Spanish government to honor UCLA professor for promoting language and culture

Cultural and AthleticFaculty and Staff

The Cervantes Institute, a Spanish government agency dedicated to promoting Spanish around the world, has chosen Barbara Fuchs, UCLA professor of Spanish and English, to receive its inaugural Ñ Prize, honoring her work disseminating Spanish language and culture through theater and literature.

The president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, will join Fuchs on July 22 at UCLA as part of an event to announce the first Instituto Cervantes branch in Los Angeles, which will be the seventh such center in the United States. In October, Spain’s King Felipe VI will present the bronze Ñ Prize to Fuchs in person in Madrid.

Fuchs, a professor in the Spanish & Portuguese department and also the English department, currently serves as president of the Modern Language Association. She has served as the director of the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies and UCLA’s William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. In 2014, she founded Diversifying the Classics, an initiative to promote awareness and appreciation of Hispanic classical theater.

“In a region with 4 million Spanish speakers, there was nevertheless a sense that ‘the classics’ still primarily meant Shakespeare,” Fuchs said. “But the classics come in different flavors. In addition to Shakespeare in the park, we can have Lope in the park and Sor Juana in the park. It will be incredible to have a partner like the Instituto Cervantes to collaborate with in Los Angeles.”

The July 22 event will be opened by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.

“I am proud of the rigorous and creative work of Professor Fuchs,” Block said. “She has brought much-needed awareness of the richness and depth of Hispanic classical theater and helped make that important cultural heritage accessible to our communities.”

Read more on UCLA Newsroom.