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Noticel recently reported thattwo teams of students from the Mayagüez Campus (RUM) of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) won first place in their pioneering projects in two prestigious competitions centered on energy—one international and one in the United States. The first was the 2021 Humanitarian Technology Project Design Competition, of the Power and Energy Society (PES) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and its Committee on Humanitarian Activities, in which the collegiate team placed first in the Latin America and World section. The second is the 2021 US Department of Energy Solar District Cup Denver, where the Puerto Rican environmentalist ambassadors also obtained first place.

Humanitarian Technology Project Design Competition

In the first, Humanitarian Technology Project Design Competition, the UPRM swept through 65 teams from different countries around the world, with its UPRM Green Light Project, a photovoltaic panel system to provide solar energy and empower communities.

The challenge of this competition was to create a proposal linked to the area of ​​electric power with a humanitarian objective and of service to its community. The students prevailed with their UPRM Green Light Project, which consists of the design of a gazebo for the central courtyard of the UPRM that generates its own energy using solar panels.

US Department of Energy Solar District Cup Denver

At the US Department of Energy Solar District Cup Denver, the UPRM shone among 72 prestigious U.S. universities with a project to design a photovoltaic system with solar energy storage for the city of Denver, Colorado, which was precisely the goal of the contest. This was evaluated by members of the solar industry, academics, researchers and staff of the United States Department of Energy, the main sponsor of the event. The collegiate team achieved first place in the Denver, Colorado district with its proposal designed for a population of about 40,000 people. [. . .]

Counseling was important in the process

Under the advice of Dr. Eduardo I. Ortiz Rivera, professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (INEL / ICOM) and mentor of the Minds2CREATE research group, the students achieved the important feat in the midst of a pandemic context and with the celebration of both events virtually, whose final stages coincided on the last weekend of April.

“These are great achievements, not only for our Mayagüez Campus, but for all of Puerto Rico. I feel privileged in what these students have achieved as a result of collaborative effort and work. It is very significant to be champions of two of the most prestigious competitions in our areas, which are renewable energy and photovoltaic systems. They were extremely difficult challenges, but we managed to overcome and demonstrate the quality of work that we do in our School,” reiterated Dr. Ortiz Rivera. [. . .]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article, see

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Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Stirring the Pot of Haitian History, edited and translated by Mariana F. Past and Benjamin Hebblethwaite, was published by Liverpool University Press in April 2021.

Description: Stirring the Pot of Haitian History is the first-ever translation of Ti dife boule sou istoua Ayiti (1977), the earliest book written by Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot. Challenging understandings of two centuries of Haitian history, Trouillot analyzes the pivotal role of formerly enslaved Haitian revolutionaries in the Revolution and War of Independence (1791–1804), a generation of people who became the founders of the modern Haitian state and advanced the vibrant culture that flourishes in Haiti.

This book confronts Haiti’s political culture and the racial mythologizing of historical figures such as Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Toussaint Louverture, Andre Rigaud, and Alexandre Petion. Trouillot examines the socio-economic and political contradictions and inequalities within the French colony of Saint-Domingue, traces the unraveling of the racist class system after 1790, and argues that Vodou and the Haitian Creole language provided the underlying cultural cohesion and resistance that led Haiti to independence.

This groundbreaking book blends Marxist criticism with Haiti’s rich oral storytelling traditions to provide a playful yet incisive account of Haitian political thought that is rooted in the style and culture of Haitian Creole speakers. Proverbs, wordplay, and songs from popular culture and Vodou religion are interspersed with explorations of complex social and political realities and historical hypotheses; readers are thus drawn into a captivating oral performance.

In a nation where the Haitian Creole majority language is still marginalized in government and education, Ti dife boule leaps out as a major contribution in the effort to expand Haitian Creole scholarship. Stirring the Pot of Haitian History holds a significant place in the expanding canon of Caribbean literature. The English translation of Trouillot’s first book—showing how historical problems continue to reverberate within the contemporary moment—provides readers with a one-of-a-kind Haitian perspective on Haitian revolutionary history and its legacies.

Mariana Past is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Chair of Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean Studies at Dickinson College. Benjamin Hebblethwaite is an Associate Professor of Haitian Creole, Haitian and Francophone Studies at the University of Florida.

For more information, see

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The film Perfume de gardenia by Puerto Rican director Gisela Rosario Ramos will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place from June 9 to 20, 2021. The filmmaker has worked on other film projects as producer and director, including the documentary El hijo de Ruby and Cartas de amor para una ícona. El Nuevo Día reports:

“Perfume de gardenias,” a film directed by Puerto Rican Gisela Rosario Ramos, also known as Macha Colón, will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, which will be held from June 9 to 20, the film’s production reported this Friday. [. . .]

The cast of the film includes Puerto Rican actresses Luz María Rondón (as the protagonist for the first time in a film), Sharon Riley, Katira María, Carmen Nydia Velázquez, Blanca Rivera, Milagros Ortiz, Abner Rivera, Flor Joglar—mother of rapper René Pérez—and painter Antonio Martorell.

“Perfume de gardenias” tells the story of Isabel, played by Rondón, who after several years caring for her sick husband, is left widowed and with nothing to do.

With her days empty, she agrees to help her neighbor, Toña (Sharon Riley), to decorate the funeral of the community carpenter, but because she is poor and with few resources, it takes great creativity to make a wooden box look less simple.

With each funeral, her creativity grows, inspired by the details of the lives of the deceased, and she becomes the decorator of funerals for the community, until she is faced with Toña’s real look unto death. This is a film that pays tribute to the caring mothers of Puerto Rican families.

The project, which is carried out in co-production with Colombia, is intended as an inter-multidisciplinary artistic proposal (including other performative components) such as the work of Colón, a graduate of Hunter College in New York.

Rosario Ramos, in addition to writing, producing, editing and directing films and producing cultural events, has also stood out as a musician with her rock/pop band Macha Colón y Los Okapi.

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish), see