Dispatch from Buenos Aires

Anna Kazumi StahlBuenos Aires vibrantly contrasts New York. It is capital of Argentina, one of the Earth’s Southern-most territories. Yet, though they sit at opposite ends, both great cities share the hemisphere of the Americas and, hence, look towards one another over the diverse terrain and all the echoing American histories in between.
As NYU Buenos Aires is the one global site in the region of Latin America, I thought well of focusing this note on those at NYU Buenos Aires who this fall showed us ways to collaboratively engage with disparate cultures, communicating across a language gap, at times even speaking despite a situation of conflict.
Though a renowned scholar and member of the National Research Council, David Oubiña is also actively recognized in contemporary film: he was invited to serve on the jury for an important regional film festival involving top Latin American talents. Similarly, NYU Buenos Aries’s “Art and the City” professor Florencia Malbran was invited to curate contemporary Argentine artists’ work in Medellin, Colombia.
And as a local fiction writer with a transnational background, I had the honor of giving a TED Talk, apropos of cross-cultural identity and creative evolution in a foreign language, something that speaks pointedly to the fertile benefit of studying abroad.
True to NYU’s global nature, plans are in the works for a networked course “Queer Cultures and Democracy,” a collaboration between NYU Buenos Aires’s Mariano Lopez Seoane and Gabriel Giorgi (Department of Spanish & Portuguese, NYU). This networked course, taught simultaneously in both locations, takes comparative analysis a palpable step further.
NYU Buenos Aires’s Edgardo Dieleke is both an accomplished young scholar and a successful documentary filmmaker. In 2013 he released The Exact Shape of the Islands, a novel approach to the thorny issue of the Malvinas Islands. He recently presented it at universities in Europe, including NYU London – a hopeful gesture of sensitivity and hope for this conflict still eliding resolution in Argentine-English relations.
Strong in the Humanities, NYU Buenos Aires also has faculty interests in health-related fields. NYU Buenos Aires professor Karina Ramacciotti teaches Argentine History, but her research focuses on health policy. In 2013, she and co-author Prof Carolina Biernat published Grow and Multiply: Maternal & Infant Public Health Policy in Argentina 1900-1960.
Two recent events showcased NYU Buenos Aires’s commitment to networking among alumni: Global Alum Day at NYU Buenos Aires brought 15 graduates in diverse fields to tell their inspiring “study away” stories to current students. Last November and again in March 2014, panels of successful Argentine professionals, all NYU graduates at work here and around the globe, exemplified the kind of alumni-centered community building sure to continue at NYU Buenos Aires.
2013 was the first time Gallatin’s Great World Text program, pairing NYU undergrads with public high school students, was replicated at a global site where English is not the native language. Four NYU Buenos Aires students worked with 65 Argentine public high school seniors and their five local teachers in Buenos Aires. Through Maxine Hong Kingston’s groundbreaking Chinese American text A Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts, the Buenos Aires students discovered parallels with US immigration and new ways to explore multiculturalism. Through the Great World Text program, the NYU Buenos Aires undergrads came into contact with the local cultural viewpoint with a depth and an immediacy that is hard to match. If ever there was a win-win situation for global educational exchange, there it is.

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