The University of Texas-Pan American welcomes the University community and the public to celebrate Pan American Days 2012, held on campus April 17 and 18. The theme for this year is "Successes and Challenges in the Americas."
Hosted by the Office of International Programs, Pan American Days serves to provide students, faculty and staff, as well as the public, with a wide range of academic and cultural activities that appeal to all ages and nationalities.
One of this year's highlights will be guest artist and speaker Agustin Villalba, a professor from Argentina, who, for the past seven years, has been working in the Yucatan Peninsula with Mayan communities, reintroducing them to the lost art of Mayan pottery.
Villalba founded a school in the Yucatan, and now has three schools where he helps families, from small children to adults, regain this part of their culture. Adults spend weeks, even months, creating replicas of actual pieces that have been found in several sites of these areas, which are then sold to help support the families and their communities.
Villalba's exhibit will be held in the Schilling Room at the UTPA library. He will also give presentations to show the process of creating pottery art with students.
In addition, Pan American Days will offer other guest speakers, including current UTPA faculty and alumni who will speak about their experiences working for the U.S. Border Patrol, law enforcement and other international organizations and corporations.
"Pan American Days has been a part of UTPA for a few decades now and serves as an international conference to help promote awareness of issues that are happening and changing in the Latin Americas," said Pamela Garza, program coordinator for the Office of International Programs. "We'll have panel discussions, guest speakers and cultural events to help make the UTPA community aware of what's happening in the world around them."
As an annual tradition, Pan American Days celebrates the founding of the Pan American Union in 1930 and the indelible effect this has had in unifying the 24 American nations. As the predecessor of the Organization of American States, the Pan American Union was created in order to advance international cooperation, free trade of information and to encourage economic, social, judicial and cultural relations among the Americas.
All events and activities are free and open to the public. For more information or a complete schedule for Pan American Days, contact the Office of International Programs at (956) 665-3572.