Casa Árabe | About us

Where Spain and the Arab world meet

Index / About Casa Árabe / About us

Since it was founded in 2006, Casa Árabe has worked every day to achieve the goal of building bridges, strengthening bilateral and multilateral political relations, promoting and assisting with economic, cultural and educational relations, and providing training and furthering understanding about the Arab and Muslim world.

In other words, Casa Árabe is a space for mutual knowledge and shared reflection: a meeting point between Spain and the Arab world.

OUR MISSION

Casa Árabe is a Spanish public consortium headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. It is operated as a strategic center for Spain’s relations with the Arab world, a meeting point where different role-players and institutions, both private and public, from the worlds of business, education, academia, politics and culture can dialogue, interact, establish lines of cooperation and undertake joint projects.

Since it was founded in 2006, Casa Árabe has carried out its tasks as an active platform and tool for Spain’s public diplomacy, with activities which it has integrated into those of a strong network of similar Casas, including the Casa de América, Casa Asia, Casa África, Casa del Mediterráneo and Centro Sefarad-Israel.

In order to complete its mission, Casa Árabe possesses two headquarters, one located in Madrid and the other in Cordoba, which provide it with a privileged geographic position not only in the Mediterranean region, but also as a mediator of exchanges between the Americas and the countries on the Arabian Gulf, where the presence of Spanish companies and professionals is growing larger and larger.

Coupled with its physical location is its strategic positioning in the digital world, which is carried out using an innovative Internet portal adapted to the new practices and possibilities of mobile technology, along with a strong and dynamic presence on social networks. This virtual dimension is undoubtedly one of its priority areas of activity, because it is the channel of communication required to put into action the principles of mutual relationships and knowledge upon which the institution’s origins were built. It is because of this that the virtual version of Casa Árabe, through its cross-cutting areas of activity, is able to produce and distribute online resources with specialized contents that acquire added value on their digital journey through new media.

In the end, all of these factors are essential in terms of achieving the institution’s ultimate goals: promoting economic relations, spreading knowledge, channeling inter-cultural dialogue and analyzing and mediating in the socio-political changes which are affecting Arab and Muslim countries.

AREAS OF ACTIVITY

Education and the Economy

Within today’s context of political transformation in the Arab countries and economic crisis in Europe, it is indispensable for us to keep channels open for information and analysis, as well as to provide training and perform reflection, all of which makes it possible to debate today’s problems and challenges. At the same time, Spain’s foreign trade sector and the internationalization of Spanish companies have been key vectors for growth in prior crises and are playing the same role at the present time, in Arab countries in particular, due to their development needs and growth potential, all within a context in which hydrocarbons markets continue on a path of expansion.

This area of work combines Casa Árabe’s socio-economic and business program with its educational work, including the Arabic Language Center, with the objective of offering training to youths and professionals so as to support the internationalization of Spanish talent and the consolidation of their presence in Arab countries.

Governance

Since the Arab Uprisings that began in Tunisia in late 2010, Arab societies and governments have had to deal with a highly complex period of transition, in which the challenges they face consist of avoiding a return to autocratic practices, instead building stronger democratic systems, developing an active civil society and putting transparent institutions into operation. The Governance program is an attempt to ensure that the changes in paradigm are reflected in the relations of power and the transformations which are taking place at the local, regional and worldwide levels, and in different sectors (public, private and civil) within the context of globalization.

In this sense, the scope of action of our public diplomacy encompasses the dimensions of international relations beyond just traditional diplomacy; for example, there is interaction between groups and interests in one country and those of another country, in Track II diplomacy dynamics. Other examples include the drafting of reports on foreign affairs and their impact on policy, as well as seminars which encourage reflection and a better understanding of the contemporary Arab world.

Using Spain’s experience as a starting point, Casa Árabe offers assistance through knowledge, creates and coordinates channels of communication, and supports new role-players who are participating in these processes in Arab countries. To do so, it actively cooperates with other Spanish institutions, such as the AECID (Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency), the Spain Brand commission, the Spanish Transition Foundation, the Real Instituto Elcano, the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, the Network of Casas and the Club of Madrid, just to name a few examples.

Culture and New Media

The third pillar upon which Casa Árabe’s endeavor is supported involves the promotion of Arab culture amongst the public in our country. Casa Árabe’s film screenings create a constant window which provides a look at the current realities of Arab and Muslim countries, through both fictional feature films and an enormous number of documentary films. The exhibition halls at both headquarters host contemporary art exhibits and exhibitions with educational or historical content, all aimed not only at increasing the visibility of the artists themselves, but also at creating spaces for thought and knowledge. In the field of literature and essays, the presentation of new publishing firms is a part of our ongoing program, in close collaboration with authors and publishers. And along the same lines, our scheduled musical performances are also notable, serving as a vehicle with a great outreach for creating intercultural dialogue.

The Cultural Program is also a way to develop cooperative relations with institutions, creators and professionals from culture industries in the Arab world and, as such, it has become a dynamic, essential tool for cultural diplomacy and dialogue between the most innovative sectors in societies, including the promotion and furthering of the internationalization of our most creative professional sectors, such as architecture.

Last of all, from a contemporary perspective, highlighting the value of our Arab and Islamic historical legacy and the knowledge surrounding it is one of the focal points of action within Casa Árabe’s cultural program, and therefore in the international area –in both the Arab world and Europe and the Americas– we place an emphasis on this feature which makes Spain stand out and places us at an unmatchable cultural crossroads.

THE CONSORTIUM

Casa Árabe is an institutional consortium created in July 2006 through a cooperation agreement signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency (AECID), the Autonomous Regional Government of Andalusia, the Autonomous Regional Government of Madrid, the Municipal Government of Madrid and the Municipal Government of Cordoba.

It is presided over by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperate, and its Vice-Presidents are the President of the Autonomous Regional Government of Andalusia, the President of the Autonomous Regional Government of Madrid, the Mayor of Madrid and the Mayor of Cordoba. The King and Queen of Spain are its patrons of honor.
The integration of its programs with those of the different institutions which make up the Casa Árabe Consortium is a central factor in making its activities effective.

 

PRESIDENT

José Manuel García-Margallo   
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

VICE PRESIDENTS

Susana Díaz Pacheco   
President of the regional government of Andalusia

Cristina Cifuentes Cuencas
President of the regional government of Madrid

Manuela Carmena Castrillo   
Mayor of Madrid

Isabel Ambrosio Palos
Mayor of Cordoba

MEMBERS   

Ildefonso Castro
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

Gonzalo Robles Orozco
Secretary General of International Cooperation for Development

Manuel Gómez-Acebo 
Director General for North Africa, Africa, Mediterranean and Middle East

Tomás Poveda Ortega
Director General of Media and Public Diplomacy


 
Pedro Villena

Pedro Antonio Villena Pérez (Valencia, April 22, 1955), with a degree in Law, joined the Diplomatic Corps in 1982.

He has been stationed at Spain’s diplomatic offices in Bolivia, Pakistan and Germany. He was the director of the Guardia Cifra section and assistant head of the Embassy of Spain in Germany. From 2006-2009, he was the assistant head of the Embassy of Spain in Algeria. In 2009, he took over the position of Assistant Director General for the Maghreb, until 2011, when he held the position of Consul General of Spain in Frankfurt for several months. In October of that same year, he was named Ambassador to Iran, a position which he has held up to September 2015, when he has joined Casa Árabe.
 
HE Musa Amer Odeh
Head of the Diplomatic Mission of Palestine

HE Hissa Abdulla Ahmed Al Otaiba
Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates

HE Mohamed Alfaqeeh Saleh   
Ambassador of Libya

HE Prince Mansour Bin Khaled A. Alfarhan Al Saud   
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

HE Ghassan A. O. Al Majali   
Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

HE Dr. Sulaiman Al-Harbi
Ambassador of the State of Kuwait

HE Kifaya Bint Khamis Bin Miyah Al-Raisi   
Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman

HE Mohammed Fadel Benyaich  
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco

HE Ahmed Ismail Abdel Moeti
Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt

HE Mohamed Abdalla Abdelhameed Ahmed    
Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan

HE Wacef Chiha
Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia

HE Sidi Aly Sidi Aly
Ambassador of Mauritania


HE Taous Feroukhi


Ambassador of the Popular and Democratic Republic of Algeria

HE Mohammed Al Kuwari

Ambassador of the State of Qatar

Mrs. Naima Buchema  

Chef d'Affaires of the Offiece of the League of Arab States

Mrs. Joumane Khaddage Zahalan

Chef d'Affaires of the Republic of Lebanon

Mr. Abdulsalam Alawi Ahmed Al-Awadhi   

Chef d'Affaires of the Republic of Yemen

Mr. Ali Shimran Hachem
  
Chef d'Affaires of the Republic of Iraq