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Owen heads to Spain to see royals

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
April 28, 2010 5:55 pm

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen will meet with the king and queen of Spain during a trip to their country next week.

His office is emphasizing that Owen is traveling at no cost to taxpayers – or at least Washington taxpayers. The Spanish government is footing the bill.

Owen is making the trip as head of Washington’s delegation to a ceremony at the University of Washington’s study center in León.

He traveled there last year for a similar ceremony, to “formally open” the 9,000-square-foot center housed in a 14th-century palace, according to a news release. The May 4 event is to “inaugurate” the center. Sounds similar, but a spokesman for Owen said the main difference is that King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia are expected to attend this year.

Owen has met the king and queen once before – in 2004, when they visited Seattle for a Spanish art exhibit. In 2008, a ceremony in Washington bestowed a Spanish knighthood on Owen, but the royal couple wasn’t present. This will be his first time seeing them as “Don Brad.”

The lieutenant governor will be joined by diplomats, University of Washington faculty, officials from the Makah Nation, and representatives of businesses like Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing and Sur La Table.

Owen to meet with Spanish king
and queen, open new UW center in Spain

OLYMPIA – Lt. Governor Owen will be officially received by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia of Spain in León on May 4 as he joins in a ceremony to inaugurate the University of Washington’s new study center there.

It will be the lieutenant governor’s second meeting with the Spanish king and queen, the first being when the royal couple visited Seattle in 2004 for a Spanish art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum.   The lieutenant governor was bestowed an order of Spanish knighthood by King Juan Carlos I in 2007, with a formal ceremony taking place in the state Capitol in 2008.

“I am honored to be taking part in this ceremony, which will mark another step forward in an already significant economic, educational, and cultural relationship between Spain and the great state of Washington,” said Lt. Gov. Owen.  The lieutenant governor will make formal remarks to the king and queen in his capacity as leader of the Washington delegation.

The lieutenant governor was last in Spain in 2009, when he joined officials from the University of Washington to formally open the 9,000 square foot UW Center in the 14th Century Palace of the Conde de Luna in León. The UW is operating under a 10-year, rent-free agreement with the City of León at the site, where UW students from its College of Arts and Sciences may enroll for study abroad programs.

The palace has been restored to its former grandeur by the Spanish government, with the UW facility located in the tower of the palace.

The lieutenant governor will be joined by a delegation of key Washington businesses representing Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, and Sur La Table; the chairman and a council member of the Makah Nation; four faculty and associates from the University of Washington; Luis F. Esteban, honorary consul of Spain for Washington; Jorge Dezcallar, the Ambassador of Spain to the United States and Jorge Sobredo, Spain’s cultural ambassador in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the UW study center, the palace will be home to a new business development and educational exchange web portal that will connect more than 300 businesses in the region of Castilla y León with businesses in Washington for the purpose of collaborative research and development as well as for new opportunities for import and export between Spain and the United States.

The Washington-based businesses will be on hand to develop and bolster business relationships. The Makah tribal government will be there to research information on the first trade relations between Spain and the tribe, initiated in 1774, and to look into economic development opportunities in fisheries and wind power.

The lieutenant governor will travel at no cost to taxpayers. Expenses for the lieutenant governor and those of his director for economic development and international relations, Dr. Antonio Sanchez, are being paid by the Spanish government.

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