Monthly Archives: February 2014

Munich Art Controversy

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about the book and film “The Monuments Men,” there is somewhat of an art controversy in Munich. This issue is very hot right now because the apartment in Munich where stolen art was found was owned by Hidebrand Gurlitt, who was an art dealer in the Nazi era. He was said to have worked to establish the Nazi art museums during that time period, and to have possibly bought these relics from the Nazi party, who stole them. 

Mr. Gurlitt has since passed, but his son has been fighting for custody of these paintings and various works of art. The battle has been raging on in courts for a few months now, and at first, the authorities wanted to keep the identity of the works unknown. However, a list of the art has now been published. The works included art by Picasso, Matisse, and other renowned artists. 

It seems that the courts have ruled in favor of Mr. Gurlitt’s son, who is 80 and was housing the “stolen” relics, which he claimed were bought and paid for. How he came into possession of the works was not discussed. 300 of the over 1,500 pieces will be returning to his apartment in Munich. This has enraged Jewish groups throughout the country.

For any more information go to It is a great website for international news!


The Monuments Men

In Munich, art is quite the popular topic in the media these days, and the rumored Nazi stolen art treasure trove is the main event. Some 1500 pieces of art work were found in a former Nazi art dealer’s apartment. These pieces include paintings and sculptures, by well-known artists as well as lesser known.

The real story, though, is this is not the first time art “stolen” by the Nazi’s has been mentioned this month. You may have seen the trailer for the film “The Monuments Men” starring George Clooney and other various actors.

This film is all about reclaiming the art stolen by the Nazis during WWII. The film is based on a phenomenal book by Robert M. Edsel. I would suggest it to anyone who is even remotely interested in history, German affairs, or art. It is an incredible story of how important art truly is and how it’s tied to history.

It has been 75 years since WWII started. As a culture we are still finding new developments from that time. Finding these art works might not seem like a matter of global concern, but if you think about it, these paintings were people’s lives. It was the history of their life, and to the world that was important. These events are something to be noted — art changed these men forever.

China, the New Silicon Valley

When many think of China, their minds do not automatically snap to modern technological hub. In an article written on Spiegel Online, Bernhard Zand delves into the new world of technology sweeping through China. Technology here in the United States is a way of life. We use our cell phones on possibly an hourly basis, and frequently check emails. We live in our own little technology bubble. China has begun to burst our bubble. There is a company in China called 36Kr, which is similar to Microsoft and Apple. A few months ago, 36Kr held a party in a nightclub in downtown Beijing where music was played on apps made by 36Kr. There was also a raffle held at the end of the night that required the audience to shake their cellphones:

“Okay, everyone log in to Weixin,” the MC says, “and shake your phones: three, two, one, now!”

Weixin, WeChat in English, is the most successful Chinese chat app and everyone in The Basement had it installed on their mobile devices. When the phone is shaken, the app displays a list of everyone nearby within just seconds. Those at the top of the moderator’s Weixin list win the raffle: iPhones, paid vacation days, giant-screen televisions. One winner is so ecstatic that, new iPad in hand, he begins breakdancing on stage.

A band plays at 36Kr’s New Year party.

This is the new face of China. It is estimated that over 84% of the 1.3 billion people in China have access to cellular devices and internet. Akio Tanaka, a technology investor, said, “When I came to Beijing 10 years ago, China’s Internet was so ugly. But now, the websites of some Chinese vendors are better than those in America.” Beijing is taking an avid interest in technology, and the state is more than willing to help start-up companies get their ideas off the ground. All types of tech giants are now coming to China for ideas in technology, including Facebook, Yahoo, and various social networks. Beijing is becoming the Silicon Valley of China.

Scholarship Deadline Rapidly Approaching

dollar-2-1003609-mLet’s talk money: there’s an upcoming scholarship deadline: March 3rd, for the David Starr Jordan and Gabrielle Robinson Scholarship. There is a relatively small number of scholarships earmarked exclusively for encouraging students to follow an international study curriculum. We’d like to change that and make more funds available to students, of course, but please realize that all financial aid one receives for a given semester can be applied to the expense of a study-abroad program, up to and including student loans. Besides that, there are only a few dedicated international-study-only scholarships, and that’s what’s important today.

Consider applying for the David Starr Jordan and Gabrielle Robinson Scholarship. This is a short-term study abroad scholarship, designed to support a student in one of the briefer trips the department has planned, such as Costa Rica, Florence, Oaxaca, or Berlin-Prague. If you’ve applied or been accepted to one of those programs (the application deadline for Costa Rica and Florence is today!), you should apply for this scholarship. Here’s a direct link to the application instructions.

travel-4-996209-mIn addition, check the International Programs “financial aid and scholarships” page for details on the Joseph L. and Julia B. Peyser Study Abroad Undergraduate Scholarships (deadline April 1st), and also aid available through the IU Office of Overseas Study Scholarships. Now stop staring at this blog, and go apply!

Fellowship of Travelers

So, the other day, as I had assembled the required components, I made my way to the passport office. Here in South Bend, for the curious, this office is located in our main post office downtown. I felt slightly like a medieval alchemist about to concoct something mysterious, something undiscovered. It was an intense, heady feeling; all those undiscovered countries in the world were suddenly about to become accessible (at least in theory). Of course, they’re all actually “discovered.” All the nations of the world have been mapped and trod and settled a thousand times over, but not by me, not a single one of them, and that’s an important distinction. This passport would be one of the keys to traveling out in the world, a key I had up til now not possessed.

An even better thing was about to happen, however. When I passed through the post office proper, and stepped into the small room with its very government-looking “Passports” stenciling, feeling like the very first sojourner ever to go that way, I saw a familiar face already there. One of our very own professors from IUSB was there with his wife, applying for passports so their two small children could come with them on a trip this summer. I’ve had several classes with this particular professor, and we passed the time with some small talk waiting for our respective turns to approach the counter and unburden our ingredients. Even in a medium-small-sized town such as South Bend, I have only met professors by chance outside of campus perhaps once or twice. To encounter someone in such an unusual place was a wonderful, chance meeting, but there was more to it than just an opportunity to say hello to a great teacher. A familiar face in the passport office brought this incredible reality home to me, the realization that I was joining a certain kind of fellowship, a society of world travelers. It’s an interesting conundrum, a side-effect of international education, perhaps, that it seems to bring people together in a way by sending them away, far from home and out to the far corners of the world.

Nelson López Rojas: El Salvador in Exile

On Friday, February 21, the IU South Bend Spanish Club hosted “El Salvador in Exilewith Professor Nelson López Rojas as a guest speaker

This presentation explored the current post-war situation of this Central American nation through the eyes of an exile. In his biomithographical book Semos malos (We’re Evil), Nelson López Rojas surveys the different facets of what it meant to grow up in a country at war and what people can learn of his experiences in his country now “at peace.”

Semos malos

“Yo no tengo patria: mitos e historias del terruño olvidado”.

In 1932, Salvadoran writer Salarrué was confronted by the rest of the academics of his country in order to get him react to the killings of thousands of peasants in western El Salvador. His answer was, “I don’t have a country, I have a piece of land that I call Cuscatlán.” A year later, Salarrué published a book of short stories that tell the life of these indigenes before the massacre. One story is Semos malos, and Nelson López Rojas borrowed the name of this story for his book in which he describes that so many years after The Massacre, still, “Semos malos” (We’re evil).

Mindgames/ Juegos de la memoria

Mindgames is a collection of poems that depict the life of an immigrant in the U.S.: having one leg here and one leg in their country of origin.

Nelson López Rojas is a Visiting Professor of Spanish at Marquette University. His interests range from Latin American Studies to Translation Studies. He is currently working on a translation of a book about the aftermath of peace in El Salvador.

Nelson López Rojas

“Talk Study Abroad, Eat Pizza” Recap

Did you miss the “Eat Pizza, Talk Study Abroad” event hosted by the Office of International Programs on Wednesday, Feb 12th? International-minded students with oversea studies interests gathered at the Grill in Fireside B at noon to discuss the possibility of participating in the study abroad programs available at IUSB. Currently, there are three study abroad programs available for the remaining academic year still accepting applications.

1. Costa Rica: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Trip Dates: Jul 5-Jul 19, 2014
Application Deadline: Feb 24, 2014
Trip Leader: Kristyn Quimby (

2. Florence: Painting and Sculpting
Trip Dates: Jun 19-Jul 18, 2014
Application Deadline: Feb 24, 2014
Trip Leaders: Dora Natella (, Ron Monama (

3. Mexico: Language, Culture and Society
Trip Dates: Jul 11-Aug 9, 2014
Application Deadline: March 20, 2014
Trip Leaders: John Davis (, Jay VanderVeen (

Can’t wait to apply? Here’s the link to the application on our website:

In addition to the trips administrated by faculties at IU South Bend, there are over 250 overseas study programs, in 52 countries, speaking 17 different languages, administrated by Indiana University on all eight IU campuses. Every year, a study abroad advisor from IU Bloomington visits our campus to promote the oversea programs. This year, Danielle M. Samek, an experienced study abroad advisor working with IUSB students, succeeded in sending few of our fellow students abroad.

Faneromeni, a senior at IUSB, stated in response to her experience working with Danielle Samek, “She is an amazing person to work with! I had the pleasure of working with her and she would respond thoroughly to every question I had about the program. She is extremely helpful and supportive. I don’t think I would have made it if I didn’t have her help, advice and encouragement throughout the entire process”!

Another student, Daniela, said, “Studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime, but you have to be ready for all that studying abroad entails, before and during. Working with the program in Bloomington was a pleasant experience. I would definitely encourage students from IUSB to look at all your possibilities with the IU programs so that you can find a program that fits your ambition”.

Study abroad advisor contact information:

Danielle M Samek (
Leo R. Dowling International Ctr.     (812) 855-9304 appointments
111 S. Jordan Avenue                         (812) 855-1145 phone
Bloomington, IN 47405-7709            (812) 855-6452 fax

For more information, please visit