Celebrating the TotalBank Distinguished Speaker Series in Spanish & Mediterranean Studies

On June 17, 2015, the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs and TotalBank, together with the Consulate General of Spain, celebrated the launch of the TotalBank Distinguished Speaker Series in Spanish and Mediterranean Studies. A check presentation ceremony took place at the official residence of the Consul General of Spain and was attended by more than 50 guests. TotalBank presented the first of three installments of a $75,000 gift to support the Green School’s Initiative for Spanish and Mediterranean Studies.

The vision of the Green School is to establish an endowed Center for Spanish and Mediterranean Studies, which will explore and highlight the Spanish heritage of the United States, the impact of Hispanics in our society today, and the ongoing ties between Spain and the Americas. FIU’s commitment to the study of Spain and the broader Mediterranean is motivated in part by the fact that the university is currently the largest Hispanic-serving institution of higher learning in the United States.

“TotalBank has made a generous commitment to FIU and to the community, allowing us to deepen our understanding of historic and contemporary ties between Spain and the New World,” said John F. Stack, Jr., Dean of the Green School.

Ambassador Cristina Barrios, Spain’s Consul General in Miami, congratulated TotalBank for its leadership role in supporting the initiative. Since her appointment as Consul General, she has been a strong supporter of the Green School’s initiative to establish a Center for Spanish and Mediterranean Studies. “This center,” she said, “will serve as an anchor for the study, understanding and celebration of the Spanish heritage of Florida and the United States.”

TotalBank Senior Vice President Martha Guerra-Kattou presented the check to Dean Stack and Aurora Morcillo, director of the Initiative for Spanish and Mediterranean Studies. “We are excited about our partnership with FIU, and the positive effect that the Initiative for Spanish and Mediterranean Studies will have on our greater community,” said Guerra-Kattou. “The TotalBank Distinguished Speaker Series will be working to develop opportunities for new business and investments with Spain that will impact the lives of people today and for generations to come,” she added.

“The special relationship between Spain and Florida continues to be a source of pride and strength for our two regions,” said Dr. Morcillo. “This Initiative was conceived to reimagine the space between us as one of continuity rather than disconnect—Spain and the Mediterranean are one with Latin America and the Caribbean, inhabiting different coasts but sharing one ocean."

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(From Left to Right) TotalBank Representatives: Martha Guerra Kattou, Senior Vice President, Luis Miguel Gonzalez SVP, Director Of International Personal Banking, Lyan Fernandez, EVP, Chief Operating and Risk Officer, Director of the Initiative: Dr. Aurora Morcillo, Dean of the Green School: Dr. John F. Stack Jr. and Ambassador Cristina Barrios received the generous gift from TotalBank.

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More than fifty guests celebrated the new collaboration and contribution on June 17th at the residence of the Spanish Consul in Coral Gables with song, dance and cuisine from the region.

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Local husband and wife Flamenco artists Jose Luis Rodriguez and Niurca Marquez provided an outstanding Flamenco show to accompany the evening as guests mingled and enjoyed traditional Spanish hors d'oeuvres.