Thank you to all who helped make the Argentina Symposium an astounding success. Over the past two decades, Glendon has hosted and facilitated an academic and cultural celebration called the International Studies Symposium. In June of 2016, this year’s International Studies Symposium team began to take shape. Over the course of the next few months, the team started to learn about Argentina, a country known for its diverse landscapes and vibrant culture. By the beginning of the academic year, it had been decided: Argentina would be the country of choice based on the overwhelming interest of the team.
We found it surprising that considering Argentina’s dynamic relationship with Canada, such a rich, diverse and captivating country remained but an exotic dream to many Canadians. Our team wanted to explore a wide array of topics for enhanced academic and cultural understanding of this nation - including Argentina’s controversial military regimes, its long history of bilateral and multilateral political relations with international organizations, countries, and institutions, as well as its historical, cultural, environmental, industrial, and economic evolution.
For our team members, Glendon’s main attraction has always been its global component; its professors’ and students’ ability to look beyond the classroom and learn from an international perspective. Glendon’s Department of International Studies was the first of its kind in Canada, and it remains a unique program that offers students the opportunity to explore how governments, law, politics, business, civil society, culture, science, and the environment relate on the international stage, using a multidisciplinary approach.
The program adds a unique global dimension and international flair to Glendon, which culminates in the Symposium. The Symposium is an accredited part of the International Studies curriculum and is a hallmark of the program. It is a unique experience that provides an opportunity for dialogue between Glendon students and the international community on a multitude of global issues. It is the mission of the International Studies team to uphold the standard of academic excellence that was set over two decades ago during the first Symposium.
We could not have done this without the help and guidance of Professor Fonseca, who spent the entire first semester teaching the Symposium students about Argentina’s colonial past, about the gaucho culture, about the myths surrounding the creation of the nation, about its history of immigration, and about Eva and Juan Peron which, as Professor Jorge Nallim rightfully noted, left a prominent mark on Argentine politics. We learned about the financial crisis of the last decade, the Kirschner government, as well as Macri’s current presidency and embrace of neoliberalism. Each of the students wrote an essay focusing on a theme from the class such as the mid to late twentieth century’s feminist movement in Argentina, to the politics of soccer, to the history of the Argentine economy. As panelist coordinator of the project, I was delighted to see the concepts embraced in class reappear in the academic research and the presentations of our panelists on the day of the symposium.
We were joined by distinguished scholars and specialists in their academic fields, talented tango performers, and even the Consulate General of Argentina herself! In our cultural panel, we undertook a meticulous examination of the various paths of the tango since it was introduced by West African slaves. We explored the diverse artistry of the avant-garde artist Xul Solar, and political art of Leon Ferrari. In our history panel, we uncovered the often marginalized narrative of those affected by the military dictatorship and the representation of the indigenous peoples in the Republic. We also touched on Peronism, the myth of multiculturalism, Argentina as a human rights icon and the thorny and sensationalist Nisman affair. We are incredibly honored to have had the opportunity to foster intellectual dialogue among students, academic scholars, government officials, NGOs, and members of the Argentine-Canadian community.
Taking on such a prestigious project is a humbling experience and one in which opportunities for growth arise every day. From learning to facilitate dynamic and engaging fundraising events, to organizing the logistics of the project, our team worked hard to ensure the success of this initiative. Moving forward, the symposium team members feel more prepared to tackle real world challenges both in the workplace and in their personal lives.
Taking into consideration all of the lessons we have learned, we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who played a part in this process. We would like to thank the Glendon faculty, including our professors, Dr. Marco Fonseca and Dr. Kirschbaum, our incredibly dedicated team of volunteers, our partnering organizations including the GCSU, York International, the Extended Learning Office, as well as our community partners and donors such as Lorna Marsden and every one of our guests who came to the event. A special thank you to all of our esteemed panelists for your immense contribution to our project. Muchisimas gracias. Merci beaucoup à tous.