Director on Harvard World Wide Week

October 27, 2017


José Manuel Martínez Sierra, RCC Director, gives his impressions about the Harvard World Wide Week:


What is your assessment of the Harvard Worldwide Week?

I think it has been a fantastic initiative. I would like to congratulate Vice-Provost of International Affairs, Mark Elliott and his team, on behalf of the Academic Council. One of the things that we sometimes do not realize is the amount of resources and international initiatives that Harvard has for its faculty and its students both at a global level of the university and through its various centers of national or regional scope. Therefore, the fact of implementing a week to give visibility to all these resources, to the centers and to the teams that work on a daily basis to put them into operation, has undoubtedly been a great success.

What aspect would you highlight of this initiative?

The aspect that would stand out the most is the enthusiastic reaction of the faculty and the students with the aim of making visible the programs they benefit from, the work they are doing thanks to it, and the ideas they have to bring their plans of work in the future. This has been particularly true when it comes to graduate students, who considered that this was a good time to make visible the projects they are carrying out thanks to the resources we provide and the effort of their work and their talent.

How has the RCC strategy been carried out in relation to the Harvard Worldwide Week?

From the moment the initiative was notified to us by the Vice-Provost of International Affairs, we made a consultation with our Academic Council, our Advisory Council and with the student associations linked to the RCC. That is where many ideas came from. Finally, it was decided to make a combination of the three dimensions that seemed to meet the greatest support. On the one hand, it was decided to carry out transversal events that show the institutional and financial support programs that we implement for both faculty and students. On the other hand, we carried out actions to make visible the actions of associations of Spanish students with the rest of Harvard associations. Last but not least, we held a series of events that concentrated the initiatives and projects that are being developed by our fellows in different Harvard schools.

Could you highlight the events in which the Harvard students have shown their progress?

The first event that was held gathered young Harvard scientists under the framework of the recently implemented Initiative Science@RCC. The event consisted of a round table discussion regarding recent achievements of the Spanish science, possible improvements, as well as challenges and future developments. Among other things, it was presented the Spanish entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems, understanding its strengths and weaknesses in comparison to other important global poles of innovation and entrepreneurship as Silicon Valley or Cambridge. It was emphasized how the presence of international researchers and teams strengthens Harvard's position within the scientific community.

We also held other events related to the Arts and Design, under the Iniatitives Art@RCC and Design@RCC, the first one focusing on the establishment of the National Archaelogical Museum in Madrid, 150 years ago. Another event focused on the production of public space analyzed the physical public space and its production. Spanish designers from the Graduate School of Design presented the latest projects from their practice in the public realm.

Another important event with which RCC contributed to the Harvard Wordwide Week was organized by the Initiative Government@RCC and it tackled the topic Public Innovation, with a particular attention to the role of the public administrations as a vital instrument for the economic and political life in the country. In this panel, young professionals and graduate students, as well as researchers at Harvard Kennedy School delivered a presentation on some of the most innovative projects that are currently carried out in Spain with a national and international relevance.

The week ended with our student association presentation, Harvard Spain. Harvard Spain is an association of Spanish students at Harvard University founded in 2014. Harvard Spain is committed to the gathering and coordination of the interests of the Spanish students at Harvard University, and the diffusion of Spanish culture within the Harvard community at large. This meeting was the perfect opportunity for networking purposes with other students Associations within the Harvard community at large. We should not forget about the contribution to Harvard International outreach made by the international students organizations.

Which other Harvard International Centers have had greater significance for the RCC community?

Clearly the RCC community benefits from the Centers related to those areas in connexion with our knowledge system. Among them, stand out the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS). We have to take into account that the involvement of Spain in the European Union sets a strong linkage across all areas of social, political and economic interests, particularly those developed at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard. On the other hand, we have a historical link, and a common language and cultural background with Latin America. Therefore this makes our community to draw its attention to many of the activities and resources available at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.