Juan de Lara is currently Cultural Manager at London’s Asia House, where he manages an ambitious program of public speakers & cultural events relating to Asia. Juan also is an associate for world-leading cultural consultancy firm, Barker Langham. He has a degree in Digital Engineering from CICE, Madrid, and a degree in the Architecture and Archaeology of Middle East from SOAS, London. Currently he is undertaking a PhD at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, where he also lectures.

QUESTION 1 – What is your favourite city in the world?

Certainly, Lisbon—here you can find the flavours and colours of almost every continent. The city remains a melting pot of Latin American traditions, African rhythms, and retains a great appreciation for their historic ties with Asia. For me, Lisbon represents one of the most elegant and educated cities in Europe.

QUESTION 2 – What is your favourite book?

Unfortunately for many years my reading time is devoted to essays and research books, so I have no time for novels. However, my friend Seif El Rashidi quotes The Little Prince almost daily—I should give it a try again. Last time I read it I was eight!

QUESTION 3 – Name two of your favourite dishes, or favourite restaurant.

With the right company, any restaurant can hit the note. However, on top of my list are Opso in London, Roscioli in Rome and Luzi Bombon in Madrid. A tip for city lovers: cities like London are so big and have such a huge variety of good restaurants, so what I do is to ‘save’ the ones I like on my Google Maps app. That way I can always remember my favourites when I am in different parts of town.

QUESTION 4 – What was your best ever holiday?

I think everyone needs to experience Japan. The ethos of the Japanese and their idiosyncrasies are extraordinary, particularly when it comes to protecting tradition as a social responsibility.

QUESTION 5 – What three things do you value most in the world?

Honesty—without it you get nowhere. And friendship—friends are there to support you on hardship, but also to challenge and educate your beliefs. Lastly, humility, as we move towards a world in which more and more people demand to be validated.