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Glendon’s Margarita Feliciano Named a Most Influential Hispanic Canadian


Margarita Feliciano, professor emerita in Glendon’s Hispanic Studies Department was named one of ten Hispanic Canadians who really make a difference, at a gala evening at the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on November 18th. Close to six hundred people attended the festive event, launching the second annual "10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians" awards celebration. Hosted by Scotiabank and the Toronto Stock Exchange, supporting organizations included major Canadian corporations with an interest in Hispanic affairs, such as the Canadian Council for the Americas (CCA),, Barrick Gold, Deloitte & Touche, Unilever, Jump TV, IBM, RBC, CIBC, BMO, Watt International, CGI, Torys LLP, Fraser Milner LLP, Mexicana Airlines, and others. The event was also supported by York University, University of Toronto and Canadian Business magazine.

Left: Margarita Feliciano accepts her award

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 twenty finalists from the pool of thirty-seven nominees. The ten 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 and the winners represent 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 six hundred people in attendance ranked the finalists and their votes were combined with those of the judges to determine the winners for 2008 (for a list of their names, please see the section below).

"Over the past forty 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."

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.

Winners of the “10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians” Awards in 2008 (in alphabetical order):

Dr. Bernardo Berdichewsky (Ph.D), 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

Margarita Feliciano (right) is a poet, critic and literary translator of Italian-Argentinian origin, living in Canada and supporting the Hispanic community since 1969. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications throughout Europe and North America. Her poetic works were the subject of a doctoral thesis, soon to be published by McGill University. She is professor emerita in Hispanic Studies at York University’s Glendon campus, as well as director of CCIE (Celebración Cultural del Idioma Español), an organization that has promoted the Spanish language, cinema, arts and culture in Canada since 1992.

In 2005, Feliciano founded ANTARES, Canada's first publishing house dedicated to the publication of literary works in Spanish and located on 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.

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 (LACS) and of the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC) at York University. She is past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (LTAC), and founding member of INDIGO - a trilingual literary magazine dedicated to promoting Hispanic literary works. Feliciano sits on the Advisory Board of the Mariano Elia Chair of Italo-Canadian Studies and is the organizer of the Stong College Heritage Lecture Series at York University.

Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on November 20, 2008