RMIT committed to fostering Australia-Spain ties

RMIT committed to fostering Australia-Spain ties

As Australia and Spain celebrate the 55th anniversary of their bilateral links, RMIT continues to play a key role in cooperation across education and research between both countries.

Political, economic and cultural cooperation is the central axis of ties established between Australia and Spain when they established diplomatic relations in October 1967.

Spain opened its first embassy in Canberra on 3 May 1968 and Australia opened its embassy in Madrid on 16 July 1968. 

The two countries are now celebrating fifty-five years of bilateral relations. 

RMIT is proud of its contribution to the relationship between both countries in the education and research sphere through its European hub in Barcelona – RMIT Europe, which was established ten years ago.

RMIT Europe Executive Director Professor Marta Fernandez said RMIT has a deep committment to enabling a positive impact in the local ecosystem and communities where it operates, as well as strengthening links between Australia and Spain. 

"RMIT Europe has raised circa A$20.5 million in research funding for projects, many of which have directly contributed to scientific and cultural cooperation between Australia and Spain," she said. 

The team regularly connects Spanish universities and organisations with RMIT students for internships, study abroad and exchange opportunities. To date, this has included over 2500 student industry experiences connecting Australia and Spain. 

RMIT Europe’s contribution was recognised by the 2022 Malaspina Award from the Spanish Embassy in Australia and the Spanish Researchers in Australia-Pacific Association (SRAP).

RMIT Europe.jpg RMIT Europe is located in Barcelona's innovation district 22@, and co-located with Eurecat – one of the leading technology centres in Southern Europe.

RMIT recently participated in an event organised by the Australian Embassy in Madrid to mark the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.  

Her Excellency Sophia McIntyre, Ambassador of Australia to Spain, highlighted that the relationship between Australia and Spain is based on common values. 

"As liberal democracies with similar-sized and export-oriented economies, we have a common interest in working to support multilateralism and the rules-based international order," Ambassador McIntyre said. 

The event to celebrate the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations coincided with the beginning of National Reconciliation Week in Australia, taking place between 27 May and 3 June 2023. 

The evening showcased First Nations art and culture, including a specially-created design by RMIT alumnus Lou Bloomer, an Indigenous artist originally from Grafton, Northern New South Wales, with Spanish heritage. 

“We want to show our commitment to Indigenous perspectives as an integral part of the Australian identity and promote in Spain the culture and the arts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," Ambassador McIntyre said.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'Australian Embassy in Spain event.jpg' (L-R) Professor Marta Fernandez, Professor Gary Thomas, Ambassador Ms Sophia McIntyre and Ms Saira Luther at the Australian Embassy event in Madrid.

RMIT's Professor Gary Thomas, Pro-Vice Chancellor Indigenous Education, Research & Engagement, spoke at the event on the importance of relationships and the University’s commitment to the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners, researchers and professionals. 

“Reconciliation is about the practice of relationships. The responsibility that we share to encourage, support, protect and celebrate our shared humanity," Professor Thomas said.

"Universities are sites of aspirations, energy and the pursuit of ideas. I’m proud to work for an institution that takes its commitments seriously particularly regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

"As we celebrate the 55 years of our relationship with Spain, we may consider how we all can continue to listen and learn from each other to be more effective partners and good global citizens," he said.  

In 2023 RMIT Europe is celebrating the significant milestone of its 10-year anniversary of operations in Barcelona. To learn about RMIT's history in Europe and keep up with the latest news and events, visit the #RMITEurope10 webpage and follow RMIT Europe on TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram

Inés Crosas


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  • RMIT Europe
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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.