English grad writes winning Spanish essay on Trudeau

York alumna Jordana Feldman (left) has won first prize for her essay, “Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Multiculturalism,” in a contest sponsored by the Latin American Cultural Centre of Canada.

The essay contest was held to celebrate the late prime minister’s commitment to multiculturalism. The prize was presented to Feldman by renowned classical guitarist Liona Boyd and cultural centre director David Palmer at a musical tribute to Trudeau held at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio Oct. 19. Feldman’s prizes include an all-expense-paid trip for two to Cuba and a tour of Havana-based publisher Casa de las Americas.

Feldman, who graduated this spring with an honours BA in English literature, wrote the essay in Spanish, though Spanish is not her first language.

Feldman says her essay is an exploration of how Trudeau’s vision for a global society transformed Canada into a social paradigm for a “global village.” She looked into the history of his political career, the impact his progressive policies on immigration and language had then, and the impact it continues to have now.

“I am a Canadian student, raised in an English-speaking household, [and I was] able to write this essay in Spanish, which is my third language after English and French,” said Feldman. “My paper is the key to this global society in that I am able to express my ideas in another language, and that this competition, sponsored by a Hispanic-Canadian foundation, allows students from any cultural background to submit their thoughts and writing.”

Feldman plans to pursue a master’s degree in English and Spanish literature.