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Tribute to Professor Pedro Martínez Montávez

September 13, 2023From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Free entry until the room’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

With the cooperation of the family of Professor Martínez Montávez, Casa Árabe has organized this event in recognition of this pioneering master of contemporary Arabism, to be held on Wednesday, September 13.

Last February 14, we lost a great figure in Spanish Arabism, Professor Pedro Martínez Montávez, a pioneering master of contemporary Arab world studies in Spain and a former member of Casa Árabe’s Advisory Board.

Casa Árabe, with the cooperation of his family, has organized this short tribute for September 13, along with three round tables intended to cover the main areas to which he devoted his prolific career and personal life: university management, the advancement of Arab studies and his more personal hobbies and passions.


6:00 p.m. Reception and welcome
Irene Lozano Domingo, General Director, Casa Árabe 
Pedro A. Martínez Lillo, Professor of Contemporary History, UAM 

6:10 p.m. A committed scholar: the professor and rector 
Moderated by: Ángel Gabilondo, National Ombudsman and former Rector of the UAM
With interventions by: 
Amaya Mendikoetxea Pelayo, UAM Rector 
Leandro Cañibano, Professor of Financial Economics and Accounting, UAM 
Luis Parras Guijosa, Professor of Statistics and Operations Research (retired) and former Rector of the University of Jaén.

6:50 p.m. Thinking and living the Arab world: the master 
Moderated by: Carmen Ruiz Bravo-Villasante, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies (retired), UAM, and director of CantArabia Editorial 
With interventions by: 
Federico Arbós, Arabist and translator, winner of the National Translation Award for 2018 
Bárbara Herrero Muñoz-Cobo, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Almería Mohamed Najib Abdelkefi, professor, journalist and writer 

7:30 p.m. Video screening 

:40 p.m. Art and life: the man 
Moderated by: Rosa-Isabel Martínez Lillo, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies, UMA, and literary translator 
With interventions by: 
Luis García Montero, director of the Instituto Cervantes
Rebeca Fuentes Arcos, professor of Philosophy, UCM, and Professor of Arab Studies, USAL
Teresa Aranguren, journalist and writer

8:20 p.m. Farewell and testimonials 
Jorge Martínez, Sergio Martínez, Blanca Martínez. 
Sergio Martínez Lillo, Professor of Prehistory and Archeology, UAM. 

8:45 p.m. Musical work*

* Pending confirmation
Tribute to Professor Pedro Martínez Montávez
Pedro Martínez Montávez (Jódar, Jaén, 1933) was a pioneering master of contemporary Arabism in Spain and one of its most influential Arabists in Spain and around the world. 

He earned his degrees in History and Semitic Philology at the University of Madrid. After graduating in both fields of study, he was the Director of the Hispanic Cultural Center of Cairo (now the Instituto Cervantes) from 1958 to 1962, as well as the director of the Spanish Section the University of Cairo’s School of Languages and director of the magazine Al-Rábita

He earned his PhD in Semitic Philology (Arabic and Islam) from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), where he taught as a professor from 1962 to 1969. He then became Chair of the Arabic Department at the University of Seville, where he taught from 1970 to 1971, and then moved to the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), where he worked until his retirement, after which time he became a professor emeritus. At the UAM, he directed the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies and created the corresponding section, as well as being the Director of the Institute of Oriental and African Studies, Vice-dean and Dean of the School of Philosophy and Letters, and Rector from 1978 to 1982, thus becoming the first democratically elected rector of a Spanish university. During the seventies, he directed the journal Almenara, the first scientific journal dedicated to the contemporary Arab and Islamic world. 

He was named Doctor Honoris Causa by three universities: Jaén, Alicante and Granada, and became a member of the Academy of the Arabic Language of Amman, President of the Association of Friends of the Palestinian People, Vice-president and later President of the Spanish-Arab Friendship Association, and President of the Spanish Society of Arab Studies. 

He was named Favorite Son of Jódar in 1983, in a unanimous decision reached by the City Council. His native street, old Vistahermosa, has been renamed after him since 1987, as have the main lecture hall at the Juan López Morillas High School in Jódar and a local Nursery School. 

His work focused on contemporary Arab thought and literature, a field in which he was a pioneer within the world of Spanish Arabism, until then more focused on study of the legacy of Al-Andalus and the Arabic language as a classical language. He wrote numerous books and articles on the contemporary Arab world, its literature, culture and history, while also reflecting on the past, and in
particular the meaning of the experience of Al-Andalus, always from a dynamic, open-minded, vital and integrating vantage point (past/present, Spain/Arab world/the Americas).

Thanks to his studies and translations, he increased awareness about contemporary authors of the highest order, including Naguib Mahfuz, Nizar Qabbani, Mahmud Darwish, Khalil Gibran, Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Abdel Wahhab al-Bayati, Adonis, Fadwa Tuqan, Saadi Yusuf, Salah Abd al-Sabur and Amal Dunqul, in addition to others. He authored such works as The Syrian-American School (1956); Contemporary Arab Poetry (1958); Arab Love Poems, an anthology by Nizar Qabbani (1965); Palestinian Poets of Resistance (1969); Islam and Christianity in the Mediterranean Economy of the Late Middle Ages (1970); Profile of Spanish-Arab Cadiz (1974); Explorations in Neo-Arabic Literature (1977); Marginal Essays in Arabism (1977); New Arab Songs to Granada (1979); The Poem is Philistine: Palestine in Contemporary Arabic Poetry (1980); Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature (third edition, 1994); Arabic Literature Today (1990) and Islamic Europe (1992). He later wrote the books Al-Andalus, Spain, in Contemporary Arabic Literature (1992); Thinking of Arab History (1995); The Arab World and Turn of the Century (2004); Western Pretensions, Arab Shortcomings (2008); Significance and Symbol of Al-Andalus (2011), On the Frontiers of the Prologue: Seeing everything Arab through other eyes (2017) and Twenty-four Final Poems (2019), an anthology by Nizar Qabbani’s works made as a tribute to the Syria so much he loved. 

Among the awards and prizes he received for his lengthy career are the Award for Solidarity with the Arab World, granted by the Association of Arab Journalists in Spain; the Spanish-Palestinian Association’s Jerusalem Award; the Gold Medal of Andalusia, awarded by the Autonomous Regional Government of Andalusia, and the Prize of the Union of Palestinian Writers in 2014. He was bestowed with the status of “Cultural Personality of the Year for 2009” by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, UAE) for his work “building bridges between Arab and Spanish cultures.”