The awards ceremony of the 2016 Premios da Cultura Galega Prize for outstanding figures in education, science and art has been held in Santiago de Compostela. Elena Zernova, Associate Professor, Director of the St. Petersburg State University Centre for Galician Studies, and Vice President of the International Association of Galician Studies, has received the award for her contribution to the development of the Galician culture outside of Spain.
Elena Zernova has been the director of the Centre for Galician Studies, which works with the Galician language and culture, for many years. Her efforts also include the translation and promotion of Russian scholars' works in Spain. In addition, since 1995, Saint Petersburg State University has been running a large-scale project, whose aim is to create an anthology of Galician literature, with Elena as a compiler and the editor-in-chief. Today, the anthology consists of 20 volumes, which include translations of medieval and classical Galician prose and poetry and introduce outstanding Galician authors to the Russian audience.
The Centre also offers courses of the Galician language. There are many well-known experts among the graduates of the Centre's seminar on literary translation. Every year, University students receive scholarships of the Government of Galicia, and doctoral students go on study visits to the Ramón Piñeiro Centre for Research in Humanities. "Despite the fact that the Galician language classes are optional and are held mainly for philology students studying Spanish and Portuguese, our seminar is attended by students with other majors as well," Elena says. "The study of the Galician language also interests employees of such cultural institutions of St. Petersburg as Kunstkamera, the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, and the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts."
Elena Zernova's academic research interests include the history of the Spanish language, national variants of the Spanish language in Latin America, Spain's minority languages (Galician and Catalan), and translation theory. She has published more than 70 works in Russia, Spain and Italy and is a member of the editorial boards of several scientific journals in Spain and Italy.
As a guest lecturer, Elena has read courses in various foreign universities, including the Central University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, St. Sebastian University, he National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Universities of Granada, Santiago, Vigo, and Lleida.
Galicia is one of the major historic autonomous regions of Spain, preserving and promoting its outstanding cultural traditions and original language for centuries.
The St. Petersburg State University Centre for Galician Studies was established after a cooperation agreement was signed between the University and the Autonomous Government of Galicia in 1993. There are 38 academic institutions of this kind in the largest universities all over the world, and St. Petersburg State University Centre for Galician Studies is the only one in Russia.
In May 2014, on the 290th anniversary of St. Petersburg State University, The Centre for Galician Studies celebrated its 20th anniversary. President of the Royal Galician Academy Xesús Alonso Montero, Deputy Minister of Culture of Galicia Jesús Oitavén Barcala, The Royal Bagpipe Band of the County Council of Ourense, and other guests attended the event to congratulate the University and the Centre. The director of the Centre was awarded a commemorative silver plate of the Galician government (Xunta de Galicia) and a silver medal for her considerable efforts to support and spread the Galician culture.