Globalization and Technology Boost Central America’s Film Industry

The young film industry in Honduras, a country of 9 million people, struggled to produce a film each year only a decade ago. But the industry boomed in 2017 with more than a dozen films produced. And for the first time, a Honduran film – Morazán – was considered for an Academy Award, joining the long list for best foreign-language film. “Globalization is contributing to a new era of cinematic production in Central America due to new technologies and lower costs,” explains author J.H. Bográn. “The film industry in Central America has no direct ties with the likes of big studio production companies in Hollywood and remains the stuff of dreams for many with the most adventurous investing their own money to achieve those dreams.” A handful of industry leaders undertook the painstaking work of organizing a film selection committee to secure accreditation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. International film festivals like Sundance and the Costa Rica Festival Internacional de Cine as well as multinational cultural organizations like Ibermedia based in Spain also encourage projects in Central America. More than 90 countries submitted entries for the Academy Award with films that reflect a diverse world and inspire beyond their borders. – YaleGlobal

Venezuela Is Not a Big Priority for Russia, China or Iran

Venezuela had strong ties with the United States until 1998, when Hugo Chávez was elected president. With the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the country of 32 million should be wealthy. But Chávez and Nicolás Maduro revised the constitution, concentrating presidential power in their hands, while mismanaging the economy and oil industry. More than 80 percent of Venezuelan households live in poverty, dealing with rampant inflation and shortages of basic goods. Carlo Jose Vicente Caro notes that economic challenges have influenced foreign relations: “The official line is that the government is strengthening strategic relations with partners like Moscow and Beijing as well as Tehran. But the Maduro administration has exaggerated the strength of those ties. The priority is not helping Venezuela but countering US hegemony in regional politics.” With Venezuela defaulting on some bonds, Russia and China have slowed lending. Venezuela is over-dependent on oil exports and still relies on the US oil market. Caro concludes, “Venezuela is but a pawn for legitimizing those countries’ policies on the world stage rather than advancing a real agenda of its own. – YaleGlobal

Brazil’s Babies

Josely taps on the wooden door and is welcomed into the simple concrete house perched on the rim of a ravine of one of the sprawling favelas in Salvador, Brazil.

She is a nurse and has come to see the baby.

Wearing a diaper and sucking a blue pacifier, the two- month-old boy with a shock of black hair is carried in by his avó, or grandmother, and laid upon the white sheet of his parents’ bed. His crib, covered in a fine mesh to repel mosquitoes and adorned with a colorful mobile, stands at the foot of the bed. A small lizard, no larger than a paper clip, noiselessly traverses the ceiling directly overhead.

Research in Nicaragua Inspires Two Scientific Papers and a Career Path for Recent YSPH Graduate

Before she even received her diploma, Cara Safon’s research was already having an impact. A study that she conducted while still an M.P.H. student at the Yale School of Public Health led to two published peer-reviewed articles on breastfeeding practices in León, Nicaragua. 

Safon entered the program knowing she wanted to pursue research on maternal-child health, and began seeking out research opportunities in the field. She connected with YSPH Professor Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., who currently leads the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) scaling up initiative, a program that helps guide countries in assessing their readiness to improve breastfeeding protection, promotion and support environments. Together, they devised a research proposal that would examine the connection between delivery mode —natural or Cesarean section—and subsequent breastfeeding outcomes.

Noël Valis, expert in Spanish literature, wins Victoria Urbano Award

Phot of professor Noël Valis

Noël Valis, professor of Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, has won the Victoria Urbano Academic Achievement Award (Premio Victoria Urbano de Reconocimiento Académico), given by the International Association of Hispanic Women’s Literature and Culture (Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica), for her work in Hispanic women’s and gender studies.

Valis began her research in this field in the 1980s, at the time a fledgling area within Hispanic studies. She co-edited (with Carol Maier) what was to become an influential and widely cited book in Hispanism, “In the Feminine Mode: Essays on Hispanic Women Writers.” She has also rediscovered forgotten or neglected 19th-century Spanish women writers and promoted Hispanic women authors through editorial work, essays, and translation, such as Noni Benegas’s “Burning Cartography,” which won the Best Book Translation Prize from the New England Council of Latin American Studies.


Professor and surgeon leads medical mission to Nicaragua with Hand Help

A smiling doctor and youngster compare the spread of their fingers.

Yes, he was born with the little finger,” answers Jenifer, a pretty young woman with a high, bouncy ponytail, in Spanish when asked about the wriggling baby sitting in her lap. His name is Matias. His chubby arms and legs stick out of a onesie decorated with cars and trucks, and his big brown eyes stare, rarely blinking at the doctors and nurses. He turns six months old today, but he’s big enough to pass for 10 or 11 months old.

Jenifer shows Matias’ right hand to the group: growing alongside his thumb is a second thumb, slightly smaller than the first and moving in conjunction with it. She strokes the top of his hand with her thumb as he grips her index finger with his normal thumb and the extra little finger.

A Diverse Student Team Wins Patagonia Case Competition

A team of Yale School of Management students won first place in the annual Patagonia Case Competition this spring. A June 13 article in Poets and Quants features the students and discusses their experiences in the competition, which spanned four months.

Held in partnership with the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business, the annual competition asks students to help Patagonia address an issue of the company’s choice. This year, Patagonia asked how it can help scale regenerative organic agriculture practices.

Sixty-eight student teams originally submitted proposals to Patagonia. Of them, ten were invited to pitch day at Haas, and the top three visited Patagonia. Yale SOM’s team included Nikola Alexandre SOM/FES ’18; Nathan Hall ’17; Nitesh Kumar ’17; Chris Martin SOM/FES ’18; Emily Oldfield, a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Sciences; and Serena Pozza SOM/FES ’18.

Yale School of Medicine expands partnership to promote clinical trials and training in Puerto Rico

An expanded partnership between the Yale School of Medicine and research institutions in Puerto Rico is set to foster collaborative clinical research and training opportunities in the United States and the territory.

The agreement, which began May 1, 2017, expands on a partnership first announced on February 3, 2016, between the School of Medicine, the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI), the PuertoRico Science, Technology, and Research Trust (PRSTRT), and the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation(PRCCI)*. The partnership’s goal is to improve the health of Latino people through clinical research and trials, and to train Latinos in Puerto Rico and the United States to become clinical scientists and health services researchers.

Interpreting Maya myths through art: Q&A with Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

The “old goddess” is a paradoxical character in Maya mythology. She is the grandmother who raised the infant gods, but in most accounts, she hated them, and finally tried to kill them. Despite her significance, she rarely appears in ancient Maya art.

“We find her portraits here and there, but she is not a favorite,” said Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, assistant professor of anthropology at Yale. “Still, her depictions are consistent with descriptions of old goddesses as patrons of childbirth, midwifery, and the sweat bath — a facility that is still used for pre- and post-partum treatments in Maya communities. Understanding the old goddess is key to understanding Maya mythology.”