Glendon professor named one of 10 top Hispanic Canadians

Margarita Feliciano, a York professor emerita in Glendon’s Hispanic Studies Department, was named one of 10 Hispanic Canadians who really made a difference, at the second annual 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians awards celebration Nov. 18 at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Feliciano is a poet, critic and literary translator of Italian-Argentinian origin living in Canada where she has supported the Hispanic community since 1969. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications throughout Europe and North America and are the subject of a doctoral thesis soon to be published by McGill University. She is director of Celebración Cultural del Idioma Español (CCIE), an organization which has promoted Spanish language, cinema, arts and culture in Canada since 1992.

“Over the past 40 years, the Spanish-speaking community in Canada has progressively become an important presence in the socio-cultural makeup of this country,” said Feliciano. “This, of course, did not happen on its own. It is the result of the effort of many individuals, who have been contributing to the community over the years in many and meaningful ways. I feel deeply honoured to be counted in this group.”

In 2005, Feliciano founded Antares, Canada’s first publishing house dedicated to the publication of literary works in Spanish and located at the Glendon campus. To date, she has translated seven books (six on poetry and one on the Hindu religion). Her research focuses on myths, poetry and translation.

Left: Margarita Feliciano giving her thank you speech at the awards ceremony

Close to 600 people attended the festive award ceremony, hosted by Scotiabank and the Toronto Stock Exchange and supported by many major organizations, including York University.

Journalists and executives from The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Business, CBC, FOCAL, Canadian Hispanic Congress, Hispanic Press Association of Canada and five winners from last year’s program selected 20 finalists from a pool of 37 nominees. The 10 winners were chosen by the attendees at the awards ceremony, with two awards reserved for entrepreneurs and the other eight for other role models.

Nominations for this year’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians were submitted from across the country with winners representing a highly educated, fast-growing demographic. Canada’s 750,000 Hispanics are the country’s third-largest minority group and their influence is on the rise. The 600 people in attendance ranked the finalists. Their votes were combined with those of the judges to determine the winners for 2008.

Those present at the awards gala were also the first to learn the results of the eagerly awaited "Profile of the Hispanic Community in Canada," a report based on the last census conducted by Statistics Canada in 2006 and presented by Rosemary Bender, director general of StatsCan’s social and demographic branch. This study provides a detailed description of the Hispanic community, including aspects such as country of origin, geographic distribution in Canada, educational and income levels, and labour trends.

 Here are the winners of the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians Awards:

  • Bernardo Berdichewsky, research
  • Johnny Campuzano, law enforcement
  • Esmeralda Enrique, dance
  • Margarita Feliciano, literacy
  • Mario Guilombo, human rights
  • Oscar A. Jofre Jr., entrepreneurship
  • Mario Perez, entrepreneurship
  • Hon. Guillermo Rishchynski, diplomacy
  • Guillermo Silva-Marin, opera
  • Eduardo Urueña, media

More about Margarita Feliciano 

Feliciano studied romance languages and literature at the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses, and at the University of Florence in Italy. She has also specialized in Brazilian literature. Feliciano is the former coordinator of Glendon’s Certificate in Spanish/English Translation.

A tireless volunteer and advocate for the community, her work includes being the coordinator of the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program and of the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean at York. She is past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and founding member of INDIGO – a trilingual literary magazine dedicated to promoting Hispanic literary works. Feliciano sits on the Advisory Board of the Mariano A. Elia Chair of Italian-Canadian Studies and is the organizer of the Stong College Heritage Lecture Series at York.

Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny