The UW’s connection to León, Spain, has been extended through 2025, with an option to renew it an additional four years to 2029.
President Ana Mari Cauce signed the new agreement earlier this month and city leaders in Spain celebrated the decade-old relationship last week.
Since 2010, Huskies have been able to study at the León Center in El Palacio del Conde de Luna, a 9,000-square-foot space in a Renaissance tower. The León Center provides students and the local community with an opportunity to immerse themselves in Spanish language and culture.
“The opportunity to live and study in León has changed the lives of over 1,200 students, and we look forward to serving many more in the years to come,” said Tony Geist, former chairman of UW Spanish and Portuguese Studies and founding director of the León Center.
By providing a space that can be used for study abroad programs, academic research, conferences, exhibits, and cultural events, the center aims to create a resource that encourages understanding and compassion between cultures, and that will cultivate global citizens who are tolerant and respectful of cultural diversity, as well as who have a sense of themselves as responsible members of a global community.
UW units from all three campuses that use the center include art, Spanish, business, international affairs, dance, music, communications, sociology, the Honors program and various English language programs.
Built in the 14th century, the Palacio del Conde Luna (Palace of Count Luna) was the seat of the Kingdom of León before Christian Spain united under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1469.
Originally a Gothic structure, the palace gained a three-story tower in the 16th century, built for the daughter of Hernán Cortés, conqueror of Mexico.
In 2009, the entire building underwent a $33.6 million renovation. The UW’s agreement with the city allows the university to use the space rent free.
In Rome, the UW operates a similar center. Opened in 1984, it’s in the Palazzo Pio, which overlooks the Campo di Fiori and includes classrooms, offices and several apartments.