Former Nicaraguan VP to speak

by Hanna RussmannStaff Writer

Sergio Ramirez, former Vice President of Nicaragua, will be speaking at Simpson College’s 22nd annual McBride Lecture in Smith Chapel at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The McBride Lecture was established in 1987 by the Simpson College Board of Trustees. It was created to honor Drs. Robert and Luella McBride. Also, the McBride Lecture was created to expose the students at Simpson to critical thinking, great minds, moral responsibility, social justice and the cause of citizenship.

“This will be a wonderful event and should especially appeal to people interested in political science, Spanish and literature,” Jim Palmieri, professor of economics and current director of Simpson forum, said.

Mark Bates, professor of Spanish, is responsible for bringing Ramirez to Simpson.

“I’m very excited to have him here, because there are very few people that have as much experience in two different areas of life experience like he does,” Bates said. “One is in politics, he was a revolutionary…he later became Vice President,…but then he has this whole other life as a writer.”

Ramirez is a well-known political leader and author. At the age of 21, Ramirez had published his first book.

One year later, in 1964, he graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, León and received a gold medal for being the best student in his class.

Later in the 1970s, Ramirez headed the “Group of Twelve,” a group composed up of businessmen, intellectuals and priests that were against the tyranny of the Somoza regime. This group helped to make the Sandista Revolution of 1979 successful.

Of his many books, “Adios Muchachos” is a memoir of his days in the Nicaraguan Revolution.

In 1984, Ramirez was elected as Vice President of Nicaragua, where he held office until 1990.

Bates believes that this lecture is a great opportunity for students in any area of study.

“Here you have an opportunity in any McBride speaker to meet someone with an incredible amount of expertise and experience in a field that they might not know anything about,” Bates said.

Eduardo Magalhaes III, professor of political science, also believes that this lecture will be interesting for students with a variety of interests.

“It’s an opportunity to hear directly from the source for that kind of thing,” Magalhaes said. “If you’re interested in politics, a left kind of perspective, Latin America, economic development or social justice, I think there is a lot of ways that what he does intersect with what students are interested in across a lot different areas.”

Senior Sara Crouse, who is double majoring in integrated marketing communications and political science, believes this year’s lecture will be influential to political science majors.

“I strongly believe that the 2009 McBride Lecture featuring Sergio Ramirez is a beneficial event for all political science majors, regardless of their focus,” Crouse said. “Both students interested in domestic and foreign policy will be able to hear a prominent leader speak on the topic of revolution and what it takes to get citizens energized in a positive manner.”