Tag Archives: Tijuana

An Evening With Luis Alberto Urrea

In many respects the life and work of Luis Alberto Urrea represent the fulfillment of the fabled American Dream. Born in Tijuana to an American mother and Mexican father, Urrea was raised in the Barrio Logan and Clairemont neighborhoods of San Diego. Often confined indoors because of poor health, the young Luis developed an avid interest in reading that was encouraged by his parents, though it didn’t occur to him then that he could be a professional writer.

As an undergraduate Urrea attended UC San Diego, which, in his words, “opened the door to a whole new world,” a world of Latin-American literature populated by Fuentes, Garcia Marquez, Borges, Llosa, Neruda, and others. Spurred on by their example, and encouraged by his professors and by noted author Ursula K. LeGuin, Urrea embarked on a prolific career as a writer. Indeed, not merely a writer but a true man of letters: poet, novelist, essayist, columnist, journalist, scholar, and educator.

Though not strictly autobiographical, much of Urrea’s work is inspired by his own experiences and those of his family. In the spirit of “write what you know,” he has often based characters on his relatives and other people he has encountered. Urrea is perhaps best known for his writings about the US-Mexico border region, but he points out that his true subject is not that physical border but “the borders that run between us, all of us.” Whatever his subjects or their source, Urrea’s work is marked by his distinctive voice, combining keen observation, rigorous research, fine attention to detail, an ear for the vernacular, a strong sense of social justice, a wry sense of humor, and, above all, a love for the real persons and invented characters about whom he writes.

While recounting his personal journey in his “Dinner in the Library” appearance, Urrea stresses the vital importance of education in shaping his worldview and guiding his career development. He believes that his work as an educator, currently as Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, enables him to celebrate his social and literary legacy while hopefully serving as inspiration for new generations of aspiring writers. By encouraging his students to mine their own heritage for source material, Urrea honors those who supported him at key points in his life.

Watch An Evening with Luis Alberto Urrea – Dinner in the Library 2018

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Innovation and Culture at the Border

32822Tijuana – San Diego, Ciudad Juarez – El Paso; these regions share economic and cultural linkages in dynamic cross-border regions. The Institute of the Americas and the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program hosted a fascinating event that highlighted success stories and dynamism in the innovative and creative environment of border regions.

Speakers include Regina Bernal, Entrepreneurship Manager, University of San Diego; Ricardo Mora, Founder and CEO of Technology in Ciudad Juárez; Guillermo Mejía, Managing Director at MindHub in Tijuana; Jim Brown, Bread & Salt and Principal at PUBLIC Architecture and Planning; David Favela, Founder of Border X and artist Jessie Zelayandia.

Watch:

  • Innovating at the Border
  • The Creative Economy
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    New Series Explores the Spread of HIV in Tijuana

    8232Every once in awhile, we work on a project that touches our soul. Such is the case of HIV/SIDA, a four-part series that brought us in contact with people whose paths we otherwise would not have crossed.

    In the two years of field reporting, we saw many acts of kindness — the glamorous physician who washes the feet of Tijuana’s poor, the compassionate medical student who worries about a sex worker’s UTI, the transgender woman who overcomes her fear of mockery and reveals her HIV status, the ex-heroin addict who walks the Tijuana River Canal, urging residents to protect themselves by using clean needles, and the Tijuana cop who is teaching his fellow police officers to see addiction as a sickness, not a crime. These are among many featured in this series HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana.

    We’ll show you what UC San Diego researchers and others are doing to stop the spread of HIV and how those most affected by the epidemic are coping under difficult conditions. And, we’ll share some of our favorite moments of empathy, moments of hope for humanity, the kind that stick with you, long after the reporting is done.

    Watch HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana.

    Submitted by Shannon Bradley, UCTV Producer of HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana

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