Queen Sofia Spanish Institute
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Queen Sofia Spanish Institute
Spanish Institute NYC 002.JPG
FoundedJune 9th, 1954
TypeCultural institution
  • Offices at 575 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10022
ProductSpanish cultural
Key people
Carlos Cordón-Cardó(Chairman), David Askren (President), Patrice Degnan Erquicia(Executive Director), Peggy Holder Jones (Administrative and Accounting Director) and Madi Garza (Media Specialist)

The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute is an organization in New York City founded to promote the Spanish language and the culture of Spain and the Americas. Its office is located at 575 Madison Avenue, New York City following the sale of the 684 Park Avenue location in 2016.


On May 18, 1954, The Institute was incorporated as a non-political, non-profit organization under the laws of the State of New York. Its mission is to stimulate interest in the culture, history and customs of Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries in the United States, and vice versa.

In 1965, The Marquesa de Cuevas, the philanthropist Margaret Rockefeller Strong, saved the landmark building 684 Park Avenue from destruction. The asking price for this building was $48 million but with the economic support of Margaret Rockefeller Strong and that of the McMicking Foundation, the Institute was able to make this building it's headquarters.

On October 26, 1978, The Institute's Gold Medal Dinner was established in order to recognize individuals who have contributed to the international appreciation of Spain and Ibero-America through their achievements in such varied disciplines as international relations, science, business, the arts, literature, and philanthropy. The first honorees of 1978 were Henry Ford II and Andrés Segovia (in absentia).

The Institute was renamed in 2003, to recognize Queen Sofía of Spain as its patroness.

In 2014, the Institute strategically decided to sell its building in order to carry on with its mission.

Since the sale of the building, the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute has revitalized its activities with other Spanish and Latin American schools/organizations by cosponsoring lectures, educational programs and other culturally relevant activities. In 2018, the Institute formed a partnership with the Hispanic Society to provide a Maps and Globes educational program in New York City Public Schools of District 6. Other partners of the Institute include the Instituto Cervantes, Hunter College, Juilliard, The Spanish Consulate and the Americas Society.

The Institute holds an annual ceremony to present the "Sophia Award for Excellence". This award pays tribute to a person or an organization that has actively contributed to the international appreciation of Spain and the Americas through a donation of time, expertise and innate wisdom in the areas of science, arts or the humanities.

The president and CEO is David Askren and the executive director since September, 2017 is Patrice Degnan Erquicia.


Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, Inc. (The "Institute") is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1954 to stimulate American's interest in the Art, Culture, Customs, language, literature and history of the Spanish speaking world and to promote, among the Spanish-speaking peoples of the world, knowledge and understanding of ideals, culture and customs of the people of the United States, to the end that ties of friendship may be formed, mutual understanding promoted, and bonds of peace strengthened.

Cultural events

The Institute holds a wide variety of artistic endeavors, including the co-sponsoring of exhibitions and lectures on important artistic movements, artists and their works. Along with visual arts, the institute strives to support performance art as well, including concerts, performances, and lectures on the relevance of this art in today's society. The Institute also holds gastronomy events in order to enrich American's knowledge of foods of the Spanish-speaking world and to bring people together.

The Institute holds a biannual translation prize to recognize translators who have successfully translated a work from Spanish to English and helped to make knowledge accessible.

The Institute holds historical and educational lectures in order to enrich American's understanding and knowledge of the Spanish-Speaking World.

Gala Gold Medalists

Beginning in 1978, The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute's Gold Medal was annually awarded to Americans and Hispanic people in recognition of their contributions to the betterment of relations between the United States and the Spanish Speaking World.This event brings together an array of international and American leaders and benefactors for a festive night of celebration. The Gala is a major source of funds for the activities of the institute. Last year's 2010 Gala Gold medalists included Diane von Fürstenberg and the Spanish National Soccer Team. Other recent medalists include the Duchess of Alba in 2008, Penélope Cruz and President Bill Clinton in 2007, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2006, and Dr. Henry Kissinger in 2005. In 2003, a 15th Anniversary Commemorative Medal was awarded to His Majesty King Juan Carlos I and Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain. Other well-known past medalists include fashion designer Carolina Herrera in 1997 and the institute's past chairman and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta in 1993. The winners of the 2013 Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gold Medal Awards celebrated at the Waldorf Astoria, in New York City on November 19, 2013, was Antonio Banderas and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Institute no longer holds a Gold Medal Gala.

Translation Prize

With the aim of elevating awareness and engendering an appreciation of Spanish literature in the United States, this triennial $10,000 prize has been created by the Cultural Committee and board of directors of Queen Sofía Spanish Institute to honor the best English-language translation of a work by a Spanish author. The inaugural award, celebrating the best translation published between 2006 and 2008, was given in 2010 to Edith Grossman for her 2008 translation of Antonio Muñoz Molina's A Manuscript of Ashes.

This prize celebrates the work and dedication of the translator and the $10,000.

The first initiative in place after the institute's recent changes include the selection of a brilliant reading committee composed of published writers, scholars, translators and academics to select the best translation of a work of fiction written in Spanish, between 2010 and 2017. The panel is now reviewing nominations and nominees will be selected in the first quarter of 2018, and then the committee will read the works in Spanish and English and the winner will be selected in late summer and the award will be presented in the fall of 2018. The Queen Sofia Spanish Institute is honored to have such strong intellectuals leading this important cultural committee.

The committee members include:

Lila Zemborain is the chair of this Reading Committee and director of the Creative Writing in Spanish Program at NYU.

Allen Young is 2018 winner of the translation prize and a translator.

Leslie Harkema is a professor at Yale and teaches courses on Spanish culture and Modern Peninsular Literature.

Queen Sofía Spanish Institute is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization.

See also

External links

Media related to Oliver D. Filley House at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 40°46?7.96?N 73°57?56.88?W / 40.7688778°N 73.9658000°W / 40.7688778; -73.9658000

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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