Montana State University

Cuban literacy documentary premieres at MSU on March 28

March 8, 2011

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Cuban educator and activist, Norma Guillard, and U.S. filmmaker, Catherine Murphy will present the Montana premier of the new Cuban documentary titled Maestra (Teacher) at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, in the Montana State University Strand Union Ballrooms. The event is free and open to the public.

An open dialog with Guillard and Murphy will follow the premiere.

A literacy fair, combining campus and community groups dedicated to increasing literacy in America and Montana, will be held in connection with the film and will begin at 7 p.m.

Guillard, a social psychologist from Cuba, is one of the original teachers from the campaign featured in the film. Guillard was 15 years old when she and her sister joined the literacy campaign. As she expresses in the film, "It is the most important thing I have done in the history of my life."

Based in living history, "Maestra" also aims to spark contemporary political dialog, reflection, and strategies for positive social change.

The film is coming to Bozeman as part of a 10-city U.S. tour during National Women's History Month and 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, 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.

The Cuban Literacy Campaign in 1961 was one of the farthest-reaching and most successful literacy campaigns to date. Cuba recruited 100,000 youth to go to the countryside to teach peasants how to read and write. Within one year, these teachers, the majority of them young women, taught 707,000 Cubans to read and write, eradicating illiteracy, according to UNESCO standards, in one of the most successful literacy campaigns ever in the world. Cuba's model of achieving Literacy is currently being adopted in over 50 nations.

This free event is sponsored by the MSU Leadership Institute, ASMSU and co-sponsored with MSU's Office of the President, College of Letters and Science, Native American Studies, KGLT, Women's & Gender Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, Department of Education, Office of International Programs, Women's Center, Diversity Awareness Office, Human Resources/Affirmative Action and Bozeman Public Library Foundation, Bozeman Business and Professional Women, Thrive, and Hopa Mountain.

For more information, please call the MSU Leadership Institute at 406-994-7275 or visit www.montana.edu/leadership.

Murphy and Guillard will also participate in a panel discussion on existing and emerging issues for women and families in Cuba and other parts of Latin America to be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday,
March 30, in the MSU Procrastinator Theater. A reception hosted in Leigh Lounge by the MSU President's Office will follow the panel. The event, which will also feature MSU President Waded Cruzado on the panel, is free and open to the public. More information can be found at: http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=9565.

Carmen McSpadden, Director, MSU Leadership Institute (406) 994-7275; Jan Strout, Co-director, US Women and Cuba Collaboration (206) 251-0880