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September 22, 2003 - GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (September 21, 2003) - The Aquinas College Department of Modern Languages and the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center presents Marjorie Agosin, Ph.D., human rights activist and author of "Dear Anne Frank." Agosin will do two presentations at Aquinas on Tuesday, September 23 at 12 noon and 7:00 p.m. in the Wege Student Center Ballroom. The presentations are free and the public is welcome to attend.

The first presentation (12:30 p.m.) in Spanish is entitled "Writing Towards Hope: A Writer's Life." At 7:00 p.m., Agosin will present "The Courage to Hope: Women's Activism in Latin America." This event is sponsored by the Aquinas Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center and the department of modern languages.

Agosin, a human rights activist and writer, is recognized in both North and South America as a versatile and provocative writer whose background defies all concepts North Americans may have of Latin Americans. She is a descendant of Russian and Australian Jews who perished in the Pogrom and the Holocaust. The family that escaped from Vienna emigrated to Chile and lives there today. Agosin lived in Santiago de Chile until she was sixteen when she came to the United States to escape the military coup that overthrew the Socialist government of Salvador Allende.

As well as being an activist for human rights, Agosin is a critically acclaimed, award-winning poet, literary critic, essayist, anthologist and author of short prose. "Dear Anne Frank," a recent collection of bilingual poems, lets unfold a remarkable relationship with the teenage Jewish girl who perished in the death camps of Bergen Belsen. "Tapestries of Hope, Threads of Love: The Arpillera Movement in Chile 1974" details the life of women under the Pinochet dictatorship. "A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile" is a work in which mother and daughter co-mingle and "Always From Somewhere Else," her newest publication, is a remembrance of her father.

In addition to her numerous books of poetry, prose, memoir, and short stories, her literary criticism has been featured in "The New York Times" and the "Boston Globe."

Agosin, professor of Spanish at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, has won numerous awards and distinctions including Girls Scouts of America Leading Women 2000 Award, United Nations Leadership Award in Human Rights (1999), Good Neighbor Award given by the Conference of Christians and Jews (1995) and the Jeanette Ranking Award (1995). In 1995, she was awarded first prize for poetry from Letras de Oro, the Latino Literature Prize and Mexican Cultural Institute Prize for editing Anthology of Mexican Women Writers.

For further information, please call the Aquinas Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center at (616) 632-2979.