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Hispanic Heritage Month continues tonight with a keynote speech by Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, on “Peace with Justice for Latin America and the World” 8 p.m. in Colton Chapel.

The free event is sponsored by the Presidential Speaker Series on Diversity.

Championing such issues as human development, democracy, and demilitarization, Oscar Arias' “positions on Central American issues have become the standards by which many people in Congress and elsewhere have come to judge United States policy,” according to The New York Times. He has traveled the globe to spread a message of peace and apply the lessons garnered from the Central American peace process.

Elected president of Costa Rica in 1986, Arias traveled throughout Central and South America to personally invite the Latin American heads of state to visit Costa Rica for his presidential inauguration. On the day he took office, the presidents of nine Latin American countries met in San José, where Arias called for a continental alliance for the defense of democracy and liberty. He affirmed that all Central Americans were entitled to the same liberties and social and economic guarantees of democracy, that each nation had the right to select, through free and fair elections, the type of government that could best meet the needs and interests of its people, and that neither armies nor totalitarian regimes were entitled to make this decision. In 1987, Arias drafted a peace plan, which culminated in the signing of the Esquipulas II Accords, or the Procedure to Establish a Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America, by all the Central American presidents on August 7, 1987.

In 1988, Arias used the monetary award from the Nobel Peace Prize to establish the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, which includes the Center for Human Progress to promote equal opportunities for women and gender equality; the Center for Organized Participation to strengthen the participation and action of civil society in Central America; and the Center for Peace and Reconciliation to work for demilitarization and conflict resolution in the developing world.

Arias has received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Washington, Illinois, Oviedo, Franklin and Marshall, and Southern Connecticut Universities; the colleges of Dartmouth, Ithaca, and Quinnipiac; and several other educational institutions. He has also received numerous prizes, among them the Jackson Ralston Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Liberty Medal of Philadelphia, and the Americas Award.

Arias is president of International Press Service and serves on the Board of Directors of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, and the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He also serves on the Board for the Inter Action Council, the International Negotiation Network of the Carter Center, and Transparency International. In addition, he is an active member of the Commission on Global Governance, the Inter-American Dialogue, and the Society for International Development.

Hispanic Heritage Month includes selections from “La Lucha/The Struggle” and “Imagining Cutumba,” a collection of photographer Laurence Salzmann's black-and-white photographs of young Cuban wrestlers-in-training and digital prints of Ballet Folkl√≥rico Cutumba dancers in the city of Santiago de Cuba, respectively, which are on view through Friday in the Williams Center for the Arts gallery.

“I view my photographs as an attempt to create local and international bridges in a visual medium that appeals to people of all ages and cultures,” says Salzmann, who took the title of this series from a sign which, when translated, reads, “Monday to Friday: Wrestling.” The Spanish word lucha not only means “wrestle,” but also “struggle.”

“What fascinates me is the movement, the enthusiasm of people that participate in both wrestling and dancing,” he adds. “[Wrestling] is a metaphor for how our lives are a struggle and we have to overcome things.”

Salzmann's photographic work in Cuba earned him a Pew Fellowship in photography and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in 2001.

Salzmann has had solo exhibitions of his work both nationally and internationally, including in Berlin, Tel Aviv, Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, and New York. His honors have included a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities, an International Research Exchange Commission Grant to Romania, and a Fulbright-Hays Grant to Romania. He has produced several publications, including Face to Face: Encounters between Jews & Blacks in 1996 by Blue Flower Press.

His work is in the collections of Philadelphia Museum of Art; International Center for Photography, New York; Beth Hatefutsoth Museum, Tel Aviv; Jewish Museum, New York; Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; and George Pompidou Center, Paris.

Gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday; and 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and before public performances in the Williams Center.

The remaining schedule of events:
Tuesday, October 8, 8 p.m. – “Modern Dance,” presented by Limon Dance Company, Williams Center for the Arts. Student tickets are free of charge, and others interested in attending may call (610) 330-5009 to reserve seats. Sponsored by Williams Center for the Arts

Monday, October 21, noon – Rolando Barahona Sotela, director of Museo de Arte y diseno Contemporaneo in Costa Rica, Williams Center for the Arts room 108. Sponsored by Office of Intercultural Development

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