"The goal of Pan American Days is to offer our students, faculty and the community a chance to learn about the issues that face us today in the Americas,” Marilu Salazar, director of the Office of International Programs, said. “It is also a celebration of our physical location – the United States-Mexico border.”
Salazar said the weeklong event pays tribute to the great collection of American nations and in addition it celebrates the University's vision and perspective. The Office of International Programs has sponsored the event since 2000.
The theme for this year’s event is "Peace and Security in Latin America." Outstanding faculty members excelling in research, scholarship and service on the United States, Mexico and Latin America will be on hand to discuss topics such as obesity in Mexico, Latin American migration to countries other than the United States, technology innovations in Latin America, violence and kidnapping in Mexico and much more.
Highlighting this year’s event will be the presentation of the Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Dr. Luis Derbez-Bautista Thursday, April 14 in the Student Union Theater at 6 p.m. Derbez will be discussing “Perspectives on Mexico – U.S. Relations.”
Other high profile speakers expected to participate in Pan American Days include Dr. Marjorie Agosin, writer and poet from Chile, who will talk about "Writing Towards Hope in the Americas,” April 13, 7 p.m. at the Student Union Theater. Dr. Julissa Mantilla, a Fulbright Century Scholar from Peru, is scheduled to speak April 14, 10:30 p.m. at the Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Building, Room 109. Mantilla will speak on the "Protection of Human Rights of Women: the Peruvian Experience."
Another feature of Pan American Days will be the panel discussion on "The Worldwide Movement in the Latin American Population" with the following guest speakers: Dr. Encarnacion Aracil, professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, who will speak about "Ecuadorian Migration to Spain"; Dr. Juan Bustamante, professor at Michigan State University, who will discuss "Ecuadorian Women in Spain"; and Dr. Guadalupe Lopez and Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, both professors at the Universidad de Guadalajara, who will talk about "Cuban and Other Latin American Immigrants in Mexico."
Salazar said the UTPA community and public will also have the opportunity to enjoy the cultural events and exhibits that will be held throughout the week. For those that love the sound of Salsa music, a performance by the UTPA Salsa Band, under the direction of Dr. Pedro Martínez of the UT Pan American department of music, will be held April 11, 6:30 p.m. at the Quad. Also, to keep in the spirit of the Latin groove, the dance troupe Sabor Vallero Group will perform a Salsa dance April 12, 7 p.m. at the University Ballroom.
In addition, a Latin Film Series on short features and documentary films will be held April 11-15 at the University Library, Room 309 starting at 3 p.m. Pan American Days will also feature an art exhibit with poetry called “Faces of the Border” by local artist Rivca Schneider and Dr. Steven Schneider, chair of the UTPA Department of English. The exhibit will be held at the Nuevo Santander Gallery in McAllen from April 12-15.
The week will wrap with a closing ceremony reception at the Nuevo Santander Gallery April 15 at 6 p.m. The reception will be held in conjunction with the XVI International Symposium on Modern Languages.
For more information on Pan American Days 2005, call the Office of International Programs at 956/381-3572 or for a complete schedule visit www.panam.edu/dept/internationalprograms