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NMSU Center for Latin American and Border Studies to present spring speaker series

The New Mexico State University Center for Latin American and Border Studies (CLABS) will present a speaker series, "Connections: Latin America and the Border in Global Perspective," throughout the spring.


> Inigo Garcia-Bryce, an NMSU history professor, will kick off the series with his lecture "Magda Portal: Homeless Revolutionary, 1926-1945," at 4 p.m., tomorrow, Feb. 8, in NMSU's Nason House.

Garcia-Bryce describes Magda Portal as a woman ahead of her time because of her involvement in Peru's American Popular Revolutionary Alliance political party from the 1920s to the 1950s. As a youthful woman in her 20s, Portal became a political figure; a feat both because she was young and a woman. Garcia-Bryce said during her involvement, individuals were striving for just societies and social justice creating a time of tremendous change for Latin America. According to Garcia-Bryce, Portal's political party was also unusual because it wanted to create political unity throughout Latin America.
"She's unusual because she was a woman, the only woman who was a founding member of the party," Garcia-Bryce said. "And, she took on the same role as men and had that level of importance in her political party. I find her to be quite remarkable and unusual."

Garcia-Bryce's lecture will include pictures from Portal's life and discussion about how her history relates to today. According to Garcia-Bryce, the APRA party currently holds Peru's presidential seat and is one of the oldest Latin American political parties. He also said many ideas put forth in Portal's time are similar to the anti-imperialist ideas put forth by present-day Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

"The lecture series is called 'Connections' and I think that it's important to understand the connection between the border, where we live, and Latin America and the world, more broadly," Garcia-Bryce said. "I think sometimes we loose track of that."

Neil Harvey, director of CLABS, said the series is important not just for students, but the entire Las Cruces community.

"The series provides an opportunity to learn about many aspects of Latin America and the U.S.-Mexico border from researchers in a wide range of fields," Harvey said. "It is important to understand that what happens on the border is in large part shaped by changes further south. A good knowledge of history and change in Latin America is essential for understanding current issues such as immigration."

The Thursday afternoon lectures also will facilitate the understanding that changes in one part of the world are related to changes in other parts, Harvey said, and that enhanced cooperation and understanding are the result of individuals' work across borders.

"The "Connections" idea came about because we were looking for a theme that is common to each of the presentations, as well as our goal of educating the public about the importance of connections, rather than emphasizing separation and distance," Harvey said.

Ten different lectures will be held throughout the semester. CLABS holds a speaker series during the fall and spring semesters in order to continue NMSU's outreach efforts.

For more information call (505) 646-6814.