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In 2021 the Ibero-American Cultural Attaches Association celebrated its 45th anniversary. Its history goes back to January 20, 1976 when a group of Latin American diplomats working on cultural affairs decided to create the Inter-American Association of Cultural Attaches of Washington DC. Its purpose was promoting Latin American culture and traditions and building a cooperation platform among its members to reach larger audiences.

At the initiative of Dr. Javier Malagon, a Spanish humanist, historian, writer and diplomat with a deep affection for Latin America, Spain and Portugal became members of the group, giving birth to the new Ibero-American Cultural Attaches Association. The Association adopted its by-laws in 1993 and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia in 1999.

During 1976 the Association celebrated with the United States the Bicentennial of its Independence with several events. In 1979, the Association launched its first Art exhibition called “Diplomats in the Arts”, sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank. Since then, the Association carried out its mission building partnerships with numerous organizations, including the Meridian International Center, The Art Club of Washington, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, the Hirshhom Museum, the Textile Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Katzen Museum, the George Washington and American Universities, the Gala Theater and many others.

For the cultural program organized during 1981, in commemoration of the Millennium of the Spanish Language, the Association received a personal congratulation message from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia from Spain.

To bring Latin-American cinema to the DC audience, starting in 1989 the Association joined efforts with the American Film Institute and the Kennedy Center to organize “The Latin-American Film Festival”. A film showcase that after several years moved to the AFI Theater in Silver Spring and became the festival we know today. Since 2009, the Association has presented its own festival, screening thematic films in auditoriums of different embassies, with filmmakers and actors as guest artists.

In 1991, for the Quincentennial of the Encounter of Two Worlds, the Association inaugurated the Smithsonian’s Quincentenary program with a “Symposium of the Americas” and put together the exhibition “Art in the Ibero-American Embassies” at the Art Museum of Americas of the Organization of American States. This exhibition gave way to 17 annual series of Ibero-American Art Saloons, gathering both well recognized and emerging artists. The First Latin American Art Salon was held at the Espacio Cultural of the Embassy of Venezuela in 1992 and the last one in 2008 in the Katzen Museum.

Between 2007 and 2010, following the precedent of the1988 Ibero-American Chamber Music Festival at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, annual editions of the Ibero-american Guitar Festivals were held in partnershipwith George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution -National Museum of the American Indian-. More than 42 artists performed over the years and each edition honored some of the greatest guitar players of Ibero-América, including Alirio Díaz from Venezuela and Heitor Villa-Lobos from Brazil.

Starting in 2010, the Association, in partnership with Photoweek DC, presented at the Hillyer Gallery of Dupont Circle a series of annual photographic exhibitions that brought together until 2018 topics like immigration, climate change, environmental issues and the role of Latin American women, among others. Most exhibitions itinerated through the DMV area. In 2019, a partnership with Dupont Underground brought together a Photographic Installation “Urban Transformation” which gathered different aesthetics and points of view regarding the transformation of most of the important cities of Latin America.

During 2020 and 2021 the Association continued its activities virtually and to celebrate the impact of well-known Ibero-American writers in the United States, the Association coordinated with the Library of Congress a series of virtual dialogues engaging humanities academics, students and enthusiasts from the United States and Ibero-American culture community. Also, the Association engaged the audience in a conversation with contemporary artists whose work was part of the Natiomal Museum of Women in the Arts Women to watch exhibit and presented a Short Film Festival called “Feel Good”, and a virtual Guitar Festival.

The Association's trademark has been for many years the Ibero-American Night, a celebration that brings together gastronomy, music, dance and traditions from each member country. This fundraising event helps support the Association’s cultural program.


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