year welcomes some 30 Spanish students to study on a variety of undergraduate programmes at the Institute in the areas of Business, Engineering and Humanities. The ambassador also met with many of these students during the visit who spoke enthusiastically about their time in Waterford.
The ambassador’s visit finished with the discussion of plans for a follow-up event in the second half of the year and a return visit by the ambassador and his colleagues.