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Rafael Rodriguez Ponga y Salamanca

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Name  Rafael y
Children  Married. 4 children.
Role  Politician
Profession  Linguist, politician
Party  People's Party
Religion  Catholic

Rafael Rodriguez-Ponga y Salamanca wwwdiariocriticocomfotos1noticias10c11625
Alma mater  Complutense University of Madrid
Education  Complutense University of Madrid

Political party  Partido Popular (PP)

Rafael Rodríguez-Ponga y Salamanca (shortly Rafael R-Ponga, born 1960, in Madrid) is a Spanish linguist and politician. Today, he's the Secretary General of Instituto Cervantes. Since June 2013 he is Vicepresident of EUNIC Global, the international association of European Union National Institutes for Culture.



Dr. Ponga graduated in Hispanic Linguistics at Complutense University of Madrid. Years later, he obtained a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Linguistics at the same University.

In 1984, he passed a process of public examination to become a funcionario. He first serviced at the Office of the Spokesperson of the Government (inside the Palace of Moncloa).

Professional career

In 1987 he was appointed Counselor of Information and Press at the Spanish Embassy in Mexico. Back in Madrid in 1990, he serviced at the Ministry of the Spokesman of the Government and. He is appointed Sud-Director of Relations and Cooperation of the aforementioned Ministry in 1993, which is later transferred to the Ministry of the Presidency (Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba being the Minister).

Right after the electoral win by the PP in 1996, he is appointed Director-General of Cultural Cooperation and Communication by Esperanza Aguirre, the then Minister of Education and Culture. He kept his post in 1999 when Mariano Rajoy became the new Minister.

He is transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000 as Director-General of Cultural and Scientific Relations. A year later, he is appointed Secretary General of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation by the then Minister, Josep Piqué. He will keep this post with Ana Palacio.

Political career

Because of the electoral change in May 2004 (general elections were won by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), he leaves the Public Service and starts to work at the central office of the Spanish People's Party and becomes a member of its National Executive Committee. He reorganized PP structure overseas, overviewed policies on immigration and social affairs and gets elected MP in the 2008 general elections (taking office in 2011). He was elected again as Member of Parliament in November 20, 2011, but he has resigned as he was appointed Secretary General of Instituto Cervantes.

He has been the National Secretary of Social Participation of the Spanish People's Party.

Since 2008 to 2012, he has also been member of the Council of Administration of Telemadrid.

Academic activity

In addition to his professional and political career, he has developed an intellectual activity involving Spanish language and culture, specially about Asia and the Pacific.

In 1985 he received a research grant from the Foundation Juan March, which allowed him to travel to the Philippines, the Mariana Islands and Japan. Thanks to this research, he wrote his thesis (dissertation) on the relation between the Spanish and the Chamorro languages, which granted him a Doctorate (summa cum laude) in Philology at the Complutense University. He has written several works and the book about chamorro language and contact languages in the Pacific, Del español al chamorro, lenguas en contacto en el Pacífico, Madrid 2009. In 2009, an international group of scholars interested in the Chamorro language founded CHiN, the Chamorro Linguistics International Network, of which he is the President.

Social activity

In 2007 he is appointed President of the Fundación Humanismo y Democracia (H+D) (Foundation Humanism and Democracy). He is also President of the International Platform for Cooperation and Migration (IPCM), which was created in association with other European organizations.


Rafael Rodriguez-Ponga y Salamanca Wikipedia