Tag Archives: Elio Leturia

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

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

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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.

“Native American perceptions and realities in the U.S.” was a real educational experience

Dr. Dorene Wiese presenting on the Native American realities in the U.S. for International Education Week.

Dr. Dorene Wiese presenting on the Native American realities in the U.S. for International Education Week.

By Elio LeturiaTHE CHICAGO CHAPTER of the Fulbright Association kicked off this year’s International Education Week on Sunday, November 15, 2015 with an insightful and colorful presentation by Dr. Dorene Wiese, Chief Executive Officer of the American Indian Association of Illinois.

Dr. Dorene Wiese

Dr. Dorene Wiese

The presentation entitled “NATIVE AMERICAN PERCEPTIONS AND REALITIES IN THE U.S.”, offered a look at American Indian history and focused on several modern-day issues concerning the American Indian communities such as land rights and tribal laws.

The presentation also included a dance performance by the youngest members of the Black Hawk Performance Company. The event took place at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in River North.  The school partnered with our chapter in providing the space – a large lecture hall with a panoramic view of the Chicago River and downtown high-rises.

Elio Leturia introduced Dr. Wiese.

Over sixty attendees in what some have called one of the most interesting and educational programs our Chicago Chapter has put together in the past years, participated in the event.  “It was really interesting, enlightening, and fun! I really appreciate that the Chicago chapter is so active; I know other Fulbrighters who are less lucky,” said Kevin Spitta, a Fulbright student from Germany who is pursuing a masters in Advertising and PR at DePaul University.

Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe welcomed the attendees.

Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe welcomed the attendees.

Mary Mares-Awe, President of the Chicago Chapter, who had just arrived from the 2015 Fulbright National Conference in Atlanta, welcomed all the attendees.

“International education is what Fulbright is all about,” Mares-Awe said.

A quick change of plans—pizza had just arrived—allowed all participants to grab some warm slices right before Dr. Wiese’s presentation.

Pizza!

Pizza!

Dr. Wiese, who belongs to the Ojibwe tribe from White Earth, Minnesota, presented a comprehensive panorama of the situation of American Indians in U.S. society in regard to politics, education and culture. She pointed out how the media portray American Indians in society which in turn perpetuates the stereotypes seen in the movies and on television.

Dr. Wiese and three members of the Black Hawk Performance Company

Dr. Wiese and three members of the Black Hawk Performance Company

Dr. Weise made a specific reference to the commonly used term, “Native American”, when refereeing to American Indian.  She says  that “anyone born in this country can be a native American.”  She emphasized that the term American Indians is the accurate terminology in reference to her people. “We need to be recognized as the original people in this country and allowed to be included,” Wiese said.

The audience participated with many questions.

Dr. Wiese describing the American Indian garments.

Dr. Wiese describing the American Indian garments.

The serious tone of the engaging presentation was lightened when Wiese described the attires she and the little dancers Ethan, Eric, Evian Cloud were wearing. “Only American Indians can wear eagle feathers,” she said, because the Eagle is protected species. She explained the designs on the capes, shoes, and other garments that were adorned by delicate embroideries.

The dance performance with Ethan, Eric and Evian Cloud

The dance performance with Ethan, Eric and Evian Cloud

Music and dance followed. What started with Dr. Wiese and the children dancers, continued with the attendees in a circle dance.  This was  another experience that allowed all of us to learn and share a little more about our complex American society.

Participants joined the American Indian dance

Participants joined the American Indian dance

Dancing was an opportunity to share a new experience for Fulbright students

Dancing was an opportunity to share a new experience for Fulbright students

The Chicago Chapter would especially like to thank Dr. Breeda McGrath, who heads the Department of International Psychology at the Chicago School of Psychology for arranging the use of the space for our event, and to Dr. Patricia Pérez.

Photos by Kevin Spitta and Elio Leturia

Members of the Chicago Chapter meet at a Cocktail Reception with visitors from the Fulbright Association National Office

Chicago chapter President Mary Mares-Awe, Dr. herma Williams, Elio Leturia, Don garner, Brey Doyle, Fulbright Association Executive Director Jennifer Oxley, Ron Harvey and Dolores Rinke.

Chicago chapter President Mary Mares-Awe, Dr. Herma Williams, Elio Leturia, Don Garner, Brey Doyle, Fulbright Association Executive Director Jennifer Oxley, Ron Harvey and Dolores Rinke.

By Mary Mares-Awe—JENNIFER OXLEY, THE EXECUTIVE Director of the Fulbright Association, and Dr. Herma Williams, Member of its Board of Directors visited Chicago on May 7 and 8. They met at a cocktail reception with several members of the Chicago chapter board to exchange ideas, discuss future plans and talk about the Fulbright experiences.

This was an excellent opportunity to meet with members of the National team in a casual, after-work atmosphere in pleasant surroundings of the 676 restaurant in the heart of Chicago.

Elio Leturia and Jennifer Oxley at Columbia College Chicago

Elio Leturia and Jennifer Oxley at Columbia College Chicago

Also in attendance was Chicago board member Brey Doyle, who is leaving Chicago to begin her master’s in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nationwide there are more than 50 Fulbright Association chapters, and Chicago is one of the largest and most active ones. It’s exciting to have a strong working relationship with, and the support of, the National Office.

Ms. Oxley and Dr. Williams also visited Columbia College Chicago with our Director of Communications, Elio Leturia, who is a journalism associate professor in the Communication and Media Innovation Department of Columbia College.

International theater for only $5 for student Fulbrighters!

Elio Leturia as Dolores and Oliver Aldape as María in Orchids in the Moonlight by Carlos Fuentes, directed by Sándor Menéndez.

Elio Leturia as Dolores and Oliver Aldape as María in Orchids in the Moonlight by Carlos Fuentes, directed by Sándor Menéndez.

By Elio Leturia— TWO POOR CHICANAS living in Venice, California imagining they are in the Italian Venezia. One thinks she is Dolores del Río; the other, María Félix, the most revered Mexican film stars of all times. Dolores started her career in Hollywood, and María worked Spain and France. Both were top stars during the Mexican Golden Cinema Era.

In this play, they are not women but transvestites who live their lifes through their idols movies.

“Orquídeas a la Luz de la Luna” (Orchids in the Moonlight) by Carlos Fuentes, directed by Sándor Menéndez celebrates the 25th anniversary of Aguijón Theater.

Students get $10 off with the code FULBRIGHT when you come to see the play this and next weekend (March 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29); only six shows left (that means students only pay $5!)

Adults get $5 off, which means they only pay $20 when using that code.

Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays 6 p.m.

The play has supertitles in ENGLISH.

Aguijón Theater is located at 2707 North Laramie Ave, Chicago. Phone 773-637-5899.

Come see the play, support the arts and celebrate the spring! Check out the video: