Collage

Philosophy Professor Julián Montaño has the rare ability to combine hard research with meaningful thinking about daily life.

Here he argues that in today’s world we can create our own identity using the cultural material that technology has placed at our disposal, much like a collage. The way he explains how social status has been shaped through the ages is fascinating stuff!

Prof. Montaño is conversant with a wide range of subjects ranging from aesthetics to the philosophy of language… All I can add is that it’s a privilege just to sit and talk with him about anything…

Toledo: a city of three cultures

Operations and finance professor Alber Sabanoglu Segura comes from Turkey, and he is also a Sephardic Jew. Hence we decided that there was no better place to shoot this video than the ancient Jewish quarter in Toledo. When the Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, they headed for many different countries, and his family ended up in Turkey.
What this basically means is that Prof. Sabanoglu Segura is a true world citizen. He was born in Turkey, lived in the States for a while, and now lives in Madrid. He is fluent in many languages, including Ladino, the old Spanish spoken by Sephardic Jews.
Moreover, he is a critic and writer of short stories, not to mention the fact that he also sings in a group. I hope you enjoy his video, if only because he was such good company while we were shooting it!!!

Europe

In ancient Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted by Zeus after she assumed the form of a dazzling white bull, taking her away to the island of Crete where she gave birth to Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon. Meanwhile, back in the 21st century, modern day Princess Europa appears to have been abducted in much the same way, but this time by a god called Crisis, aided and abetted by petty-minded critics and sheer schadenfreude, leaving her cast aside and forgotten in a far-flung corner of the world.

In this video IE Law School Dean, Javier de Cendra, defends Europa using some very convincing arguments. He touches on all the key issues – natural resources, the environment, the future of humankind – concluding that Europe as a whole has an important role to play in this world. He basically says that we have to stand up for our dreams and ideas.

The video was shot in Maastricht, the day Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the oldest reigning Dutch monarch, abdicated the throne in favor of her son Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander. Maastricht was where Dean De Cendra studied, and also where he proposed to his wife. Go Europa!!!

The Centaur

“In the 20th century we have discovered that rational thought by itself leads to disaster. We need to balance our minds with another type of discourse: that of myth” says Mythic Thought Professor Juan José Prat.
Prof. Prat has devoted his academic research to the study of verbal culture, with a special focus on the relation between orality and scripture.

Besides research and his classes on mythic thought, Professor Prat loves music. He has edited guitar pieces by 19th century Spanish composer Fernando Sor, and is currently working on the transcription and adaptation of piano music from the late 19th century for an amateur chamber ensemble comprised of strings, woodwind and guitar.

He is also the author of the only general history of folkloristics ever written. This extensive work, published in 2008 under the title of Bajo el árbol del paraíso (Under the Tree of Paradise), presents an analysis of the various – and sometimes ludicrous – theories formulated since the Renaissance about folklore fact and production by the urban literate world.

As you can see he is quite the walking encyclopedia, but most importantly he is just a really nice person to hang out with!!! He even manages to fit some short stories into this video. Don’t miss the one about the centaur!

Do I Belong?

Community Finance Prof. Celia de Anca responds in Rabat to different questions, like Do I belong? What´s the market…

One Friday morning back in November I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and not particularly enthusiastic about life or work. You know what I mean, just one of those days. That same morning I had arranged to have coffee with community finance professor Celia de Anca. You can’t imagine how much I wanted to skip that meeting. Obviously not because of her, but because I was out of sorts. There is no denying that our state of mind is what dictates our likes and dislikes.

To cut a long story short, I dragged myself to the coffee shop and began to listen to her. She talked about how we ended up with a global economic crisis, how we have destroyed the idea that money is trust, and other burning issues. But it was not the subject that was remarkable. What was remarkable was her belief in what she was talking about. Prof. de Anca is one of those people who truly believe in changing the world. Just the fact of finding someone who still genuinely thinks that change is possible made me feel happier. And I am grateful to her for that, because that’s what life is all about, spreading and enjoying the feel-good factor at every opportunity.

Don’t miss Prof. de Anca’s answer to the question that gives the title to this piece, namely “Do I belong?” Prof. de Anca is also the author of the recently published book headed “Beyond Tribalism”.