A Few Highlights of Sergio Jara’s Visit to Kansas

Paraguayan Sculptor Sergio Jara spent a month in Kansas this fall. Upon his return he sent pictures from his visit along with a note.

Sergio said that he was a bit nervous starting his trip to a new country, new people, new experiences and uncertain if his English was good enough.  Sergio found friendly people who opened their homes to him. He was thankful for all of the hospitality, comfortable living, interesting exchange of opinions and good practice speaking English that got better and better. He is grateful for the many new friends that he made in Kansas.

Sergio found the art facilities and professors within the Kansas universities and art institutions to be superior and a great help in his artistic training. He valued the ability to be able to choose various activities and found the opportunity to talk with other students and present his work to be extremely valuable.

Sergio particularly wanted to thank Amber Hansen and Nicholas, Judith McCrea, Eric Conrad and Yoonmi, Michael Hager, Fernando Achucarro and family, Ramiro Miranda and family, Lana Messner, Jennifer Baldwin and family, Meli Peña, Peter Haney, Miriam Mongelós and John Poertner and Edith Black and all of those people he met, gave of their time, and knowledge.

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Sergio Jara won the sculpture competition sponsored by Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). Part of his prize was to spend a month in Kansas hosted by KPP artists and supporters. His trip was also supported by Partners of the Americas as part of their education and culture travel grant program.  Kansas artists Amber Hansen, Judith McCrea of the University of Kansas, and Eric Conrad of Emporia State University deserve special recognition for all of their efforts to make Sergio’s visit rich and valuable.


Past Presidents of Comité Paraguay Kansas

On July 9th, 2008, the Comité Paraguay Kansas celebrated their 40th anniversary at the American Embassy in Asunción, Paraguay.

There are more photos in the Rincon VIP section of our website!

A Kansas-Paraguay Tradition Continues

Approximately 35 years ago Alberto Granada helped teach Barbara Preheim and her parents, Boots and Merrell Raber (former KPP President), Spanish while they were visiting Paraguay for the first time.

Approximately 30 years ago, while in Newton Kansas for three months, Alberto Granada and his son Teddy stayed at Boots and Merrell’s home.

Boots and Merrell e-mailed Alberto that their grandson, Ben Preheim, would be there visiting with the high school exchange group in JUNE 2008. Alberto invited the five students to his brother-in-law’s birthday party on Saturday. Here’s a photo of Alberto with Ben Preheim–the exchange continues!

Three of the students, Amanda Jones, Morgan Sherve and Meredith Morris, decided to go along to the party with Ben. Here’s their photo:

Story and photos submitted by Barbara Preheim

2007 CPK Scholarship Awarded

The first recipient of the Comité Paraguay Kansas Special Merit Scholarship was Lorenzo Veloso (pictured below, on the campus of Kansas State University). Lorenzo first came to Kansas with a CPK internship at the School of Veterinary Medicine of Kansas State University in 2002-2003. Lorenzo returned to K-State in the fall of 2004, to pursue graduate studies. The 2007 CPK scholarship helped cover tuition and fees, making it possible for Lorenzo to graduate in May of this year with an MS in Meat Science and Industry.

Congratulations, Lorenzo!

Pittsburg State University in Paraguay Program

PSU offers undergraduate coursework in the evenings on the campus of Catolica Universidad in Asuncion, Paraguay.  These general education undergraduate courses are taught in English.  Students may  take up to 24 credit hours per year for two years, for a total of 48 hours of coursework.  Students can then complete their degree program on the Pittsburg, Kansas campus.  These academic credits, which will apply toward a bachelor’s degree at PSU, may transfer to other Kansas or US universities and colleges.

Read more about the Pittsburg in Paraguay Program:

Contact Information in Paraguay 
The Comite’ Paraguay-Kansas
Mirian Mongelos, Executive Secretary
Mariscal Lopez 2029 Esq. Aca Caraya
Asuncion, Paraguay
Telephone: 212-540
Email:  mirian@cpk.org.py , cpk@quanta.com.py

Contact Information in Pittsburg, Kansas
Dr. Alice Sagehorn
Director of the PSU in PY Program
106 Hughes Hall
Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg, Kansas 66762
Telephone: 620-235-4499
FAX:  620-235-4520

Sculptor Gustavo Beckelmann

Building International Understanding

That is noted sculptor Elden Tefft on the left. Eldon is retired from teaching sculpture at the University of Kansas and maybe best known locally as the creator of the statue of Moses in front of Smith Hall. His representation of former KU Chancellor Franklin Murphy is in a sculpture garden at UCLA along with works of such notables as Jean Arp, Barbara Hepworth and Henri Matisse.That is internationally known sculptor Gustavo Beckelmann on the right. Gustavo is from Paraguay and is in Kansas this month as part of the “Visual Encounters with Paraguay” exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka.Elden Tefft taught sculpture in Paraguay in 1989. His trip was part of a cultural exchange through Kansas Paraguay Partners and supported, in part, by Partners of the Americas.

Gustavo says that in 1989 he was a struggling artist who was trying to create bronze sculptures. His methods were primitive and results were disappointing. He attended Professor Tefft’s class in Asuncion Paraguay and his artistic life was transformed. Elden taught the “lost wax” method of working with bronze which is an ancient technique still used today.

Following these classes Jerry Miller, one of Elden’s collaborators, helped Gustavo build the type of kiln needed to work successfully with bronze. Gustavo has gone on to create sculptures that have won international prizes. He has also passed on what he has learned by helping sculptors in other countries build kilns like the one that Jerry helped him construct.

This is one of hundreds of stories of international collaborations in diverse fields including agriculture, health and education that build understanding across cultures. In this case a young struggling artist in a developing country learned the skills needed to build a successful career. For his part Elden made lifelong friends in a little known South American country.

I heard yesterday that the US now spends more on defense than all of the other countries in the world combined. Perhaps if we spent more on building relationships like that of Elden and Gustavo we would need to spend less on defense.

Posted to the Lawrence Journal World-Newspaper Blog by KPP Member John Poertner

2008 Youth Ambassadors Arrive!

This year the number of Youth Ambassadors doubled to ten students coming with two adult escorts. This is program co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department and Partners of the Americas. Lawrence High school and Free State High students will be hosting the ten students. Will and Margaret Severson will be hosting Cristina Escriba at Free State High and Steve, Faith and Morgan Nilhas will be hosting Erwin Bogado, the adult escort at Lawrence High School.

Bienvenidos a todos!

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