Monday, March 17, 2008


According to Times Higher Education website, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) ranked on the top 200 best universities in the world last year. It is with this university that CSULB Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos is trying to create a student exchange program with his California-Mexico Project.
In a recent California-Mexico Policy Issues seminar, Vazquez-Ramos tried to entice a crowd of CSULB faculty and students to take part in this event. Already, 15 to 20 faculty members have shown some interest in taking part of the project.
Despite the fact that we border Mexico, there isn't a student exchange programs. According to Vazquez-Ramos, students and faculty from both universities will get a chance to learn about each other's countries and create a relationship between the two countries that goes beyond immigration.
Recently, College of Liberal Arts Dean Jerry Riposa agreed to help out with the program and find ways to facilitate it. Although the program is still on its "drawing board" phase, Vazquez-Ramos has been taking students to Mexico for the past few years and beginning what is yet to be an official program.
Although the representative for UNAM was not able to attend the seminar, Riposa said that he's glad to take part of the project and make it official.
Because they couldn't meet, Riposa said that he couldn't estimate the cost of the project.

Picture of UNAM's library:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


There are various events that will be taking place on campus that have to do with minorities. One of them is taking place tomorrow at the CSULB Anatol Center (AS 110). The College of Liberal Arts, the Chicanot & Latino Studies Department, the California-Mexico Project and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) will be putting this event together.
This event is aimed at CSULB faculty and students and to update them on the current relationship between California and Mexico.
It will be interesting to see what new developments have arised since the last seminar that occurred back in 2005. CSULB Lecturer Armando Vazquez-Ramos wrote a piece for regarding that year's event and explaining why peolw should attend. Here's a link to that piece:
Here's a picture of Vazquez-Ramos (all the way to the right) at the Raza center:

Ever since 9/11, people have come to view Islam as a controversial religion. But like any other religions in the world, it is different and with its own practices. What a better way to learn about this religion than to actually learning about it. The Muslim Student Association is putting this together. So go!

And as long as we're on the subject of Islam on school campuses, read this amazing article from OC Weekly's Derek Olson. Link:

This event will be held on March 18th and 19th. Both will deal with the issue of cultural misconceptions. The March 19th event will be specifically focused on Latinos.
The flyer:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


As part of Homecoming week, the Multicultural Festival was held on Monday, Mar. 3 at the University Student Union Ballrooms.
Dr. James Manseau Sauceda tried to keep his speech vibrant by getting the audience to participate with a few body movements.
Dr. Sauceda was kind enough to talk to me about the current state of minorities on campus and how much diversity we actually have on campus.
For those of you who don’t know who Dr. Sauceda is, he’s the current director and founder of the Multicultural Center. You can read his bio here:
He emphasized the need to try and figure out ways to bring minorities to other departments, not just ethnic studies. In other words, minority faculty shouldn’t be pigeon holed to a single department just because of their last name.
He also said that faculty needs to be aware of the assisting programs available to students who may not be capable of keeping up with the load of classes.
Sometimes we forget that not all students receive the same quality of education. Dr. Sauceda suggested that faculty should be required to know about those services so that they can help their students succeed.
Guest speaker and Nigeria native Myrenna Ogbu explained the different assumptions that people have about Nigerians and the importance of understanding each other as human beings.
She gave examples of how foods in all countries are practically the same, except they are cooked slightly different. Some use more pepper than others, some use different oils.
Ogbu, who is a storyteller and a poet, was wearing a traditional ceremonial robe from Nigeria. When I met up with her outside the USU Ballrooms, she explained that she wore the buba (the shirt), lapa (the skirt), sha (the shawl), and the gale (the hat) as a way to show others that what she wears is no different from the things she wears in her country.

Ballet Folklorico Colibri and CSULB Bellies provided music and dancing for entertainment.
It was the CSULB Bellies who attracted the attentions of people who were just passing by the ballrooms. They did various renditions of belly dancing. From a tango infused dance to two popular songs by Shakira and hip-hop genius Timbaland.
Here's Shakira doing her own form of belly dancing.