A Cinco de Mayo Fulbright Spring Farewell with a cooking demonstration and Latin American music

A VIRTUAL FAREWELL presents its challenges but here at Fulbright Chicago we are inventive and resourceful. 

We decided to say adiós to our graduating Fulbright Scholars and Students with a Mexican food cooking demonstration and a mini concert of Latin American music, celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the Mexican communities in Chicago. 

Communications Director Elio Leturia welcomed our members and guests giving us an historical background on the celebration, many times referred as the Mexican independence—which it is not, but rather the Battle of Puebla when the Mexican army defeated the French on May 5, 1872. Board member Dr. Ana Gil-García introduced our first guest, Nydia Castillo, producer and host of the YouTube show “Cocina Castillo.” 

Nydia Castillo showing the flautas she prepared during the demonstration.

Castillo had prepared a delicious menu that included a Paloma cocktail (she decided to try something new—not the expected Margarita) and showed us the differences among tacos, flautas, tortas and sopes. The colors and the presentation of these dishes were mouthwatering. This demonstration was intermingled with music performed by singer Ana Santos and guitarist Dean Karabatsos. 

Dean Karabatsos on the guitar and Ana Santos on vocals performed four Latin American songs.

The duo performed three songs: Contigo aprendí (I Learned with You,) bolero by Armando Manzanero, La Llorona (The Weeping Woman,) a traditional Mexican folk song, and Piel canela (Cinnamon Skin) bolero cha cha by Bobby Capó. 

Fulbright Chicago Chapter President Dr. Edel Jose, who was on a work-related trip to Seattle, connected from the West Coast to welcome all participants, encouraging the departing Fulbrighters to share the Fulbright ideals of international education in their countries of origin. This message was expanded by board member Dr. Marilyn Susman, also a founding member of our Fulbright Chicago chapter, who discussed the role that Fulbrighters play in promoting our mission.   

The event continued with the presentation of the names of all the Fulbrighters who were leaving the Chicago area after having completed their programs in the United States. Dr. Tatiana Orlova, a board member of our chapter, had prepared a Power Point to highlight them. 

The event closed with attendees’ participation and to end our event with music and rhythm, Ana Santos and Dean Karabatsos had one more song prepared for us: Contigo a la distancia, (With You All the Way,) bolero by César Portillo de la Luz. 

What a joyous way to celebrate a Fulbright experience! 

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