March 25, 2004
Why is a picture of writer and Wabash Spanish professor Luis Aguilar-Monsalve posing with Ecuadorian President Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez and artist Consuelo Holquín-Pérez such good news for Wabash students? Because the acclaimed Ecuadorian author’s rising star and connections are opening doors to learning opportunities for Wabash students in a country that is rapidly becoming a Latin American campus for the College.
Beginning with a four-week interdisciplinary immersion trip to Ecuador last summer, 12 students are participating in a joint Wabash-DePauw pilot project that integrates this off-campus study with on-campus courses. Students will return to Ecuador in June 2004 for more in-depth research.
Sponsored by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, the project will involve Wabash biology, political science, mathematics, and Spanish faculty this summer, and most of the connections students made—from the indigenous people in the village of Otavalo to writers, artists, and politicians in the capital city of Quito—through Aguilar-Monsalve with the assistance of newly-tenured Spanish professor Dan Rogers.
"As a successful writer and academic, Luis occupies a position of importance in Ecuadorian society, and his literary works have enjoyed critical attention among Latin Americanists in the United States and elsewhere," explains Wabash professor and chair of Modern Languages Greg Redding ’88. "He lends legitimacy and prominence to our efforts to make Wabash an epicenter for Ecuadorian studies in the United States, and the summer study program in Ecuador was proposed with him in mind—he has the knowledge of the country, the personal contacts, and the professional clout that we need to give our program the best chance of success."
Redding, Dean Mauri Ditzler, and a group of faculty traveled to Ecuador during fall break to be guests of honor at the launch of Aguilar-Monsalve’s new book, Creo que se ha dicho que vuelvo, spending several days in the country scouting new learning opportunities for students.
We’ll have more on the Ecuador program in a future issue of WM.