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Queen Sofía Spanish Institute facts for kids

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Queen Sofia Spanish Institute
Spanish Institute NYC 002.JPG
Founded June 9, 1954
Type Cultural institution
  • Offices at 575 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10022
Product Spanish cultural
Endowment Yes

The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute is an organization in New York City, founded to promote the Spanish language and the culture of Spain and the Americas. Its office is located at 575 Madison Avenue, following the sale of the 684 Park Avenue location in 2016.


On May 18, 1954, The institute was incorporated as a non-political, non-profit organization under the laws of the State of New York. Its mission is to stimulate interest in the culture, history and customs of Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries in the United States, and vice versa.

In 1965, The Marquesa de Cuevas, the philanthropist Margaret Rockefeller Strong, saved the landmark building 684 Park Avenue from destruction. The asking price for this building was $48 million but with the economic support of Margaret Rockefeller Strong and that of the McMicking Foundation, the institute was able to make this building its headquarters.

On October 26, 1978, The institute's Gold Medal Dinner was established in order to recognize individuals who have contributed to the international appreciation of Spain and Ibero-America through their achievements in such varied disciplines as international relations, science, business, the arts, literature, and philanthropy. The first honorees of 1978 were Henry Ford II and Andrés Segovia (in absentia).

The institute was renamed in 2003, to recognize Queen Sofía of Spain as its patroness.

In 2014, the Institute strategically decided to sell its building in order to carry on with its mission.

Since the sale of the building, the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute has revitalized its activities with other Spanish and Latin American schools/organizations by cosponsoring lectures, educational programs and other culturally relevant activities. In 2018, the Institute formed a partnership with the Hispanic Society to provide a Maps and Globes educational program in New York City Public Schools of District 6. Other partners of the Institute include the Instituto Cervantes, Hunter College, Juilliard, The Spanish Consulate and the Americas Society.

The Institute holds an annual ceremony to present the "Sophia Award for Excellence". This award pays tribute to a person or an organization that has actively contributed to the international appreciation of Spain and the Americas through a donation of time, expertise and innate wisdom in the areas of science, arts or the humanities.

The president and CEO is David Askren and the executive director since September, 2017 is Patrice Degnan Erquicia.


Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, Inc. (The “Institute”) is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1954 to stimulate American's interest in the Art, Culture, Customs, language, literature and history of the Spanish speaking world and to promote, among the Spanish-speaking peoples of the world, knowledge and understanding of ideals, culture and customs of the people of the United States, to the end that ties of friendship may be formed, mutual understanding promoted, and bonds of peace strengthened.

Cultural events

The Institute holds a wide variety of artistic endeavors, including the co-sponsoring of exhibitions and lectures on important artistic movements, artists and their works. Along with visual arts, the institute strives to support performance art as well, including concerts, performances, and lectures on the relevance of this art in today's society. The institute also holds gastronomy events in order to enrich American's knowledge of foods of the Spanish-speaking world and to bring people together.

The Institute holds a biannual translation prize to recognize translators who have successfully translated a work from Spanish to English and helped to make knowledge accessible.

The Institute holds historical and educational lectures in order to enrich American's understanding and knowledge of the Spanish-Speaking World.

Gala Gold Medalists

Beginning in 1978, The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute's Gold Medal was annually awarded to Americans and Hispanic people in recognition of their contributions to the betterment of relations between the United States and the Spanish Speaking World. This event brought together an array of international and American leaders and benefactors for a festive night of celebration. The Gala was a major source of funds for the activities of the institute.

In 2003, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Institute, the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Medal was awarded to His Majesty King Juan Carlos I and Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain.

The Institute no longer holds a Gold Medal Gala.

The recipients of the Gold Medal were:

Translation Prize

With the aim of elevating awareness and engendering an appreciation of Spanish literature in the United States, this triennial $10,000 prize has been created by the Cultural Committee and board of directors of Queen Sofía Spanish Institute to honor the best English-language translation of a work by a Spanish author. The inaugural award, celebrating the best translation published between 2006 and 2008, was given in 2010 to Edith Grossman for her 2008 translation of Antonio Muñoz Molina's A Manuscript of Ashes.

This prize celebrates the work and dedication of the translator and the $10,000.

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