Ana Gil-García named an outstanding visionary woman in higher education

AnaGilGarciasmBy Elio Leturia—WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH started in 1982 when Congress requested a week in March be “Women’s History Week.” Five years later, in 1987, the President proclaimed March to be “Women’s History Month.”

Honoring “Women’s History Month,” Diverse magazine published its third annual report highlighting the work and contributions of 30 women to higher education.

One of these honorees is Dr. Ana Gil-García, Professor of Educational Leadership at Northeastern Illinois University, and a past-president of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

“This is an acknowledgement to the work and effort that women put to higher education,” Gil-García said.

diversemagAn award-winning educator and director of membership of the Chicago Fulbright Association, Gil-García has a long teaching career. She is a three-time Fulbright US Scholar (Venezuela, Middle East, and Armenia) who works tirelessly for a variety of community organizations.

A native Venezuelan, Gil-García is an author, community leader, and advocate for Latino educational leaders.

For 11 years she was the only Latina professor in her department, Gil-García said. “Minority women constitute only 3% of all teachers in higher education. To be recognized in this group is an honor because it also serves to give an example of role models and show a presence among minority university students.”

She holds a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership, Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Specialist Degree in Middle School Curriculum, and Bachelor’s degree in Biology Teaching.

Free tickets for “La Fulana Respetuosa” theater play (with English supertitles)

“LA FULANA RESPETUOSA” theater play is being presented by Aguijón Theater from March 14 until April 13.

Elio Leturia, vice president of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, is performing in the play and has donated 10 tickets to be used by Fulbright students. The dates? Friday March 28 and Friday April 4, 2014 both at 8 p.m.

If you want a ticket, contact Elio Leturia immediately at eleturia[at]colum[dot]edu with your name and school, and the date you would like to attend.

The play, written by Jean Paul Sartre (The Respectful Prostitute) and directed by Cuban Sándor Menéndez explores topics such as racism, abuse of power and sex through the story of Lizzie MacKay, a white prostitute targeted by police and politicians to collaborate in framing a black man for a crime he did not commit.

Aguijón’s production re-imagines the script with a musical dimension, featuring songs interpreted by well-known local singer Alba Guerra throughout the piece. Guerra functions as a kind of narrator for the piece, giving musical voice to Lizzie’s conscience, past, hope and pain.

“La Fulana Respetuosa” is presented in Spanish with English supertitles.

Aguijón Theater is located at 2707 N. Laramie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639,
ph: 773-637-5899

Street parking available. Additional free parking available at Grace English Lutheran Church lot (2725 N. Laramie Avenue—entrance on Parker).

For mature audiences. Sexual content, strong language and violence.

“Korean Central Asians after the U.S.S.R” Conference presented at NEIU

Dr. Valeriy Sergeevich Khan

Dr. Valeriy Sergeevich Khan

By Mary Mares-Awe—FULBRIGHT RESEARCH SCHOLAR Valeriy Sergeevich Khan will be the key presenter at the 19th Annual Asian & Asian-American Heritage Conference at Northeastern Illinois University on April 3rd, 2014.

Dr. Khan is a Fulbright Research Scholar at the Center of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Kansas. He is a well-known authority in the area of cultural and ethnic studies of the Korean diaspora and an expert on ethnic transformation of Korean emigrants. He has been a research fellow at the National Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan serving as the Vice-Director of the Department of Ethnic Studies.

Dr. Khan’s presentation entitled, Korean Central Asians—after the U.S.S.R, will take place on Thursday, April 3rd, at 10:50 am at the Golden Eagles room of the Student Union on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University.

The event is co-sponsored by Fulbright, NEIU College of Arts & Sciences, and Asian/Global Resource Center.

We encourage all our members and those interested in the topic of cultural identities among immigrant communities to attend this unique and interesting lecture.

Fulbright Chicago sponsors Opening Night of “Empty Chalices” by Fulbrighter Judy Veramendi

agustiniwebBy Elio Leturia—IN CONMEMORATION OF the centennial of the death of the great Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini, the Instituto Cervantes presents Empty Chalices/Los Cálices Vacíos, a theater play by Judy Veramendi, directed by Madrid St Angelo.

Judy Veramendi

Judy Veramendi

Judy Veramendi is a poet, a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Columbia College Chicago alumna.

The Opening Night Reception, on Tuesday April 1, 2014, 6:00-7:00 p.m., is sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association and you, your friends and family are invited!

PERFORMANCES IN ENGLISH Tuesday April 1, 7-8:30 PM | Saturday April 5, 12-1:30 PM | Monday, April 7, 7-8:30 PM

FUNCIONES EN ESPAÑOL Martes 8 de abril, 7-8:30 PM | Viernes 11 de abril, 7-8:30 PM | Sábado 12 de abril, 12-1:30 PM

There will be a Q&A session with the playwright and directing team after each show.

TICKETS Click HERE, or at the door $25 adults; $15 students, seniors, or groups

PARKING Discounted rates at garage just east of Cervantes Institute; Red line stop Grand & State. Information: 224-522-2083

Thanks to the support of the Consulate of Uruguay in Chicago, IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) and the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago

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Visiting Fulbright students attend 2014 International Women’s Day celebration

Left to right: Ronald Harvey, Ander Indart, Isaac Mejia, Flor Fernandez, Jenni Schneiderman, Meredith McNeil, Preema John, Patricia Powell, R. Schwarting

Left to right: Ronald Harvey, Ander Indart, Isaac Mejía, Flor Fernández, Jenni Schneiderman, Meredith McNeil, Preema John, Patricia Powell, R. Schwarting

By Meredith McNeilTHE UNION LEAGUE CLUB OF CHICAGO played host for the 13th Annual Chicago Women’s Day, Friday, March 7th. The Fulbright Association-Chicago Chapter not only was a partner organization for the event (organized by WorldChicago,) but five former Fulbrighters from the Chapter and five current visiting Fulbright students attended the International Fair and luncheon keynote speakers. The five visiting Fulbrighters attended free of charge through the generous contributions* from members of the Board, and co-sponsored through IIE.

Board member Meredith McNeil gets an engineering lesson from visiting Fulbright engineering students Ander Indart and Isaac Mejía.

Board member Meredith McNeil gets an engineering lesson from visiting Fulbright engineering students Ander Indart and Isaac Mejía.

Attendees from the Chicago Chapter Board included Ronald Harvey (President), Patricia Powell, Meredith McNeil, Marilyn Susman, and Chicago Chapter member Jenni Schneiderman. Visiting Fulbrighters were R. Schwarting (Germany, University of Chicago, Sociology), Ander Indart (Spain, UIC, Civil Engineering), Flor Fernández (Nicaragua, UIC, Masters in Business Administration), Isaac Mejía (Guatemala, UIC, Mechanical Engineering), and Preema John (India, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Arts Administration and Cultural Policy).

Rasha Mohammed

Rasha Mohammed

All three of the influential and spirited speakers highlighted the main themes of partnership and the need for males, as well as females, to be active in women’s causes that work towards change. The two cultural speakers, Dr. Rasha Mahmoud Hussein Mohammed of Cairo, and architect Carmen Vidal-Hallett of Chicago and Brazil, detailed how females are “revolutionary” in their countries.

C. Vidal-Hallett

C. Vidal-Hallett

In Brazil, Vidal-Hallett made encouraging remarks about women’s involvement in environmental improvement, mainly through water quality.

Dr. Mohammed’s focus was on women’s engagement in the Egyptian Revolution and how this activity has led to more men becoming active in anti-sexual harassment causes.

Michele Ledgerwood

M. Ledgerwood

The keynote speaker, Michèle Ledgerwood of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), highlighted the seven Revolutions affecting our world today (i.e., information, technology, security, governance) and how women are both affected by each, and how women can affect each in a transformative way. Although the topics and speakers were varied, the message remained that women, globally, need to work together, across economic, cultural, and religious lines, in order to continue to better situations for themselves and their families, and that male participation and inclusion is necessary for future improvements.

Jenni Schniederman and long-time Board member Marilyn Susman.

Jenni Schniederman and long-time Board member Marilyn Susman.

One of our visiting Fulbrighters, Isaac Mejía, had this to say about Ms. Ledgerwood: “The key speaker showed what I expect in a female leader. She had a great background experience. The way she started her speech with current references grabbed the public’s attention immediately.” Regarding Dr. Mohammed, Mejía said the “presentation was a great show of diversity and leadership in the African countries. I enjoyed the pictures showing the empowerment of women through the last decades. It is extremely nice to hear of current examples that somehow will influence the women in countries like mine that are male dominated.”

“Attending the luncheon was a great opportunity to hear from successful and multifaceted women who are catalysts for change and leaders in their fields,” added Flor Fernández. “It was truly an inspiring experience.”

The Fulbright table listens attentively to Dr. Rasha Mahmoud Hussein Mohammed’s description of women’s involvement in social change in Cairo.

The Fulbright table listens attentively to Dr. Rasha Mahmoud Hussein Mohammed’s description of women’s involvement in social change in Cairo.

The afternoon closed with remarks from the vice president of the Union League, highlighting the well-known Chinese proverb: when sleeping women wake, mountains move.  It was an excellent call to action at the end of an event encouraging positive female engagement in today’s world and positive change for all!  The Fulbright Chapter attendees left with a great sense of optimism for the future.

* Thanks to Christina Macholan, Don Garner, Elio Leturia, Regina Mamou and Marilyn Susman

Photos by Ron Harvey

Distributing knowledge through the Book Partnership Project

Fred Siegman, Ron Harvey and Jane Florine

Fred Siegman, Ron Harvey and Jane Florine getting ready to pack books.

By Mary Mares-Awe—THE CHICAGO CHAPTER OF THE FULBRIGHT ASSOCIATION  is in the final push of completing this year’s book drive as part of its Book Partnership initiative. More than one thousand books have been collected from various schools, organizations, libraries and private individuals over the past several months. Most of the books have been sorted, boxed, and are now ready to be shipped.

The books will be donated to Ethiopian children and to students and children in Macedonia. We are in negotiations with Turkish Airlines for their contribution to this worthwhile project—shipping the books to Macedonia. Some of the Spanish-language books in our collection have been earmarked for children in Guatemala.

José Rodríguez, Jim Nowaczok, Ana Gil-García and Mary Mares-Awe

José Rodríguez, Jim Nowaczok, Ana Gil-García and Mary Mares-Awe

At this point many thanks to everyone  including José, Ron, Mary, Jeff, Ana, Jenni, Fred, Jim, Jane and others who gave up a  part of their  Saturday March 1st, and this past Saturday, March 7th,  in sorting, and boxing up the books. Also, thanks to and many others who’ve been involved with gathering and delivering the books to our storage facility at the Ethiopian Community Association in Rogers Park. This is a huge effort and anyone’s contribution, no matter how small or large, is paramount to the success of this wonderful project.

The books should be on their way to their destinations in the next few weeks.

Background: The Book Partnership began in 2007 and has involved strategic relationship building between our Chicago Chapter and Fulbright Alumni Associations in different countries. Over the last 7 years, thousands of books for school-aged children have been donated. They’ve then been shipped to Fulbright Alumni in Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Moldova, Ghana and Botswana. The Fulbright Alumni Associations have then distributed the books to local NGOs and schools, and ultimately into the hands of teachers and children.

Photos by Jenni Schneiderman

Chicago Celebrates 2014 Annual International Women’s Day

THE CHICAGO CHAPTER of the Fulbright Association is proud to partner with WorldChicago and the International Trade Club of Chicago to celebrate International Women’s Day and you are cordially invited!

WHEN Friday, March 7, 2014
10:30 am- International Fair
Noon- Keynote Luncheon

WHERE The Union League Club of Chicago
65 W. Jackson Boulevard, Chicago


M. Ledgerwood

Featuring Keynote Speaker Michèle Ledgerwood, Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a senior speaker in the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy’s Seven Revolutions lecture series. Ledgerwood has more than 25 years of experience in the U.S. and European defense, healthcare, and scientific research environments.

This event will also count with the participation of two Cultural/ International speakers:

C. Vidal-Hallett

C. Vidal-Hallett

Carmen Vidal-Hallett, Principal of Chicago-based Eco Vidal Design Inc. and an acclaimed architect and urban planner who specializes in innovative sustainable design.

Vidal-Hallet founded EcoVidalDesign, Inc. in 2008 and has taken her company to work recently on Chicago parks and affordable housing renovations. She has also worked closely with Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) in projects such as the Chicago UNO Natchez School and Rio de Janeiro’s LEED Neighborhood Development Green Technology District.


Rasha Eldeeb

Dr. Rasha Eldeeb is currently completing her MBA in Healthcare at the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.

Originally from Giza, Egypt, Dr. Eldeeb served as Head of the Donor Care Department at Elabbasia Regional Blood Transfusion Centre in Cairo. Additionally, she was an Assistant Lecturer at the Hematology Laboratories of the National Cancer Institute.


Alison Cuddy

As a mistress of ceremonies and moderator, this International Women’s Day will have Alison Cuddy who covers arts and culture for WBEZ, including co-hosting/producing Changing Channels and Strange Brews.

Previously, Cuddy was the host of WBEZ’s award-winning weekday news magazine Eight Forty-Eight and the creator of Weekender, the weekly guide to events happening in and around Chicago. Cuddy also served as the senior producer of Chicago Matters, the year-long series examining various topics of broad interest to the region.

For more information and to register, please visit