Esperanza: A Story of Complicated Hope in Cuba

On December 17, after a half a century of strained relations, the United States and Cuba announced that the two will embark on a careful journey to normalization.

Just two months after this momentous announcement, five students from the Media and Public Diplomacy course of the International Communication Graduate program at St. John’s University and two professors got the rare opportunity to spend a week in La Habana through the People-to-People Educational ambassador program.

St. John’s Stoked Alumna’s Passion for Television

Liz Muentes ’09CPS, ’11GCPS is an Emmy Award-winning multimedia producer and journalist with more than 10 years of experience in the television industry.

“I am passionate about this medium and its power to broaden horizons and impact communities in positive ways,” she said. “I hope to give back by being a mentor and teach at St. John’s one day.”

A New York native, Ms. Muentes chose St. John’s due to its proximity to New York City. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations and a Master of Science degree in International Communication from the College of Professional Studies (now called The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies).

“St. John’s has played a big role in where I find myself in my career,” she explained. “It opened doors for me and allowed me to pinpoint my skillset.”

Today, Ms. Muentes is a Digital Reporter/Producer for News 12, covering music, arts, and restaurants in the tristate area. “I love storytelling and sharing stories with the public, showcasing stories that sometimes are overlooked,” she said. “I get to meet new people and learn about their craft.”

Ms. Muentes began her career at WNET, the nation’s largest PBS member station, where she produced and oversaw preproduction through postproduction development of various programs focusing on news and politics, business affairs, the arts, and science and technology.

In addition, she also worked on documentaries that explored the Latino community, the history of one of the nation’s greatest champions of theater and performing arts, fashion at Lincoln Center, the life of Reginald Lewis, and treasures of New York.

At St. John’s, Ms. Muentes was President of the Public Relations Club and was very active with WRED-TV, the campus television station, where she was a Production Secretary and host of the weekly newscast, Eye of the Storm. The television studio on the fourth floor of Marillac Hall became her second home, and it is where she shared her passion for television with like-minded people. At WRED-TV, she covered everything from news, sports, trends, and concerts, and learned the fundamental skills needed for creating a segment, using a camera, and editing a television show.

During her college years, Ms. Muentes interned at Nickelodeon and WNET. While completing her master’s degree, she had the opportunity to freelance at WNET on a documentary about Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. After graduation, she joined the WNET team full-time and worked there for the next eight years.

Ms. Muentes said she was lucky to have “amazing” professors in the Division of Mass Communication at St. John’s, including Basilio G. Monteiro, Ph.D.John DiMarco, Jr., Ph.D.Brenda M. Laux; and Alla Baeva, Ph.D. “I owe much of my success to my professors, who were always my mentors, who enlivened classroom lessons with real-world experiences, and who emphasized the importance of mass communication in society.”

Lo que el viento no se llevó

by Cristina Pérez-Cordón, Ph. D

De todos es conocida la frase “las palabras se las lleva el viento”, pero nada hay más lejos de la realidad. Hay frases que han cambiado el rumbo de la historia, como la célebre I have a dream (tengo un sueño), pronunciada por el activista Martin Luther King (1929-1968)  en agosto del 63 al terminar la manifestación de Washington por el trabajo y la libertad. Otras han sido el eje de una forma de vida, como la frase “sé el cambio que quieres ver en el mundo” del abogado, político y pensador indio Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). Algunas son una poderosa forma de motivación, como el famoso No pain no gain (sin esfuerzo no hay resultados) que acuñó Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) y popularizó Jane Fonda (1937-) en sus ejercicios aeróbicos en los 80, aunque en realidad el concepto aparece expresado con otras palabras ya en textos de la antigüedad. Parece claro, pues, que las palabras permanecen con todo su peso, e impregnan el ambiente, causando un efecto de mayor o menor dimensión en aquellos que las reciben.

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Grazie Mille, Dean Passerini …

The Institute for International Communication owe its existence to Dean Katia Passerini, who gave an enthusiastic support to this idea, which was languishing for about 5 years prior to her arrival at St. John’s University. Dean Passerini saw the value in the Institute that would promote interdisciplinary dialogue through intellectual work beyond the curriculum and by international exchange of ideas through academic activities, and engaging scholars and industry practitioners.

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Diálogo de una lingüista y una pandemia

By  Cristina Perez Cordon

Seguro que en las últimas semanas has visto imágenes similares a estas circulando por las redes sociales. Son ilustraciones de personal sanitario que muestra su lado más valiente en la lucha contra la COVID-19 y su lado más humano para paliar la angustia de aquellos que la sufren. ¿Sabías que hay una explicación a las mismas en una obra del siglo IV antes de Cristo? Si como yo, tienes curiosidad por saber cuál es, te invito a que sigas leyendo.

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“Hiroshima Sparrow” by Harumi Yamamoto

A Guidepost for the Future: Japanese Artist Stuns with Musical Message 

NEW YORK — “Study, learn, and try to become more invested in these issues,” said artist Harumi Yamamoto. “Remember that nuclear issues affect each and every one of us.”

This was the message Yamamoto gave students who attended her musical presentation about the horrors of nuclear power, on September 30 at St. John’s University’s Queens Campus. About 70 students, faculty and guests crowded an upstairs room in the D’Angelo Center.

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Por qué sí eres inteligente

by Cristina Pérez-Cordón, Ph. D

Albert Einstein no comenzó a hablar hasta cumplidos los cuatro años de edad y fue incapaz de comenzar a leer hasta los siete. Era tan mal estudiante que estuvo a punto de dejar la escuela y dedicarse a la venta de seguros. Sus profesores lo definían como un muchacho “mentalmente lento” y su padre siempre lo consideró un auténtico fracaso. Esto último le rompió el corazón. Hoy día se le considera un genio y uno de los pilares de la física moderna. Además de su inteligencia matemática, fue su paciencia, su perseverancia y su voluntad de hierro los elementos que lograron cambiar la injusta etiqueta que de niño le habían colocado. Continue reading “Por qué sí eres inteligente”

Nuestro cerebro ya no es lo que era, (des)afortunadamente

by Cristina Pérez-Cordón, Ph. D

Soy un desastre para recordar los cumpleaños. Mis amigos lo saben y no me lo tienen en cuenta. Hasta hace poco vivía con cierto cargo de conciencia por olvidar año tras año los cumpleaños de personas que me importan y a las que quiero, hasta que un amigo me dijo que en realidad era Facebook quien le avisaba, “como a casi todos”, añadió. No sé si me sentí aliviada o triste por este cambio de roles en el funcionamiento de nuestra memoria y en las relaciones sociales.

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Prosumidor responsable vs. Pinocho digital

by Cristina Pérez-Cordón, Ph. D 

Hace algunos años compré por internet una máquina de ruido blanco para poder dormir mejor por las noches. El aparato llegó estropeado, así que escribí una valoración negativa en internet. Al día siguiente, recibí un correo electrónico de la empresa que fabrica las máquinas para disculparse y para ofrecerme una nueva sin coste adicional a cambio de que editara mi valoración explicando la reacción positiva de la empresa ante el problema. Ambos cumplimos nuestro acuerdo, ellos no vieron sus ventas perjudicadas y yo duermo mejor por las noches. Dos semanas más tarde, una empresa de vitaminas contactó conmigo ofreciéndome un buen lote de melatonina totalmente gratis (una hormona reguladora del sueño) a cambio de que escribiese una valoración positiva en internet. Tras vivir mi momento Snap “I’ve got the power”, les dije que no.

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Space and Fashion or ‘‘Spashion’’

By Anna Morozova

Have you ever thought how Space and Fashion could unite and form something fascinating and beautiful just like anything combined by two opposites? In the way, a child from two different races and cultures is usually unique and especially beautiful, so the child of space and fashion is. Let’s call this child ‘‘Spashion’’! In this article I am going to attempt and answer the question if ‘‘Spashion’’ could be the beginning of a new trend or has this trend already been existing?

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Jewelry as a communication medium

By Katerina Juszczak 

​Its alluring glow in the dark surroundings of the exhibition hall is purposefully staged to invite visitors to take a closer look at it – jewelry: a massive golden breast piece, golden calf covers (probably a part of royal armor), massive golden earrings that could hardly conceivably be worn through piercings. Hall after hall of masterfully arranged jewelry pieces that represent different periods, traditions, and geographic regions draw the attention with their exquisite beauty, unusual appearance, or sheer opulence.

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It’s almost the first Selfie…

By Mark Juszczak

Ayoucha’s hands aren’t holding the camera. Actually, it’s not really a camera. It’s almost a camera. She is reclining on a couch. Wearing striped loose pants. A Hookah pipe is resting on her lips. She is amused. Confident. At ease in her flat in Cairo. In gesture and gaze the expression is timeless. It could have been yesterday.

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Ayoucha, Cairo ,
Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey

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