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Diversity Awareness Office


Building Bridges ~ Creating Community

Gender Equity and the Status of Women
in Cuba and the US

March 30, 2011

A Panel Discussion

4pm ~ The Procrastinator Theater, Strand Union Building
Reception from 5-6pm in the Leigh Lounge
Sponsored by the Office of the President

Scholars and activists from Cuba and the United States will participate in a panel discussion on existing and emerging issues for women and families in the U.S., Cuba and other parts of Latin America on March 30th at 4pm in the Procrastinator Theater at Montana State University a reception hosted by the President's office in Leigh Lounge will follow the panel.
The panel will feature Norma Guillard, Cuban feminist educator and activist, U.S. filmmaker, Catherine Murphy, MSU President Waded Cruzado, Modern Languages Professor and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Patricia Catoira, and Sociology Professor Leah Schmalzbauer.  This panel discussion is sponsored by MSU’s Office of the President, Diversity Awareness Office, Modern Languages/ The Latino and Latin American Studies Program, Program in Women's and Gender Studies, Women's Faculty Caucus, Affirmative Action/Human Resources Office and Bozeman Business and Professional Women.
This event is free and open to the public.

Our panel discussion is organized in conjunction with the Maestra/Teacher Literacy US Film and Speaking Tour  coming to Bozeman as part of a 10 city US Tour during National Women’s History Month co-sponsored by the US Women and Cuba Collaboration, The Literacy Project and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The Montana premiere of Maestra/Teacher, a 30-minute documentary, tells the compelling stories of young women high school literacy workers who went to the mountains and valleys across the island to teach--- and found themselves deeply transformed in the process.  Based in living history, Maestra also aims to spark contemporary political dialogue, reflection, and strategies for positive social change. 


Norma Guillard, educator and activist, joined the 1961 Cuban Literacy Campaign when she was only 15 years old. She is one of the women featured in Catherine Murphy's Maestra, which is a documentary about the women and girls who taught their nation to read and write during the Campaign. A social psychologist from Santiago de Cuba, she is one of the first Cuban women of her generation to call herself a feminist. She is one of the founders of “Oremi,” the first organization of lesbian and bisexual women in Cuba. Guillard participated in the effort in Cuba to reprise playback theatre, an original form of improvisational theater in which audience

Catherine Murphy, director/producer of Maestra, is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who has spent much of the last 20 years working in Latin America. Murphy is founder and director of The Literacy Project, a multi-media documentation project on adult literacy in the Americas. Since 2005, The Literacy Project has focused on gathering oral histories of volunteer teachers from the 1961 Cuban Literacy Campaign, culminating in two documentaries – one of which is Maestra - and she also has a web-based oral history archive and a bi-lingual book of stories in the works. In 2009 while in Caracas, Murphy founded Tres Musas Producciones, a collaborative production house of independent women producers, working together in film, music and literature.

Dr. Waded Cruzado officially took office as President of Montana State University on Jan. 4, 2010. She is the first woman and the first minority to serve as a university president in the state of Montana. Prior to coming to MSU, Dr. Cruzado served as Executive Vice President and Provost at New Mexico State University, a post she held from September 1, 2007 until coming to MSU. NMSU is a comprehensive research, liberal arts and sciences institution, home to a multicultural population of more than 31,000 students. NMSU is a land-grant, research extensive and Hispanic-serving institution.

Dr Patricia Catoira is Associate Professor of Latin American Studies. She currently chairs the Women's and Gender Studies program. Her current research focuses on gender, migration, and politics in Latin American (particularly Cuban) literature and culture.

Leah Schmalzbauer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Her research focuses on new destination Latino migration and transnational migrant families. She is currently working on an ethnographic project exploring gender relations and family formation among Mexican migrants in the rural Mountain West, and on a parallel project looking at transnational fatherhood among Mexican agricultural guest workers in Montana. Leah teaches classes in Sociology, Women and Gender Studies, and Latin American and Latino Studies.