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A Role Model for College-Bound Kids Turns the Tables

Breakthrough-MiamiCORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 24, 2014)—For six weeks, ninth graders participating in Breakthrough Miami College Bound on the Gables campus attended classes and listened to program organizers and instructors tout the benefits of higher education. But last Wednesday the students got a shining example of what a college degree can help one accomplish when Sergio M. Gonzalez, the University of Miami’s senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs, spoke to them at the Whitten Learning Center. A Breakthrough Miami board member who holds both an undergraduate and law degree, Gonzalez discussed the importance of a college education. He also told parents of the students how much he is inspired by their children.

Breakthrough Miami College Bound is an academic enrichment program that encourages students from underserved communities to graduate from high school and attend college, exposing them to coursework in a university setting. UM’s School of Education and Human Development is a partner in the initiative.

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School of Architecture Nurtures Allapattah’s ‘Beautiful Little Corner’

By Robert. C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Allapattah-Mural

A mural commissioned by the School of Architecture and the Dominican American National Foundation has transformed a bustling city corner in the heart of Miami’s Allapattah community.

MIAMI, Fla. (July 18, 2014) — When Allapattah residents met with students and faculty from the University of Miami’s School of Architecture for five days last May to hash out a plan for their community’s economic and cultural growth, they came up with ideas such as outdoor kiosks where local entrepreneurs could sell their merchandise and a beautification project to bring more public art to the area.

Now, two months after that charrette, part of the residents’ vision for their Allapattah neighborhood, also known as Little Santo Domingo because of its large Dominican population, has come true with the unveiling of a mural they hope is the first of many more.

Featuring birds and plant life native to the Dominican Republic, the mural wraps around the west and south sides of the Sarraff Store Fixtures and Equipment building on Northwest 17th Avenue and 36th Street, giving residents a taste of outdoor art in a corridor dominated by storefront businesses.

“I wanted to give this community something that reminds people of what we can do to beautify this area,” said Ariel Cruz, the artist commissioned by the School of Architecture and the Miami-based Dominican American National Foundation (DANF) to paint the mural.

“It’s our Beautiful Corner of Allapattah,” said DANF chair Rudy Duthil, referring in English to the mural’s official name of La Bella Esquina de Allapattah.

Chuck Bohl’s voice was barely audible over the roaring cars and trucks that raced through the intersection during the peak of a Friday workday when the mural debuted publicly. But the University of Miami associate professor of architecture didn’t seem to mind. After all, he was there to help show, not tell. The mural, he said, helps solidify the community’s ethnic and cultural identity.

“We were building on the concept of nurturing more of a Main Street environment—more art, more entertainment, more culture—but in an incremental way so that a lot of the little businesses can continue to thrive,” Bohl, director of the School of Architecture’s Masters in Real Estate Development and Urbanism program said of the Allapattah charrette he helped organize two months ago with assistance from UM’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement.

Other ideas that came out of that planning session, including kiosks behind grocery stores, could come later. But the effort will require working with city officials to make sure those ideas become reality, said Bohl.

“We’ve seen other areas catch fire and get the attention of developers,” explained Bohl, “so it can happen very quickly.”

 

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Noted Cuban Historian and Author Teresa Fernandez Soneira Speaks at ICCAS about Her New Book

UM News

Teresa-Fernandez-Soneira

Speaking to an audience at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies, Teresa Fernandez Soneira (at podium) said she relied heavily on the resources of UM’s Cuban Heritage Collection to write her latest book.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 17, 2015) — The University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies hosted a packed house on June 25 for the presentation of Mujeres de la Patria, a book by noted historian and researcher Teresa Fernandez Soneira that details the immense contributions thousands of Cuban women, or Mambisas, made to the Cuban War of 1868 against Spain.

Fernandez Soneira thanked the members of the UM Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection, in particular retired reference librarian and bibliographer Lesbia O. de Varona, who provided a great deal of research material and books that aided her in her research. “I don’t think people realize what treasures can be found at the Cuban Heritage Collection,” said Fernandez Soneira, who spent countless hours at the Richter Library’s Goizueta Pavilion.

Other speakers at the event included Esperanza B. de Varona, professor emeritus and former director of the Cuban Heritage Collection; Uva de Aragon, professor, journalist, and author of several books on Cuba; and Juan Manuel Salvat, owner of the publishing house Ediciones Universal. —Barbara Gutierrez

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Middle School Campers Get a Tempting Taste of College

Breakthrough-Miami

About 150 middle schoolers visit the Student Activities Center during Breakthrough Miami’s College Bound program, being held at UM for the first time.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 19, 2014) — About 150 middle school students from Breakthrough Miami’s College Bound program converged at the University of Miami’s Student Activities Center last Monday to kick off a six-week camp designed to encourage them to set their sights on going to college.

This is the first time Breakthrough Miami, an academic enrichment program that helps motivated students from disadvantaged communities achieve their life and career goals, is being held at UM in partnership with the School of Education and Human Development. The participating ninth graders will tour different areas of the UM campus, attend lectures, and take part in other activities meant to teach them the benefits of earning a college degree.

“You are going to have a great experience at UM,” Isaac Prilleltensky, dean of the School of Education and Human Development, told the group. ”Remember that people who go to college are more influential and are able to better help their community and their families. They also live longer.”

 

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Latin America Outlook

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Latin-America-Conference

Jorge Castañeda, left, Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University and former secretary of foreign affairs for Mexico, discusses the economic and political challenges facing Latin America. Also participating in the panel are Carl Meacham, director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.; Susan K. Purcell, director of UM’s Center for Hemispheric Policy; and Tony Volpon, who heads emerging markets research for the Americas at Nomura Securities International in New York.

MIAMI, Fla. (May 23, 2014) — After a “golden decade” that saw powerful economic growth, the expansion of the middle class, and a strengthening of democratic principles and rules of law in almost every country in the region, Latin America finds itself in a “predicament from which there is no easy way out,” Jorge Castañeda, a prominent academic who served as Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, told an audience on Thursday at the University of Miami Center for Hemispheric Policy’s ninth annual Latin America Symposium. Read the full story

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