CPS Global School IBDP students were granted a special opportunity to attend a webinar on Indian-Spanish relations, and how the pandemic has presented us with opportunities and challenges. The event was organized by India-Spain Youth Forumand conducted by Mr. Ignacio Vitoria Hamilton, First Secretary of the Embassy of Spain in India, with Mr. Oscar Pujol, Director of Instituto Cervantes.
Diplomatic relations between India and Spain was first established in 1956, and has since been strengthened. Spain is now India’s 7th largest trade partner. Relations between countries involve a transfer of ideas and culture. In addition to commercial bonds, words connect these two countries across the boundaries of language and culture, and words help us connect with each other. A beautiful way in which relations between countries and cultures can be formed is through the concept of Soft Power and such tool is used as a means of forming diplomatic relations across the world, with India and Spain not being an exception.
Further expounding on the concept of soft power, Mr. Hamilton spoke about the state of pandemic and how it has changed the way we communicate. E-content is gaining popularity and taking over our lives and replacing how we perceive and experience various cultures. In a time of pandemic, communications over the internet seem to be the only way to connect. The possibility of this becoming a “new normal” could be considered an obvious and convenient way to experience the world and form relationships. However, the risk of having online platform replacing physical communication and experiences can be very scary due to the detrimental effect it could have on societal growth and most importantly the efficiency of soft power. E-content and social media, attractive as it may be, should not tamper with the efficacy nor become a substitute of experiencing a foreign culture.
Mr. Pujol spoke during his presentation about how pandemics and diseases have been long time companions to Humanity. They give us an opportunity to improve our society and form stronger connections in times of need. Thinking back to when cholera was first discovered and took countless lives, Mr Pujol then highlighted the present status of this disease, where we have learnt from history to better deal with it and have since constructed better sewage systems.
Collectively, both presenters lit multiple light bulbs in our minds about the importance of international relations, especially in a world of globalized interests, and in these hard times of pandemic. We, the students of IBDP, are thankful to have been a part of this intellectual exchange, and have gathered a lot of information and knowledge that will surely benefit our worldviews and our responsibility towards foreign relations and cultures.
IBDP Year 2