Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - by Merritt Jenkins, Lee University
Throughout the fall semester, Lee University’s Spanish program welcomed various international guest speakers over Zoom to meet and talk with students in Dr. Alexander Steffanell’s SPAN 400 Advanced Conversation class along with other interested guests from Guatemala, Spain, and Colombia.
From their work as researchers and professors in prestigious universities, travel agencies, and indigenous/African American communities, the speakers brought their knowledge and first-hand experience to bear on issues such as culture, global citizenship, while sharing how their personal faith impacts their work.
“The class gives us opportunities to not only use our Spanish skills and enhance them, but also to become more well-rounded students of the language through a better comprehension of the history and cultures of various Hispanic regions and countries,” said Megan Rogers, a junior Spanish and TESOL double major.
In September, Lee hosted Moisés Medrano, an African descent culturalist and researcher completing his doctorate at the Universidad de Cartagena, Colombia, for a discussion on indigenous women pursing higher education.
In October, the class welcomed AfroColombian speaker Cristina Isabel De La Hoz Marquez (Colombia) and Dr. Sonia Sierra (Spain). De la Hoz Marquez traced the strategies employed by women of African descent in Colombia to escape from slavery. Sierra, a Parliament deputy, spoke about the language conflicts and struggle for independence in Catalonia, Spain. She addressed the language conflicts and the independence issues in the country and relayed how Spain navigates through language hardship.
Delia Pocon, a Mayan indigenous leader from Guatemala, spoke about Mayan languages and culture for the November session. She addressed culture, indigenous conflicts with the government, and the importance of being bilingual in a country that has 22 Mayan languages currently spoken.
“Needless to say, their presence on our campus reflects the mission and the vision of our Lee University core values and will impact a wide range of students from our department and other disciplines as well,” said Dr. Steffanell, associate professor of Spanish. “These speakers share their vast experience on such topics and awaken students’ calling and vocation toward foreign language learning and intercultural competence, which is a target of our foreign language program.”
For more information about Lee’s Spanish program, contact the Department of Language and Literature at 614-8210 or email email@example.com.