Tag Archives: Columbia College Chicago

Cristina Sisson is the recipient of the 2016 Dee Sarelas Fulbright Service Award

By Teuta PejaSOME 100 GUESTS  gathered on Friday, January 27, 2017 at the elegant auditorium and reception space of the Alliance Française de Chicago, for the  the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Winter Holiday reception and Dee Sarelas Award ceremony.

Among the attendees were  Fulbright alumni, current visiting Fulbright  scholars, Fulbright students, eight members of the Chapter’s Board of Directors, friends, and family. The event was co-sponsored by the  Institute of International Education (IIE).

Left to right, the organizing Holidays event and Dee Sarelas Committee: Kevin Spitta, Elio Leturia, Marilyn Sussman, 2016 Dee Sarelas awardee Cristina Sisson, Mary Mares-Awe, Teuta Peja, Meredith McNeal and Yasir Al-Ibrahem. Ron Harvey (not pictured) could not be present since he is teaching in Bulgaria.

Guests enjoyed socializing with each other, exchanging Fulbright experiences and intercultural discussions. The attendees represented some 40 countries from around the world.

Fulbright alumni and guests enjoyed a pleasant celebration with great food at the Alliance Française in Chicago.

Delicious appetizers, desserts and drinks were shared by all attendees.

The delicious buffet style food served at the Winter Reception included vegetarian options and complemented the festive atmosphere. A jazz trio of  musicians from Columbia College Chicago provided the entertainment for almost three hours.

A Columbia College Chicago jazz trio offered live music during the event.

A group of visiting Fulbright students commented on the pleasant space and  added that events like this create a wonderful opportunity to mingle, get to know other Fulbrighters and exchange advice about living and studying in Chicago.

The President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, Mary Mares-Awe welcomed guests with a heartwarming speech highlighting the mission of  Fulbright to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States, and citizens of almost every nation on earth —through cultural, scientific, and educational exchange. She also thanked board members for volunteering their time and being dedicated to the Fulbright mission and its ideals.

The special part of the evening was the announcement of the winner of the prestigious biennial Dee Sarelas Fulbright Service Award. The award is given in recognition to a person who has worked diligently over the years to promote and carry out the Fulbright Mission.  This year’s recipient is Ana Cristina Sisson, a long-time, dedicated Chicago Chapter member.

Cristina Sisson delivers her acceptance speech as the 2016 Fulbright Dee Sarelas Service Award recipient.

Ana Cristina Sisson holds a bachelor’s degree as a double major in Spanish and English from Colby College in Maine, and a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She was with Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in Uruguay in 2006.

Cristina joined the Fulbright Association and the Chicago Chapter in 2008. Since joining the chapter, she has played a vital role in organizing many cultural and educational activities and events for thousands of Fulbrighters. She has also served in the position of Chapter treasurer until 2016.

In addition to her commitment to her young family and to the Fulbright Chapter, Cristina teaches Spanish at Hinsdale District One-Eighty-One. Prior to that, she taught Spanish at the Ogden International School of Chicago, and the Chase Elementary Magnet Cluster School in Chicago.

“In the spirit of service, Cristina has been an integral part of the board, serving in her portion in a totally volunteer status. Those who chose to do so, do it out or their dedication to the Fulbright mission.  Cristina so richly deserves this award…because she’s done a tremendous job and is truly an inspirational person.”       — Mary Mares-Awe, President, Fulbright Chicago

Fulbrighters from all over the world gathered at the Holidays event.

Traditionally, the previous award recipient presents the award to the new Dee Sarelas recipient, but this year it was different. The 2014 Dee Sarelas awardee, Ron Harvey, the Vice President of the Fulbright Chicago Chapter, was not present at the event because he is on a Fulbright research and teaching fellowship to Bulgaria.

The Holiday event and Dee Sarelas Award Ceremony was very-well attended. It has become the main Fulbright Chicago event of the year.

Current Fulbright students attending Columbia College Chicago. From left to right, Cyril Bassil (Lebanon,) Calisto Lemashon (Kenya,) Shreya Singh (India) and Melissa M. Jiménez (Trinidad and Tobago.)

But although Ron could not be present in person, he recorded a short video speech that was played at the ceremony.  In his speech, Ron emphasizing Cristina’s friendliness, her engagement with the Fulbright Chicago Chapter, and her enthusiasm to promoting the values of the intercultural exchange through educational activities.

“Cristina is great at bringing the people together; she would invite visiting Fulbright over for dinners with her family as well as other Fulbrighters and expose our way of doing things with the visiting Fulbrighters. Cristina has the belief that you do not have to be official to have an impact in people. I can’t think of a better person to receive the Dee Sarelas service award”Ron Harvey, Vice President, Fulbright Chicago

Fulbright Chicago president Mary Mares Awe talking to the Fulbright students, scholars and alumni.

Upon the acceptance of the award, Cristina remembered her Fulbright year in Uruguay working with the public-school teachers and her work with the Chicago Chapter board upon her return to the US.  In her inspirational speech, Cristina spoke of Fulbrighers sharing the will and excitement of working toward making a difference in the community.

2010 Dee Sarelas recipient and Fulbright Chicago board member Dr. Marilyn Susman and Fulbright student Teuta Peja welcomed the attendees.

She encouraged people to join the board and participate in Fulbright-focused activities.  She urged everyone to get involved in activities even though they may be out of their scope of work.  She also advised people not to let the fear of not knowing what the job entails, to get in the way of participating… “When there is a need, take a risk.” She said in referencing her own resolve to take up the position of treasurer, when there was a need for someone to step into the role.

Cristina wrapped up her speech by emphasizing the Fulbright mission and legacy.

“I wanted to leave you all with Senator Fulbright’s words, to inspire us to visit local schools, ask a professor to visit their child’s school and talk about the Fulbright program, the mission and your home country or where you traveled.  Don’t let the fear of being overwhelmed get in the way…”

Fulbrighters using social media and sharing photos.

After hearing the speeches, Manithda a visiting Fulbright student from Laos, said “The award ceremony made people get to know and appreciate people behind the scene more. I didn’t know who were the people behind the scene who did the good for people in the front until that award ceremony. This encourages me to want to help and voluntarily work with the Fulbright  organizing group.”

Baris Mesci, a Visiting Student Researcher from Turkey and his wife Tutku Mizrak Mesci.

The guests congratulated Cristina on her award and praised the organizers —the members of the board—  for putting up such an amazing event.

—Photos by Kevin Spitta and Elio Leturia

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Warm tango sounds in Chicago through Tita Lage’s voyage

By Mary Mares-Awe–ON WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 23, 2016 during a rainy  evening, members of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, visiting Fulbright students, and other guests had the opportunity to attend a Tango inspired event at the Instituto Cervantes and listen to the warm sound of Tango music, and view a film showcasing the life of a centennial double immigrant.

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago Executive Director Antonio Martínez welcomed the audience.

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago Executive Director Antonio Martínez welcomed the audience.

The bilingual documentary entitled “Tita Turns 100” (Los 100 Años de Tita,) is produced and directed by Elio Leturia, who is a multimedia journalist and a member of the Chicago Chapter Board.

The biographical film that premiered at the Chicago Feminist Film Festival in March this year,  takes the audience on a journey of the life of Tita Lage, a lovely lady who was born in Spain in 1913, moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, at age 17 and finally relocated to the United States when she was 73 in 1986, bringing with her the love of tango music and dance along with her Spanish roots.

Tita became a naturalized US citizen the day she turned 102 years old.

"Por una Cabeza," "Uno," "Se Dice de Mí," were some of the tangos local singer Alba Guerra shared with the audience along with guitarist Juan Pablo Jones.

“Por una Cabeza,” “Uno,” “Se Dice de Mí,” were some of the tangos local singer Alba Guerra shared with the audience along with guitarist Juan Pablo Jones.

titapostcardFollowing the film screening, local singer and actress Alba Guerra, one of Tita’s daughters, sang beautiful, traditional Tango songs to the accompaniment of guitar musician Juan Ignacio Jones.

After the concert, guests were treated to a reception featuring Argentinian wine, and Peruvian empanadas and alfajores.

The Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association partnered with the Consulate of Peru and the Consulate of Argentina, in this cultural event organized by the Instituto Cervantes.

Deputy Consul of Perú Annie Saucedo, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Mary Mares-Awe. Jane Florine, Elio Leturia, Deputy Consul of Argentina Marcelo Boffi, singer Alba Guerra and musician Juan Ignacio Jones surrounded by Fulbright scholars.

Deputy Consul of Perú Annie Saucedo, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Mary Mares-Awe. Jane Florine, Elio Leturia, Deputy Consul of Argentina Marcelo Boffi, singer Alba Guerra and musician Juan Ignacio Jones surrounded by Fulbright scholars.

Elio Leturia is the Communications Director of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association and the recipient of the 2013 Fulbright Dee Sarelas Service Award. A native Peruvian, Leturia is an Associate Professor in Journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

Peruvian Deputy Consul Annie Saucedo, documentarian Elio Leturia and performer Alba Guerra.

Peruvian Deputy Consul Annie Saucedo, documentarian Elio Leturia and performer Alba Guerra.

Photos by Mary Mares-Awe and Todd Burbank

Book launch on Chile, 40 years after the coup, by Fulbrighter Kelly-Lowenstein

Ana Gonzalez, a feisty 87-year-old with bright red fingernails, survived many detentions and the disappearances of her husband, two of her sons, and a pregnant daughter-in-law during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s regime. Her home in Santiago is filled with images of her family and important personalities in the struggle for justice in Chile and the world. A tireless fighter for human rights during the dictatorship, she pays tribute to her murdered relatives by continuing to wage a joyful struggle for justice and against oblivion: “When you take this path of liberation…, you know that you can die at any moment. But those of us who remain are not going to allow that to happen because forgetting is death. Because of that, memory is essential.” Forty years after the coup, Chile remains a wounded, divided nation where the past lives in the present. The nation’s enduring rifts are visible in the glaring contrast between the entrenched poverty in Santiago’s shantytowns and the country’s elite, who enriched themselves during the dictatorship. History is also a force in the November presidential election featuring Michelle Bachelet and Evelyn Matthei. The daughters of Air Force Generals played together as children, but their lives were changed permanently by the coup. Matthei’s father Fernando joined the junta. Bachelet’s father Alberto remained loyal to Salvador Allende and the constitution, paying for that decision with his life. Yet there are also glimmerings of Chile’s coming to terms with its bloody past. Among the most important: this September 11 saw an unprecedented outpouring of memory-related activity.

Ana González, then a feisty 87-year-old with bright red fingernails, survived many detentions and the disappearances of her husband, two of her sons, and a pregnant daughter-in-law during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s regime. Photo by Jon Lowenstein

THE CHICAGO CHAPTER of the Fulbright Association, in partnership with  Public Narrative and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, would like to invite you to an evening of dialogue about Chile, and where the country stands 40 years after the Pinochet coup, with author, researcher and Fulbrighter, Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein (South Africa ’95, Chile ’13, New Zealand ’15).

chilean_chroniclesKelly-Lowenstein currently teaches journalism at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He will discuss his recently published book, The Chilean Chronicles.  The work is a compilation of writing during Jeff’s 2013 semester at the University Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile. The book reflects on the impact of the Pinochet regime on Chilean society, from a historical perspective, and on the country’s still-emerging democracy through recounting stories that would otherwise go untold.

WHERE  Columbia College Chicago, 33 E. Congress Parkway, Suite 610H

WHEN   Wednesday, November 30, 2016

TIME   6pm-8pm

COST   Free

RSVP Here!

Refreshments will be served.

Documentary, tango concert and reception celebrating Tita Lage

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IN MARCH 1913,  Tita Lage was born in Galicia, Spain. At 17 she moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina and at 73 she relocated to the U.S. The day she turned 102 years old she became an American citizen.

elio1016frameThe Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association invites you to the screening of “Tita Turns 100,” a bilingual (Spanish-English) documentary produced and directed by Elio Leturia (left), Columbia College Chicago journalism professor, and board member and director of communications of our Fulbright chapter.

WHAT “Tita Turns 100” documentary, followed by a tango concert and a reception

WHEN Wednesday October 26, 2016, 6 p.m.

WHERE Instituto Cervantes, 31 West Ohio St., Chicago, Ill. 60653

COST FREE but reservations are required. Click HERE

During her life in Argentina, Tita Lage met first lady Eva Perón and tango icon Carlos Gardel. She was a close friend of famous actress and singer Tita Merello, an early Argentine performer to appear in South American movies.

albaAfter the short film, local singer Alba Guerra (left), will delight us with a Tango concert, (“Por una Cabeza,” “Madreselva,” “Uno,” among others) accompanied by musician Juan Ignacio Jones. A reception will follow.

This event is organized by the Instituto Cervantes in collaboration with the Consulate General of Argentina, Consulate General of Peru and Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the Chicago Public Library

poster_spanich

 

IN CELEBRATION OF Hispanic Heritage Month, Associate Professor Elio Leturia (Fulbright USA ’90) who teaches graphic design and multimedia journalism at Columbia College Chicago is presenting “Cross | Cruce” which includes illustrations, page design, posters and photography.

This exhibit opened on September 15 and will remain available to the public until October 15 at the Harold Washington Library (3rd floor, east side) in downtown Chicago.

Chicago-based Fulbrighter publishes translation of Venezuelan fiction writer Antonia Palacios

Dr. RoseAnna Mueller in her office at Columbia College Chicago.

Dr. RoseAnna Mueller in her office at Columbia College Chicago.

FULBRIGHTER TO VENEZUELA in 2002/2003 and Columbia College Chicago Professor Emerita, Dr. RoseAnna Mueller has published the first English translation of one of the main works of 20th-century Venezuelan fiction.

Ana Isabel, A Respectable Girl was released in June 2016.

Ana Isabel, A Respectable Girl, was released in June 2016.

Ana Isabel, A Respectable Girl (Universitas Press) was originally released in 1949. Written by Antonia Palacios Ana Isabel, una niña decente (in Spanish) is a classic coming-of-age story set in Caracas in the 1920s, exploring issues of race, class, and gender and exposing the colonial and patriarchal legacy of the country in the era before urban development and the dependence on an oil economy and in the midst of a dictatorship. Antonia Palacios (1904-2001) was one of the most important Venezuelan writers of the 20th century. A poet, novelist, essayist and short-story writer, she was also a prominent feminist and civil rights activist.

Writer Antonia Palacios, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century in Venezuela.

Writer Antonia Palacios, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century in Venezuela.

The novel broke with the symbolic realist genre in vogue in Venezuelan narrative works and inaugurated a new form of feminine expression with poetic overtones. It takes on a confessional and autobiographical tone as it represents a young girl’s reality as she questions what it means to be respectable in her society. In describing his mother’s work, Fernán Frías points to the work’s “innocent sensuality” and concludes that both young readers and adults can enjoy the work.

RoseAnna Mueller says that her “fondest wish is to have non-Spanish speaking readers fall in love with young Ana Isabel and share in her world with all its joys, sorrows and longings.” Mueller considers that if we are truly serious about diversity and multi-culturalism, then we all must read beyond the borders of the established canon.

The publication of this translation is a result of Mueller’s Teaching/Research Fulbright in Venezuela, 2002/2003, where she first discovered the work of Antonia Palacios, as well as the work of Teresa de la Parra, which led to the publication of Teresa de la Parra: A Literary Life in 2012.

During her extensive teaching career, Mueller has taught works by Latin American women writers and she feels that if she were to teach Latin American Women’s literature at the Universidad de los Andes, Mérida, she should include the works of Venezuelans. Thanks to the Fulbright, Mueller says that she “was able to learn more about the rich heritage of Venezuelan women writers the world knows little about. Thanks to the on-going connections I continue to enjoy with my colleagues in Venezuela, I was able to enlist their help with close readings of the first drafts of my translation. Their encouragement and their love for their country touched me deeply and makes all the hard work looking for just the right word worthwhile.” She values the collaboration that her Fulbright award was able to allow her to continue her research over the years.

In January 2017, RoseAnna Mueller will be working at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Universidad Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia, thanks to a Fulbright Teaching/Research Award. This will be another opportunity for her to continue her work on Latin American women’s literature through the study of the narratives of three mystic nuns of New Granada.

A native of Italy, Mueller emigrated to the U.S. when she was six years old. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian and an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

The 2015 Winter Holiday Reception —a festive occasion

Fulbright Students attending the 2015 Chicago Chapter Winter Holiday Reception at the KnickerBoxer Hotel.

Fulbright Students attending the 2015 Chicago Chapter Winter Holiday Reception at the Knickerbocker Millennium Hotel.

THE CHICAGO CHAPTER of the Fulbright Association held its Winter Holiday Reception at the Knickerbocker Millennium Hotel downtown Chicago in the early part of December. The festive, holiday setting of the historic Knickerbocker Hotel proved a beautiful backdrop for the annual celebration.

Fulbright scholars attended the 2015 Winter Holidays Reception with their families.

Fulbright scholars attended the 2015 Winter Holidays Reception with their families.

Co-sponsored by the Institute of International Education (IIE), some 122 Fulbright Scholars, alumni, consular representatives, students, and friends of Fulbright attended the event on Friday, December 2, 2015.

Fulbright Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe, welcomes our guests.

Fulbright Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe, welcomes our guests.

Guests enjoyed a delicious buffet-style meal consisting of salmon, chicken, and vegetarian pasta along with salads and a wonderful chocolate mousse for dessert.

Ron Harvey, the Vice President of the Chicago Chapter served as the Master of Ceremonies. He briefly spoke of his Fulbright experience as a Fulbright Scholar to Bulgaria, before introducing Mary Mares-Awe, the President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

 Hon. Consul General of Pakistan, Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, shares his experiences as a foreign exchange student.

Hon. Consul General of Pakistan, Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, shares his experiences as a foreign exchange student.

Mary welcomed all attendees and in her speech reminded the audience of the celebratory focus of the event. “One of the main reasons to celebrate is that tonight we have 48 countries represented by scholars, students and members of various Chicago consulates.” she said. In addition, the alumni in attendance have visited 21 countries through the Fulbright Program.

Also attending the 2015 Winter Holiday reception, were many representatives from among Chicago’s consular corps including Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Hon. Consul General of India; Mr. Michael Wood, Hon. Consul General of Australia; Mr. Andre King, Hon. Consul of Barbados; Mr. Ihsan Sweiss, Hon. Consul General of Jordan, Mr. Toshiyuki Iwado, Hon. Consul General of Japan; Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Hon. Consul General of Pakistan; Mr. Ilker Pak representing the Turkish Consulate in Chicago, and the consulate of Haiti was represented by Ms. Marie Casimir.

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Hon. Consul General of India; Mr. Michael Wood, Hon. Consul General of Australia; Mary Mares-Awe, President of the Chicago Chapter and Hon. Consul General of Japan.

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Hon. Consul General of India; Mr. Michael Wood, Hon. Consul General of Australia; Mary Mares-Awe, President of the Chicago Chapter and Mr. Toshiyuki Iwado, Hon. Consul General of Japan.

“Another reason to celebrate”, Mary continued, “is that 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright program.” Various activities will be planned through the year around the theme of the anniversary.

Fulbright guests enjoying a lively conversation

Fulbright guests enjoying a lively conversation

Columbia College Chicago Jazz trio provided excellent live music.

Columbia College Chicago jazz trio provided excellent live music.

“And the biggest reason to celebrate, is our friendship solidified by our experiences as Fulbrighters” Mary Mares-Awe added in conclusion. After Mary’s welcoming speech, the Hon. Consul General of Pakistan to Chicago, Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, gave a brief speech outlining the importance of educational exchange programs, by recounting his own experiences as a foreign exchange student prior to his diplomatic career. Of the Fulbright scholars and students studying this year in Chicago, Pakistan, represented by six Fulbrighters, comprises the second largest group after Mexico.

A jazz trio of music students from Columbia College Chicago added to the warm, festive atmosphere of the event with their professional-level performance of jazz music through the evening.

Photos by Jenni Schneiderman