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Montserrat Armengou

2016/17 King Juan Carlos I Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization
Nebridi Aróztegui

Montse Armengou Martín joins NYU as the King Juan Carlos Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization for Spring 2017. Armengou is a distinguished Spanish journalist and investigative documentary filmmaker. She has worked at Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) since 1985.

Through her work as a documentary filmmaker, Armengou has unearthed and presented new evidence about the social history of repression in Spain during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco (1936-1975) in Spain. She is the co-director, with Ricard Belis of Los niños perdidos del franquismo (Franco's Forgotten Children, 2002), Les fosses del silenci (Graves of Silence, 2003), and El convoy de los 927 (927 on the Train to Hell, 2004, about the Spanish victims of the Holocaust). More recently, she has directed two high-profile documentaries. Abuelo, te sacaré de aquí (2013) chronicles the history of the Valle de los Caídos (the “Valley of the Fallen”), a fascist mausoleum in the middle of Europe honoring dictator Franco and established as a representation of democratic reconciliation. Los internados del miedo (The Institutions of Fear, 2015) investigates and documents the abuse and enslavement of children in state-owned, catholic orphanages during the dictatorship and part of the democratic transition.

Armengou's documentaries have received numerous awards, including Premio Nacional de Cultura de Catalunya; Grand Prix FIGRA (France); Best Director, Human Rights Film Festival, Barcelona, 2003; Prix Liberpress (Radio France International, Paris); Bronze Medal, New York Film Festival; Prix International du Documentaire et du Reportage Méditerranéen; Best Use of Archival Footage, Memorimage; First Prize, IFTA; and First Prize, Catalan Women’s Association.

Armengou's documentary work has also been published in book form and has become a resource for human rights agencies and activists. Her work has been used, cited, and discussed by several United Nations units, including the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, and the Working Group on Forced Disappearances.

During her tenure as the Spring 2017 King Juan Carlos I of Spain Chair, she will offer public lectures in English and a series of roundtables themed around her work. She will also teach a graduate seminar entitled Documentary and the Recovery of Historical Memory.

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King Juan Carlos I Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization

(Established in 1983, thanks to the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Petrie, this endowed professorship allows New York University to bring to campus each year an eminent scholar of the history and culture of modern Spain.)

His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain visited New York University for the first time in December, 1983. On that occasion, John Brademas, then-President of the University, gave the King a doctorate honoris causa in recognition of the enormous contributions His Majesty has made in the causes of democracy and education. During the Ceremony, Brademas announced the creation of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization. As a result of the visit of His Majesty Juan Carlos I in 1983, conversations about the creation of a center for Spanish studies at New York University also were initiated.

The Chair facilitates the exposure of NYU departments and students to other facets of Spain beyond those traditionally present at the University level. Since 1985, this endowed professorship has allowed NYU to bring to campus each year an eminent specialist in the history, politics, economics, or culture of Spain, to offer courses and lectures, and to carry out their own research. It is an intrinsic part of the Center’s mission to integrate the discussion of Spain in fields in which it historically has been marginalized, such as economics, philosophy, and politics. It also brings together scholars of Spain from around the world.

A committee of NYU professors of Hispanic Studies meets each year to evaluate the candidates for the Chair, and to select a Chairholder. In addition to their teaching and research activities, Chairholders participate actively in programming many of the Center’s public events.

“I give thanks in the name of Spain. While it is true that this university has founded the Chair in my name, I am entirely conscious of what the Chair means for my country, for the community of Hispanic nations, and for all Spanish speakers in this hemisphere and on other continents.”

-H.M. Juan Carlos I of Spain

December, 1983

See Past Chairs