Spanish professor appointed to cultural institute in Spain

Maida Watson, professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages, has been named contributing member to the La Institución de Investigaciones y Estudios Abulenses Gran Duque de Alba in Avila, Spain.

Maida WatsonThe institute was established in 1962 in the Spanish province of Avila in order to study and promote the province’s culture.

“I feel very honored to be a part of this institute,” Watson said. “Funny enough, there were only two non-Spaniards appointed this year, myself and another professor from Canada. The institute is made up of Spanish academics who are very well-regarded in their fields. I think these appointments will offer them a new, international perspective on the type of work they do.”

Watson will serve as an adviser to the institution, offering insight on Iberian and Latin American literature, culture and other issues.

“I’m very excited about working with them,” Watson said. “It’ll be a great opportunity for the department to promote its Spanish graduate programs and recruit outstanding students. It’s just another example of how FIU is growing and making its global presence known.”

Watson, who was originally born in Panama City, Panama, immigrated to the United States in 1962 to attend Agnes Scott College where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and French. In 1972, she joined the faculty at FIU and continued her education, earning a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Florida in 1976 and a Master’s degree in Finance from FIU in 1987. During her 40-year-long career at FIU, Watson has held a variety of teaching and administrative roles, including chairwoman of the Department of Modern Languages from 1994-1997 and 2002-2005. She currently teaches Spanish at the graduate level and is a foreign language coordinator for the Center for International Business Education & Research (CIBER) in the College of Business Administration.

La Institución de Investigaciones y Estudios Abulenses Gran Duque de Alba supports historical, artistic and scientific research in order to protect the cultural and artistic heritage of Avila. Located in the central part of Spain, Avila is one hour away from Madrid and its history dates back to pre-Roman times in the fifth century B.C. Often referred to as the “City of Stones and Saints,” it has the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches and is described as the most 16th century city in Spain.

By Evelyn S. Perez