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MUDEC Méinden Fall 2020 #4
MUDEC Méinden Fall 2020 #4
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Fall 2020 #4

 September 14, 2020

  • Meet the Profs-Juan Carlos Albarrán
  • Field Trip Friday Recap
  • Lecture Preview: Ambassador Guy de Muyser
  • Discovery Tour Preview-Orval Abbey and Bouillon Castle
Meet the Profs-Jean-Carlos Albarrán
Man with a fortress and the sea in the background
Jean-Carlos Albarrán
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Did you study abroad and if so where?
My name is Juan Carlos L. Albarrán. I was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Tucson, AZ as part of a family reunification process. In Arizona I completed my B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management from NAU. My professional goals coming to the U.S. were to continue in the tourism industry as I had previously done in Havana. Those goals changed drastically after a couple of years when I met my colleague and now wife Elena. She showed me that there was a path that could be done in the field of Latin American Studies that was interdisciplinary enough to continue growing personally and professionally that could include tourism. She was supposed to do research in some of the archives in my parts of Mexico City, Oaxaca, Taxco among many. I decided to take a chance and joined her in Mexico.  To do that I did an exchange program between the University of Arizona and the Tec de Monterrey (Mexico City campus in Xochimilco) for a semester. The experience was amazing, living in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Latin America, one of the busiest, most populated, and one that has a very eclectic cuisine. Mexico City is today my favorite city in the world rivaling my birth place Havana.

2. How did you end up working for Miami and how did you decide to come to MUDEC?
I joined the Miami family in 2008. It was for me a very magical year. We were hired after Elena finished her PhD in a big cluster of faculty in the program of Latin American Studies and the History department. There were unique historical national elections that year in the U.S. and we got news that Elena and I will be becoming parents. At the end of that same academic year I joined my chair into a LAS summer workshop trip to Brazil with students. The goal was for me to become familiar with workshops in case I would like to lead some faculty-led workshops abroad to Latin America in the future. My boss left the following year to MUDEC for a year and that is how I became aware of the MUDEC program. Throughout the years I have heard from many more of my colleagues and friends that have spent time in MUDEC. I decided to apply to MUDEC and see if my proposal would be accepted.  Not an easy thing because Elena and I work in the same department and that presents its own challenges. Also, as a Senior Lecturer my teaching load needed to be met, so it has been a long process for me to be here at MUDEC. We were able to be selected among great candidates to represent MUDEC this year.

3. What are you looking forward to the most while teaching at MUDEC?
Well, this is a very interesting year to say the least (pandemic, national elections) so I am looking forward to a change in pace in my daily routine. I am also in a unique position of being able to teach my students face to face. After being interrupted suddenly by the pandemic in March it feels really great to be in that space again with them. As I also integrate into life at the Chateau and in Lux in general I am more interested in peace and quiet than usual. I am looking to do many hikes, visit small cities and towns when possible. I want my children to be exposed to diversity in a way that in the U.S. is not necessarily available in rural Ohio. The fact that you can listen to three or four languages just walking the streets makes Luxembourg unique and I came looking for experiences like that. There are also other elements we do not necessarily have in Oxford like a very dynamic and free public transportation. I enjoy going into other areas of Luxembourg on the train even when it is a long trip and you have to keep your mask on.

4. What inspires you?
I am inspired by my family, friends. It is a little cliché to say these things but in times like this it makes you reflect what really matters. It is a great comfort to talk to my relatives and friends in the U.S., Havana, and some parts of Europe.

5. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
The funniest thing that has happened to me recently is the fact that we took the Covid test within the 10 days of arriving into the country of Luxembourg and because we have U.S. phones with a limited plan we forgot that and when we gave the phone number to the person gathering our information we were never able to collect the results of the test (very invasive one in the nose). So today we still do not know what the results were.

6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a musician. Maybe in my next life.
Field Trip Friday Recap
Brilliant weather accompanied each class on their field trips last Friday. In addition to pictures from each of the trips, below you will find a bit more detail from the Architecture trip that was not included last week.

ARC 404
Two students in vineyards with an open building behind
Students at Van Volxem winery
Students next to a futuristic building
Two students with a guide inside a wine-making facility
Students at Van Volxem winery
Students next to a red sculpture
Valentiny Foundation
“A vin de’terroir (wine of place) has distinct characteristics connected to the particular soil, climate, weather, history, farming practices and even the admittedly nebulous “essence” of the vineyard where it was born.” – Randall Grahm
The first stop on the Architecture field trip was the Van Volxem winery on the Saar River in Germany. A tour with the owner gave the students great insights, which were particularly relevant as their main studio project this semester is to design a winery. The second architectural stop was at Cantzheim Guesthouse, designed by the renowned modernist architect Max Dudler.
This field trip was spread over two days and the second day was spent visiting works done by Valentiny Architects in Remerschen, back in Luxembourg. The Biodiversum and the Valentiny Foundation were the main places visited to bring the trop to a close.
ART, GIC and HST Pictures
Students next to car with Time Travel printed on the door
Urban Timetravel back to Luxembourg in 1867 using Virtual Reality
Students in front of Palmyra Arch recreation
Palmyra Triumphal Arch re-creation at Abbaye Neumunster
Students in a garden in front of outdoor pictures
Cité d'Image picture garden in Clervaux Castle
Students in front of memorial to dead from World War II
World War II memorial in front of Clervaux Castle
Man smiling in suit
Guy de Muyser

Ambassador Guy de Muyser
Guest Lecture on Dissident Art from the Soviet Union

A familiar face in the MUDEC community will be returning to the Château this Wednesday evening. Guy de Muyser, former Marshal of the Grand Ducal Court, former Luxembourg Ambassador to the Soviet Union and to NATO, former MUDEC professor and house father, will speak to this semester's students on Wednesday at 17:00 in the Grand Hall. 
His presentation will address three topics:
  • Showing a number of artworks collected in the 1980s while he was a diplomat in Moscow from artists often brutally persecuted by the KGB because of the dissident points of view expressed
  • Using the artworks to show the creative courage of these artists despite the risk of punishment, show how the works (often unconsciously) illustrate many ways in which Russian attitudes may fundamentally differ from Western concepts
  • Explain how a convinced anti-communist diplomat was able to gather this collection
Needless to say this will be yet another way for students to experience history in person and with someone who has contributed so much to MUDEC over the years.
Travel Section Banner

Orval Abbey and Bouillon Castle Discovery Tour Preview

The third Discovery Tour of the semester will take place this coming Friday with a trip to Orval Abbey and Bouillon Castle in Belgium. Orval Abbey is a famous Cistercian monastery, founded in 1132. Completely destroyed during the French revolution, it was only rebuilt during the first part of the 20th century. In order to raise funds for the reconstruction, a brewery was created inside the abbey and Orval now produces one of the most renowned Trappist beers. In addition, a very distinctive cheese is also produced. We will visit the ruins of the medieval abbey and the museum followed by lunch.

Bouillon is home to a castle originally built in the 8th century, which was home to Godfrey of Bouillon, leader of the First Crusade in 1096. Schedule permitting, we will attend the falconry show at the castle, featuring buzzards, eagles, owls and vultures.

Orval Abbey Ruins
Orval Abbey
Castle above a town next to a river
Bouillon Castle
Odds and Ends
SFC Event: Lëtz Go Bowling
5 Students with bowling balls at an alley
SFC Bowling Night
This Week's Schedule graphic
  • Classes
  • Classes
  • Classes
  • 17:00 Ambasador Guy de Muyser-Lecture and Dinner
  • Classes
  • No Classes
  • Discovery Tour-Orval and Bouillon
Château & Administrative Hours
Aerial view of the Château de Differdange, where Miami's Luxembourg campus, the John E. Dolibois European Center, often abbreviated to MUDEC, is located

Château Hours

Monday-Thursday: 8:00-22:00

Friday:                     8:00-17:00
Saturday, Sunday: Closed

Administrative Hours
Monday-Friday:  8:30-12:30

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