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Ana Cózar, Executive Director of Spanish language school federation Fedele, Español en España
Ana Cózar

This week, we interview Ana Cózar, Executive Director of Spanish language school federation Fedele, Español en España about the association's promotional activities and the growing importance of Spanish language study.

What has Fedele, Español en España been up to over the past 12 months?


We have made important developments in our relationship with the government in different areas. We have strengthened relationships with ICEX (Spanish Institute for International Commerce), with our participation in two international fairs organised by this institution and we have started the process to become an official export association.


On the education side, Mari Carmen Timor, Fedele's President, met the Director of Education Planning of the Ministry of Education, Jose María Fernandez Lacasa, with the objective of including our sector within the national strategy of promotion of this Ministry.


This year, we have also signed an agreement with Telefonica Educación Digital for the promotion of SIELE, the new online Spanish certificate launched by Instituto Cervantes and Teléfonica. In this agreement, we commit to undertake activities for the promotion of SIELE and Fedele schools.


We are also very proud of reaching the number of 90 schools in Fedele, and we have welcomed seven new members on board. This has been the year in which the most applications have been received.


We celebrated a productive AGM in February in which we addressed the main challenges of the Spanish in Spain sector; we worked on our visa problems, unfair competition, collective bargaining agreements and future developments of our federation. It's the second year we celebrate this meeting separate from the Fedele workshop and we have consolidated the idea of having two days for sector discussions.


In 2017, we are immersed in an intensive marketing plan which includes the participation in several activities: Salon Partier étudier á l´Étranger in Paris; ACTFL Nashville; ST Alphe Spain, UK, Korea and Japan; and several trade missions in Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium) and Asia (Seoul and Tokyo) with the collaboration of Instituto Cervantes and Turespaña. 


Furthermore, we have been working on the re-styling of our Fedele workshop. This year we will celebrate our event with the sponsorship of the 'Agència de Turisme de les Illes Balears' and the 'Consejo de Turismo de Ibiza'. We are presenting an innovative format of our traditional event under the name ¡VAMOS! Español en España FEDELE workshop. This format will be focus on more social networking and more time for sector discussions. We have included also the concept of 'Waking Meetings', a more relaxing way of making business while we have time to show the amazing destinations offered by Spain. We will launch this event from the October 8-11 in Ibiza and Palma; who wouldn't come?!


What work has Fedele been doing during 2017 to help continue growth at member schools?


As we have mentioned above, we have intensified our communications and promotion activities of Spain as an education destination in collaboration with other institutions and we will keep and maybe increase all these activities.


But beside this marketing activity, I would like to remark on the Fedele commitment to quality. We support our schools with training, advice and expert counselling to help them to take the best decisions. In Fedele, we see the development of the sector with a global perspective in which we look at the marketing, of course, but also the content of the industry.


Why is Spanish becoming even more important as an international language?


Spanish is an important international language because of its power of communication; apart from the 21 countries in which Spanish is the official language, there are many countries where the number of Spanish-speaking inhabitants is very strong. In the USA, for example, there are 45 million of Spanish-speaking people.


Logically, this strong power of communication is reflected in the interest for studying Spanish - not merely for travelling or tourism, but also for its potential in employment and businesses. Numbers from our Ministry of Education show an important increase in the number of students abroad choosing Spanish as second/third language.


What does Fedele have planned for the rest of 2017 and beyond?


In Fedele, our priority is still to create a strong industry involving the Spanish Government and the different institutions related with us. It is a different task to align all the different agencies with a same objective. but this year we have an optimistic perspective with the approach of ICEX and the Ministry of Education.


From the marketing perspective, we will continue with our promotion and communication plan, increasing our presence on internet and social networks.


Finally, we will be offering tools to our members that support them in their way to excellence and success.


Ana Cózar is the Executive Director of Spanish language school federation Fedele, Español en España.


The above article is an unabridged version of an interview conducted for the September 2017 edition of StudyTravel Magazine