THOUSAND OAKS : Cal Lutheran Celebrating Latino Culture

Whirling flamenco dancers, Spanish movies and Mexican politics are all on campus at Cal Lutheran University this week as the Festival de Encuentros celebrating Latino culture begins.

The festival, which translates loosely to an encounter, or bringing together, is part of the university's effort to promote multiculturalism, officials said.

"The purpose is to highlight the various Latino communities in Ventura County," festival Chairwoman Rosa Moreno said. "It's really a bringing together of two worlds, a chance to share our traditions."

Some faculty members require attendance by students in lectures, theater performances and movies. But Moreno said most students are more than willing to participate.

"After they attend one event, then they realize it's the best thing they've done all week and they go back for more," she said.

All festival events are free and open to the public.

"We want people to see some of the great contributions Latinos have made to culture and politics," Moreno said.

Armando Navarro, professor of ethnic studies and a member of the Ernesto Galarza Think Tank at UC Riverside, will lecture on the Chiapas uprising in Mexico and immigration laws at 10 a.m. Friday in the Preus-Brandt Forum on campus.

On Wednesday, the Misa Flamenco trio performed in the chapel, and tonight Fuego Flamenco, featuring dancer and director Roberto Amaral, take to the stage in Preus-Brandt Forum. The performance begins at 8, but Moreno advises people to come early.

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