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4 posts from July 2013


SPRING 2013, Liberal Arts, ISSUE III




Closing this chapter: farewell party!

IMG_0377Likewise past semester, this year’s students had their own night of dinner and dancing, along with faculty and resident staff. This time, we also celebrated together the welcome of the 4 of July, toasting after midnight for this important day for the American culture. The first part of the night was spent mingling amidst laughter and reminisces about the past semester and all the experiences that were had, while waiters milled about, serving a wide variety of delicious finger food and drinks. The party quickly moved downstairs to the dance floor, where students and staff alike wasted no time dancing to a mix of American and Argentine music. While enjoying the desserts, the students were recognized for their accomplishments and participations at many of the organized program activities.

Ending the evening, Carolina Alba Merlo, associate director of the program, made a toast to congratulate all students for their various accomplishments as well as thank the staff for their hard work. 


Celebrating 20 years of the Study Center: A Night to Honor Carmen Lapacó

_DSC0699_1On Tuesday, July 2, the CIEE Buenos Aires Study Center in FLACSO hosted an event honoring Carmen Aguiar de Lapacó, Madre de Plaza de Mayo – Linea Fundadora, for her commitment to the struggle for memory, truth, and justice for the crimes committed by the last civic-military dictatorship. The event was also part of the festivities marking the 20th anniversary of the CIEE Buenos Aires Study Center at FLACSO along with the commemoration of the 30th anniversary since the returning of democracy in Argentina.

_DSC0661_1The event also included live translations in order for everyone to be able to participate: professors and academic advisors from the U.S. universities, students, CIEE headquarters in Maine, United States, and also directors of other CIEE programs throughout the world.  As an opening and reception for the guests, Vanderbilt University student Caitlin Quinlan played pieces from the Suits de Bach on the cello. 

_DSC0609_1Andrea Rizzotti, Resident Director of the Study Center, was the first presenter of the night. She highlighted the role that the program courses play – especially the seminar on service-learning – in transmitting the ideas and involving the students in learning about human rights, particularly in the work the students do in local organizations. Furthermore, she presented a video with testimonies from former students that showed the influence that working with Madres- Linea Fundadora had on their lives. 


Afterward, the other speakers of the night were able to discuss the importance of the work that Carmen Lapacó and the Madres accomplished. Dr. Miguel Lengyel, current director of FLACSO Argentina emphasized the institution’s commitment to respecting human rights, both during and after the last dictatorship.  In addition, Dr. Lengyel expressed that the study center, through the students, is a way to promote the values and knowledge produced by the institution on a global level. 

_DSC0694_1Following Miguel, Maria Adela Antokoletz, who is the daughter of one of the founding Madres and sister of a detained- disappeared Daniel Antokoletz and also oversees the work that the volunteers do, told the history of Carmen Lapacó’s struggle. Finally, the national Senator Daniel Filmus, former Director of FLACSO and the first director of the CIEE study center, reflecting on the mid-90s, when the society didn’t speak openly about what happened during the dictatorship, but the Madres still told their stories and gave testimonies to the students in the program’s courses. 

_DSC0743_1Concluding the emotional event, Carmen received a sculpture as a gift, made by the artist Francisco Casavelos. The piece synthesizes the transparency of her tireless fight, exemplifying the white scarf as an identifier of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo.

The event closed with music from Gustavo Kehoe, who read a poem and sung a song dedicated to his disappeared sister Gloria Kehoe. Afterwards, a folklore group, with Florencia Cozzani singing, Jose Ferrufino on guitar, and Juan Pablo Togneri on the bass, performed. 

Personal Reflection by Allison Yates, Indiana University

I was very touched by the event, especially since I had been meeting with Carmen, along with the four other CIEE volunteers, during the entire semester. It means a lot to me that Carmen, in the midst of all of her personal struggles and evolvement in Madres, has taken the time to teach CIEE volunteers about her search for the truth about her disappeared daughter and her work in the human rights field. She is an inspirational woman and has shaped by experience in Argentina in many ways. I appreciate the opportunity that the study center has given me to be able to learn from such incredible people. 


Highlighted Cultural Activities

Rugby: Argentina vs. England

IMG_1305For the first time in the history of the Program, a group of students and CIEE staff went to see the rugby match between the Argentine Pumas and England. Though it was an exciting game, unfortunately, what started off as a close match, didn’t end that way, with the Pumas losing 26 to 51.  It wasn’t all a loss, though, as everyone got to eat choripán and cheer on Argentina! Yay!


Fuerza Bruta

Fuerza-Bruta-cartelFirst of all, the Fuerza Bruta show was absolutely incredible. During the middle of June, CIEE students from all programs went to see this once-in-a-lifetime show at the Centro Cultural Recoleta. It’s difficult to describe it, but essentially, it’s a mix of music, dancing, acrobatics, interpretative performance and audience participation. With everyone crammed into a small black room, the artists perform around and above you. There was so much energy, you couldn’t help but feel it! 

And don't forget to check out:

Cultural Correspondent: Jeremy Lebow

A day of community exchange at Conviven

CIEE Spanish Courses Activites

Proyecto Diccionario porteño

We invite you to check the creative productions of the students taking the Comprehension & Oral Production I classes: an online “porteño” dictionary, where they explain in their own words some complex “lunfardo” colloquial expressions >

Argentina en Imágenes

Students taking Comprehension & Oral Production II class show their own perspectives of the country, expressed by these beautiful images of Argentina >

Maraña Gestual

_DSC0593Creative sculptures with recycled materials! It is amazing how some useful material can be transformed into fantastic works of art by students… during a Spanish class!


CIEE Content Courses Activities

Join us and enjoy some pics of the field trips organized by some of the courses:

 Peronism in Argentina, a visit to the CGT headquarters / Cultural Issues in the Argentine History (Prof. Corigliano)


 A literary visit to the Galería Güemes / Language in Action: Writing and the Urban Landscape in Argentine Literature (Prof. Yocco)



Comprehension and Oral Production Workshop I: Teatro Colón

The Teatro Colón is a very traditional institution in Buenos Aires and meeting point for all opera, classical music and ballet lovers in the world. It’s considered one of the five best opera theaters in the world due to its spectacular acoustics and the architectural value of its construction. In the Comprehension and Oral Production Workshop I, we visited the theater to better know this piece of the city’s cultural heritage.

Valeria Scutiero, Departamento de Español

If you want to learn abouth the Theatre's History, look at this Glogster:

If you want to make a virtual visit, look at this Prezi:

History & Literature Class: "The Plaza de Mayo: Place of incidents" by Claire Whitehouse

There are urban spaces that condense, in sectors, the fingerprints of history. They carry the profound experience of a country and, for this same reason, they return to spaces of physical and symbolic disputes. Claire Whitehouse makes, in the following text written for the History and Literature course, a tour of the Plaza de Mayo – from 1810 to the rounds of the Madres – in order to think of it as a space of political and social tensions, like a “place of incidents.”

Hernan Ronsino

"The Plaza de Mayo: Place of incidents"

By Claire Whitehousse, Wesleyan University


The summer I was 16 years old, I went with a service program to Costa Rica for a month to live and work in a rural town. Those of us in the program lived with families from the town in order to better our Spanish and to integrate ourselves in the community. When we were in the town, a 5-year-old boy died along the road I took to get from my house to the work site. He had asphyxiated on a fruit seed. I saw the dead child when I walked to work. His family was waiting for the police to arrive. The child, who had lived with so much energy, was now completely quiet. His skin was yellow. I walked along with the daughter of my host family, who was 11 years old. She began to cry. Days later, when the boy had been buried, the daughter and I walked together down the road again. She closed her eyes and made me take her hand to guide her. “I don’t want to see where Jesús died” she told me. Jesús was the name of the boy. “It’s a place of incidents.”

That idea of a “place of incidents” has followed me from the moment in the little town in Costa Rica until now. Each community has places of incidents, sites that are important for what happened there. For this Costa Rican community, it was the point on the road where one time a young boy named Jesús stopped breathing. For us in New York, is the World Trade Center, is this entrance to the Dakota building where John Lennon died, and many others as well. In Buenos Aires, the biggest place of incidents is the Plaza de Mayo.

Before arriving in Argentina, I read a lot about the Plaza de Mayo. In my university in the United States, I was working on a research project about the connection between theater and protest, and I found a lot about the Madres de Plaza de Mayo. What I didn’t realize, however, was that the Plaza de Mayo has always been a “place of incidents” since the beginning of the independence. The revolution of May 25, 1810, transformed the Plaza de Mayo into a center of the political life of the country.

There are many incidents that have happened in the Plaza de Mayo. The Liberty statue, which looks at the Plaza from the top of the pyramid, has seen bombs, strikes, protests, and the voice of Juan Domingo yelling, “Workers!” Today, however, when one enters the Plaza from the Avenida de Mayo, when one passes by the fresh juice sellers and the filthy grey pigeons that walk and fly in a big circle over the brick-covered ground, there is a dominant image that awaits you. Painted on the ground around the pyramid with wide white brushstrokes are a series of white handkerchiefs, each one so big that a person could lie down on the empty center of the handkerchief and curl up like a baby in the womb.

The handkerchief is a symbol of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, those housewives that left marching into the street for their disappeared children. They are the brave women who confronted the masculine junta in front of the Casa Rosada. There were different protests against the Process, but the Madres are the ones that have remained, perhaps because they still haven’t stopped marching. Each Thursday afternoon, a bus arrives at the Plaza full of women who can only walk for the duration of the circle. All of the women get off the bus with the help of the youngest ones, and all of the women wear a white handkerchief over their white hair. Those women, who were able to start a protest because they were completely invisible in the political sphere, now are a symbol of various leftist political movements. The ground that they walk on with their orthopedic shoes carries their image. By marching around the Plaza, they have transformed this place of incidents into their place of incidents. Around the world, those who know the name Plaza de Mayo know it as the plaza where the old Argentine women march.

Ronda-Madres-Plaza-Mayo_CLAIMA20120803_0167_19Of course the events of the past have not disappeared, and of course, there are new ones every day. Today, though, the marches that convene on the Plaza do it with the Madres in mind, they do it in their tradition. Thirty years after the dictatorship, the Plaza de Mayo is a place of incidents for the city. It’s a place of protests. It’s a place of the rounds. It’s a place of the Madres.



SUMMER 2013, Spanish Language Program, Issue I


Greetings from Buenos Aires!


Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

_DSC0626A huge part of the summer Spanish language program is to experience the language in context. That’s why CIEE makes a point to take the students on a variety of cultural excursions, as a part of their courses. Last week, the students visited the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes(MNBA) to view some of Argentina’s most prized pieces, past to present. One of MNBA’s features are their temporary exhibits, which currently boast a collection of drawings by Fernando Botero (best known for his paintings feature exaggerated and voluminous figures) and a photography exhibit featuring images from the anthology, “Adriana Lestido Lo Que Se Ve. Fotografías 1970-2007.” Of course, they also got to see the iconic Floralis Generica, a massive steel and aluminum sculpture, located in the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, as well.  _DSC0616“Before going to the MNBA, I didn't know what to expect. It would be my first art museum in a foreign language, but luckily art is omnilingual. The museum did a great job integrating classic international art with home-grown Argentine art, which I enjoyed very much.”  — Evan Bowechop



In contrast to most American universities, whose buildings are clustered into campuses, Argentine academic buildings are spread throughout the entire city. The students visited the Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo (FADU) of the Universidad de Buenos Aires, one of Argentina’s most prestigious universities. This Facultad (academic building) is home to, as the name suggests, architecture, design and urbanism, but also natural sciences and research facilities.

IMG_1832Heading out of the FADU, the students ventured into the woods to find Velatropa, a self-sustaining community, consisting of 15-20 people who live and work in there, within, but disconnected from, the metropolis of Buenos Aires. Here, people strive to be as self-sufficient as possible, recycling articles they find and everything they use.

“Velatropa is a place opposite to the fast life of the city, for them the land's health is the first priority. It is refreshing to see this community take things "we" call trash and create beautiful things.” — Gabriela Williams

 “Going to Velatropa is a definite highlight of my time spent here in Buenos Aires. It was really nice to see people working together to live more sustainably, purposefully, and creatively.” — Annie Slattery

To never forget: El Parque de la Memoria

IMG_1795Afterward, the students visited the Parque de la Memoria, located along the Río de la Plata. This monument was built so that no one would ever forget the tragedies that occurred and the thousands of lives that were lost during the last military dictatorship. It is estimated that over 30,000 people are considered “disappeared,” most of whom never returned. The park includes commemorative sculptures built by artists from around the globe.

  IMG_1806_1“Visiting El Parque de la Memoria was a really powerful experience; not only was it a beautiful park, but all the stories that went along with the sculptures were all extremely moving.” — Emily Horne

A night at the theater: Camila, nuestra historia de amor

On June 27, the students had the opportunity to see Camila, nuestra historia de amor at the Teatro Lola Membrives. This play is a 19th century historical romance telling of the tragic love between Camila O’Gorman (a high-society girl from Buenos Aires) and Uladislao Gutiérrez (a Catholic priest). 

Fridays: Coffee, Conversation and Porteño cafés

Every Friday, the students get together with local Argentine university students at notable cafés around Buenos Aires for an afternoon of conversation. Over café and medialunas, the students get to practice a more colloquial Spanish outside of the classroom, while getting to know Argentine students and experiencing the café life that is so typical here.

A theatrical bookstore: El Ateneo

Certificado médico 13-06-2013 039One of Buenos Aires’ most iconic landmarks is the El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore. Originally designed as the theater, Teatro Grand Splendid, in 1860, the space was renovated in 2000 and converted into a bookstore and music shop. This gorgeous bookstore maintains much of its previous splendor, including the stage, Italian ceiling frescos and balconies (though they currently house bookshelves). On the stage is a café where you can settle in to enjoy a coffee and a good book. 

Certificado médico 13-06-2013 052

Field trip to Uruguay: Montevideo and Colonia

IMG_0444_1From July 5 to 7, we travelled to "the other side of the Rio de la Plata", with the objective of visiting the beautiful cities of Montevideo and Colonia, in Uruguay. During this trip, the students had the chance to experience the particularities of the Spanish spoken in this brother-country, learning about cultural similarities and differences. Additionally, they also learned about the Afro-Uruguayan heritage and its traces, where past and present merges in this particular country.  

IMG_0624_1This 3 day field trip included visits to the cities of Montevideo -the Capital of the country-, and Colonia –the best-kept colonial settlement of the region, where it is possible to enjoy their Spanish and Portuguese traces. During their time in Montevideo, the students visited the Old Town, rich in architecture, shops Center, the Independence Square and Parliament Palace. Then they walked around its beautiful green parks and Residential neighborhoods such as Carrasco, Punta Gorda and Pocitos, to end their tour in the exceptional "Rambla" which follows a path of beautiful beaches. At night they enjoyed dinner in a classic venue of Montevideo’s nightlife, “El Milongón”, that offered different shows and folkloric dances such as tango and candombe, part of their African heritage. During the second day, students participated in a “candombe tour”, following the traces of the African heritage, and learning how to perform this indigenous music and dance.  Afterwards, students visited Colonia, declared a World Heritage Site. A place where they enjoyed its colonial architecture, courtyards, artesian wells, churches, monasteries and ruins of the city, museums and even its unique stone sidewalks.