Arts & Culture

Spanish Language Celebration explores history, present-day topics

The Sixth Annual Spanish Language Celebration will be held over three days at Palm Beach State College this month with events set for the Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton campuses.

Themed “The Paradox of Language and Culture: Persistence and Evolution” a daylong celebration will be held at the Boca Raton campus March 19, followed by a two-day SLC15-315celebration at the Palm Beach Gardens campus March 24-25.

The event covers a wide range of topics, including “Latin America and the Economy of South Florida,” “President Obama’s Immigration Plan – Myth, Realities and Possibilities,” “¿Qué pasa my friend? Spanglish in Popular Culture,” “Spotlight on Study Abroad in Costa Rica” and more. Wendi Adelson author of “This is Our Story” will discuss human tracking and sexual exploitation in the U.S. Other panelists and speakers include higher education professionals, attorneys and business and community leaders.

The celebration began in 2010 after former Spanish Professor Patricia Betancourt received a grant from the Eissey Campus Humanities Opportunities (ECHO) Fund. The ECHO grants allow faculty and staff on the Palm Beach Gardens campus to provide innovative educational experiences in the arts or humanities. When it began, the event tied into Spanish Language Day April 23, which is celebrated largely in Spanish countries in honor of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain’s influential novelist, poet and playwright. Many believe his fame and literary work parallels that of English writer William Shakespeare. Cervantes died in Madrid, on April 23, 1616.

Dr. Emmanuel Alvarado, a new Spanish professor at the Palm Beach Gardens campus, said he wanted to continue the event, which was expanded last year to other campuses. “The reason I want to continue with this project is to provide our students and the community a chance to learn more about Hispanic culture and the Spanish language and to strengthen and broaden cross cultural links in our local area,” Alvarado said. “The program that we’ve put together highlights the ways in which different groups need each other to succeed in South Florida.”

This year’s sponsors include the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County and McGraw-Hill Higher Education. For details about the event and the presenters, visit

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