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On Wednesday, the University of Glasgow held an event organised by the Ramon Llull Institute and presented by FC Barcelona director Xavier Vilajoana named “Barça: sport, value and identity”, in which he spoke about the globalisation of FC Barcelona, the blaugrana identity, the importance of the club within Catalan society and the loyalty of its new fans.
The club representative was received by the rector of the University of Glasgow, Anton Muscatelli, who gave him a brief tour of the campus. The event began with a welcome by Michael Syrotinski, head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University and Josep Marcé, director of the Ramon Llull Institute, which was followed by a round table session in The Senate Room. David Leask, the chief editor of the Scottish newspaper 'The Herald', was the moderator and, together with Raymond Boyle, Professor of Communication at the University of Glasgow, Vilajoana outlined the similarities between Celtic and FC Barcelona and the importance of becoming global clubs without losing the identity and historical values of each of the two entities.
Vilajoana spoke about the Masia 360 project, stressing the importance of how the club’s athletes can receive comprehensive training and ongoing support in various aspects so that, when they finish their careers, they are prepared for life in general. He also emphasised the importance of young Barça athletes combining their studies while playing sport.
Once all of the presentations were over, there was a question and answer session for the 120 guests, who seemed very happy with the explanations given by the speakers and were able to interpolate them in order to gain first-hand knowledge of the speakers’ impressions of such aspects as combining globalisation without losing the sense of being clubs that are so ingrained in their local cultures, and how to conjoin the business end of sport with the identities of teams like Celtic and Barça. The Barça director highlighted the importance of the club’s members as the true owners of the club and how decisions are made with their approval.
The event was also attended by Josep-Anton Fernández, head of languages and universities at the Ramon Llull Institute; Marc Colell, professor of Catalan at the University of Glasgow; Teresa Newman, head of the modern languages and cultures office at the University of Glasgow, and Mercè Estela, head of the Ramon Llull Institute’s London office, who were all sat in the front row and paid close attention to what the speakers had to say.
Agreement with Ramon Llull Institute
The event formed part of the agreement signed in September 2012 by FC Barcelona and the Ramon Llull Institute to promote Catalan culture around the world and Barça’s international intensify the partnership between the two institutions by promoting a specific programme of international cultural activities and, on the other, to provide FC Barcelona with an international platform to promote Catalan culture through sport, while reasserting the ties between the values of sport and culture. The aforesaid programme also aims to make use of the Institute’s position as an ambassador for Catalan language and culture to provide international guidance to FC Barcelona regarding cultural affairs.
With the agreement signed in 2012, the IRL and FC Barcelona hope to coordinate the potentialities of both institutions as ambassadors of Catalan language and culture and the values associated to sport and the Catalan nation. Some 150 universities around the world offer Catalan courses. Since the partnership was set up, different workshops on Barça and Catalan culture have been organised at the University of Glasgow (2012), University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle and the University of Amsterdam (2013) and at the University of Manchester (2014).
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