Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gilda Returns to Minnesota

The President-elect of Uruguay-Minnesota Partners traveled from Uruguay in September to spend two packed weeks working with chapter counterparts in both Oregon and Minnesota.

Gilda Battagliese, who had first traveled to Minnesota as a Teacher-in-Residence nearly 10 years ago, is now involved in international projects across North and South America, experiences she shared with Partners volunteers at the "What Works" Conference in Portland, Oregon.

She met there with University of Oregon officials to discuss new teaching methodologies and innovation in the classroom and her experiences with iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network. Linguistics professor Deborah Healey, PhD hosted Gilda for a wonderful dinner discussion. Gilda later met with the American English Institute's Director of eLearning, Leslie Opp Beckham, PhD and Brandy Collier, who showed her a collection of ISTE books consisting of 10 boxes that will be generously donated from the University of Oregon and shipped via diplomatic pouch to Uruguay for distribution nationally through the Alianza, our bi-national center in Montevideo.

Also in Oregon, Gilda presented at the What Works Conference, together with Cathy Healy and Ana Maria González. Their presentation was titled, "Youth Exchanges: Online Journeys Change Lives, Attitudes."

Gilda then traveled to Minnesota, where she was hosted by the much beloved Spanish teacher KC Carter in Stillwater High School, meeting with students and school administrators. She also met with other professionals in the ESL field at the University of Minnesota, where she ran into the Golden Gophers' mascot on the street, Goldy.

Gilda left the urban center of the Twin Cities for several days on the glorious prairies of Western Minnesota, meeting up with longtime counterparts such as Patrick Moore in Montevideo (population 5,000), putting on hundreds of miles visiting educators and officials in towns such as Laq Qui Parle, Appleton and New London. Before returning home, Gilda met with Dana Johnson, a producer at Pioneer Public Television, who is planning a trip to Uruguay to produce a documentary.

Gilda works with the highly regarded bi-national center in Montevideo, the Alianza Cultural Uruguay EEUU. The Alianza has hosted scores of Minnesotan visitors over the years and is recognized internationally for its extensive network across Uruguay and its many accomplishments. The Alianza has been the focal point for our enduring and productive collaboration.