News & Events

Each year the department hosts a number of events and activities from regional conferences on modern language scholarship and international literatures, to theatrical and musical presentations, as well as the University's Annual Human Rights Film Series. Click the links below to learn more about past and upcoming events:

2019 Human Rights Film Series

The University's 12th annual Human Rights Film Series offers a line-up of five films that try to inspire dialogues about some of the most critical human rights issues facing today's world.

Fall 2018 News:

Laura Hoffer (B.A. Modern Languages and Literaratures, 2018) 

Watch as Laura Hoffer enjoys not one but two baguettes in the beautiful French city of Tours!  Laura is currently participating in the Teaching Assistant Program in France, organized by the French Embassy in the U.S.  If you, too, are interested in spending a year living, working and eating (!) in France, don't hesitate to contact Dr. Agin (

Laura Hoffer in Tours

Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Moves to New Home

Our departmental office is no longer located on the 2nd floor of Fisher.  We're now in College Hall 539.

Spring 2018 News:

Dr. Osa-Melero receives Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award!

Congratulations to Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero for receiving the 2018 Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award in the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts! A reception and awards ceremony will take place on April 18th at 2:00 pm in the Genesius Theater . Congratulations again!

Dr. Osa-Melero to give talk at UNC-Chapel on Community Engaged Teaching

Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero gave a lecture on community-engaged learning in the foreign language classroom on April 5 at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  More information about her talk and ongoing research can be found here:

Former French student teaching in France

Recent alumna, Jen Rauch (B.A. Psychology, minor in French), is currently completing her second semester in the Teaching Assistantship Program in France (TAPIF).  Jen has spent the last academic year working as an English-language "assistante" in schools in the city of Marseille.  After completing the TAPIF, she plans to continue her education and research in psycholinguistics, language acquisition and translation.  Jen is the third Duquesne student to participate in the Teaching Assistantship Program in France, which is organized by the French Embassy in the United States.  More information about the program can be found at

Spring 2018 Events:

Reading to Play, Playing to Read! Final Performance: Thursday, April 19th!!

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is at the forefront of the University's commitment to community engaged research and teaching.  As a part of this, we are proud to announce the final performance of the award-winning program "Reading to Play, Playing to Read," which brings together Duquesne students and children from the Latino community attending Beechwood Elementary School.  If you want to see how the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is making a difference, don't miss this event!


Donizetti's The Elixir of Love

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is sponsoring a trip to see Donizetti's great comic opera, The Elixir of Love (L'elisir d'amore).  In conjunction with our night at the opera, the Department is also organizing a conversation with Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Shannon Jennings. 

Opera poster

That's Amore!  

Did you ever wonder how different countries celebrate February 14th, that holiday of love, otherwise known here in the United States as Valentine's Day?  That was the question that students in the classes of Drs. Loretta Fernàndez and Carla Lucente studied.  Traditions were examined in various countries, cards were written in different languages and, apparently, some tiramisù was prepared and eaten!  

that's amore

2018 Human Rights Film Series 

The 2018 Human Rights Film Series features award-winning films that focus on critical human rights issues.  All screenings are held in 105 College Hall at 7pm. 
Wednesday, January 17 - 13th   
Wednesday, January 24 - Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power 
Wednesday, January 31 - Constructing the Terrorist Threat
Wednesday, February 7 - Human Flow

Fall 2017 Events:

El Dia de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead is an ancient tradition celebrated in all of Latin America from October to November.  Families remember their departed loved ones and celebrate their lives.  Please be sure to join us for this unique holiday! We will have a craft-making workshop, a discussion in Spanish, and a communal altar installation!  

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Army Corps of Engineers Discussion

On Wednesday, September the 27th, Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero and Carmen Alicia Martínez from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, were invited as guest speakers to the Army Corps of Engineers in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Their talk focused on their community-engaged program Reading to Play Playing to Read and its benefits to the Hispanic community and the Duquesne Spanish majors and minors. 


"Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype"

On Tuesday, October 3rd, at 7pm, we will be continuing the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with a screening of Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype.  There will be a brief presentation and discussion to follow the screening.  

Spring 2017 Events:

"Reading to Play and Playing to Read"

Continuing the tradition, students in MLSP 302W (Spanish Conversation and Composition II) and MLSP 280 (Spanish for Healthcare Professionals) and students from Beechwood Elementary School presented a play of the "Reading to Play and Playing to Read" at the Libermann Hall on April 11 as part of Duquesne's community-engagement programs. The play was guided by Professors Dr. Lucia Osa-Melero and Carmen Martinez.


Big Read Kick-Off Event

Taiko drumming by the Pittsburgh Taiko and the Japanese folk songs by Keiko Rushlander along with the special Children's Chorus gave a lively performance at the Genesius Theater on 3-16.


Faculty Spotlight

Our department was thrilled to learn that Professors of Dr. Lucia Osa-Melero and Carmen Martinez received this year's Creative Teaching Award from CTE for their project "Reading to Play, Playing to Read" in partnership with Casa San José. Their dedication has enriched the academic scope of the department and the learning experience of our students. It has also benefited our community partner, Casa San José, and its effort to provide a safe, constructive and beneficial framework for the integration of its member families into a new and different environment. Congratulations!

Big Read Movie Night "Farewell to Manzanar"


Movie night on 3-22 at Student Union: screening of the 1976 film Farewell to Manzanar, a story based on the memoir of Jeanne Wakatsuki and her family during their imprisonment at the Manzanar concentration camp.

I thought the movie provided valuable insight into the lives of Japanese-Americans post-pearl harbor. I found myself thinking throughout the movie what makes someone American. In the opening scenes Jeanne Wakatsuki, the narrator briefly talks about her family. She says, her grandmother is the only one that can still speak Japanese and her family has adopted American customs more so than there Japanese heritage. After the pearl-harbor attack the viewer finds her father burning pictures and most importantly, the Japanese flag which represents the destruction of her Japanese culture in order to assimilate to American culture in order to stay safe from persecution. I feel that Jeanne's family is as American as anyone but because of her physical attributes she was seen as the enemy. After watching the film, I still ask myself what it means to be American if, after assimilating into American culture, Jeanne's family still faced persecution.                ~by Jordan Chaplin, School of Business

Big Read Project

Duquesne University is one of just 77 non-profits selected to receive a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant to host a Big Read project. The Big Read project invites readers from the Duquesne University community and the public to participate in reading J.Otsuka's "When the Emperor Was Divine."
University Librarian Dr. Sara Baron states that "This award gives Duquesne an opportunity to host a series of events related to When the Emperor Was Divine. Book discussions will spark conversations about the novel's themes, both looking back at a historically turbulent time in America as well as examining the world today. Together, we will read this book to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves." As part of the project, various educational and cultural events and activities relevant to the novel such as a Haiku Workshop, an Origami Workshop and a Japanese tea ceremony. The author Ms.Otsuka will visit campus on March 30 to discuss her book. A detailed list of the program's events is available at 


Haiku Workshop on 2-15                                             Tea Cremony with Mrs.Yoko Motoyama on 2-28


I think that a benefit of the Haiku conventions is the restrictions that it puts on the poem itself. The Haiku poem forces the writer to pick a specific topic and include specific language in each line. I enjoyed the confinements that this format placed on my writing. Every word needed to be strategically chosen. Every syllable counts when you have a limited number to work with. Haiku poems give the writer an opportunity to sit back and think about the relationship between man and nature. Waka poems, similar to Haikus, are traditionally about nature and the changing seasons. This exercise was a great moment for me to sit back and think about the nature surrounding me. Here in America, we tend to be too busy to stop and smell the roses. I enjoyed writing a waka poem for a class assignment. I felt that the strict lines I needed to follow within the structure of a waka poem forced me to really think about what I wanted to say and what words were most important to include.                                                                                                                                        ~ by Regina Sandora, School of Education

The aspect that strikes me the most is the silence that occurs during the tea ceremony. Throughout the whole process of the tea ceremony, the important things are conveyed without words by actions. Initially, I believed that the tea ceremony would be filled with conversion, but the tea ceremony seems to be a time of reflections and mediation for both the guest and the host. The guest learns about the host by his actions and not by his words.                                                    ~by Kevin Ngo, School of Pharmacy

The aspect of the tea ceremony that strikes me the most is when you crawl through the small entrance, Nijiriguchi, to enter the tea room. This signifies that you are forgetting your pride at the door and bowing down low in a matter of respect upon entering the tea room. I thought this part of the ceremony was most striking because I would not have thought to associate the small door with respect.

                                                                          ~ by Maria Corigliano, School of Business

Students of Japanese Culture, 206-55 taught by Ms.Keiko Rushlander, have been taking part in this unique project during the Spring semester.   

"Reading to Play, Playing to Read" made it on the ACTFL homepage!

The program has been recognized as globally engaged through the ACTFL Global Engagement Initiative review process in 2016. Please check out the website below.