Congress on Spanish language opens in Panama

PANAMA CITY, Oct. 20 — The 6th International Congress of the Spanish Language kicked off Sunday in Panama’s capital city, with calls to conserve the language and the values that foster the cultural heritage of the world’s Spanish-speaking countries, according to media sources.
Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli and Spain’s royal heir Prince Felipe de Borbon were on hand for the inauguration of the event, which this year highlights the present and future of books in an increasingly digital world, Mexico’s state news agency Notimex reported.
“More than a way to preserve and defend our common language, the congress is a show of love for the language that unites 500 million speakers in more than 20 countries,” Martinelli was quoted as saying during the opening.
Prince Felipe, meanwhile, underscored the importance of reading, describing someone who reads as “someone who is willing to dialogue and, therefore, open and ready for reasoned discussion on public matters and social problems,” Germany’s DPA news agency said.
The prince added that middle-school teachers had the important task of promoting reading among their students.
The congress has gathered more than 100 writers, academics and others to discuss the role of books in a changing world, the Estrella de Panama news website said.
Discussions on how books will survive into the future were first tabled at the 1997 congress held in Mexico’s northern state of Zacatecas, and have continued ever since, the Panamanian agency said.
Eique Iglesias, secretary general of the Ibero-American Conference, which gathers the world’s Spanish- and Portuguese- speaking countries, stressed the important role of culture in promoting open dialogues among the world’s millions of Spanish speakers.[db:内容2]