Frederick de Armas and Julio Vélez-Sainz, PhD’01, received a rare invitation from the Queen of Spain to participate along with two other scholars in a seminar on Spanish literature. The seminar, officially titled “Seminario Ciencia y Pensamiento Contemporáneos,” took place on February 17 at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid. De Armas, Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor in Romance Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, discussed theatre and the arts of the Spanish Golden Age. Vélez-Sainz– who wrote his dissertation under the direction of de Armas–presented on his own scholarship and served as moderator for the session.
The Queen’s seminar is a major academic honor for those selected and follows a specific protocol. A formal invitation is issued to four scholars on a chosen topic to a small audience composed of the Queen, diplomats, professors, and intellectuals. The presenters then join the Queen for tea, where they present her with copies of their scholarship.
“I was truly impressed by the Queen’s knowledge of the participants’ work,” de Armas said. “She was also most gracious—thanking me for coming such a long way to see her and participate in her seminar.”