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Mexico Center programs open cultural dialogue

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Sept. 7, 2007)--The UTSA Mexico Center will present a number of activities this fall aimed at creating cultural dialogue between the United States and Mexico. Through various partnerships and grants, the center will sponsor films, speakers, foreign student visits and scholarships.

A Latin American film festival, Cinémete, a cooperative effort with the UTSA Hispanic Student Association and the Instituto de Mexico, is Sept 27-28. The free festival will include the short film "Rogelio" directed by Guillermo Arriaga (2000) and the 90-minute feature "Bajo California: El Limite del Tiempo" from director Carlos Bolado (1998). The Sept. 27 showing is 6:30 p.m. at the University Center Retama Auditorium (2.02.02), UTSA 1604 Campus, and the Sept. 28 showing is 6:30 p.m. at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico, 600 HemisFair Plaza. A Latin American film screening is planned for each month.

On Friday, Oct. 5, the Mexico Center will host one of the most respected television news personalities in Latin America, Lolita Ayala. Known for her social-advocacy news programs and philanthropy, Ayala will visit with UTSA faculty and students and city leaders from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Mexico Center in Monterey Building Room 2.260 at the UTSA Downtown Campus. Ayala founded the organization, Sólo por Ayudar (Only to Help), in 1985 in response to the Mexico City earthquake.

After building 250 homes, the foundation has continued its contributions to Mexico, establishing a homeless shelter for children and operating a food bank that supports an estimated 60,000 people. Other missions of Sólo por Ayudar include leukemia research and treatment, kidney transplants, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome research, burn treatment and animal rights.

Topics are being finalized for the popular Brown Bag Speaker Series for this year. Last spring, the series covered international immigration issues, remittances, urbanization and retirement migration. Proposed topics for the fall include wastewater management on the Texas-Mexico border, Mexican elite migration and revitalization of Mexican-American culture in second and third-generation migrant families.

"The fall semester will be a busy one at the UTSA Mexico Center," said Harriett Romo, director of the UTSA Mexico Center and associate professor of sociology. "The film festival will be fun and we hope students, faculty and staff attend. We look forward to bringing exciting speakers to campus over the 2007-2008 academic year. We have submitted research proposals to continue to study transnational families and to look at the impact of infrastructure improvements along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

For more information, contact the Mexico Center at (210) 458-2923.

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