Festiba-LogoEDINBURG —The University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) is proud to present the Ninth Annual Festival of International Books and Arts, known most commonly by its acronym, FESTIBA.
The four-day regional event aims to promote literacy within the South Texas community, while celebrating the arts and humanities. It will run from March 19 to March 23.
FESTIBA, created in 2006, brings together the most outstanding scholars, authors and educators in their respective disciplines to contribute their expertise and foster an intellectual inquiry and exchange in hopes of increasing interest in reading, improving the success of students in secondary and postsecondary education and creating educational opportunities for at-risk youth in rural communities.
FESTIBA also engages the community through free and open-to-the-public events, including book distributions, poetry readings, lectures, scholarly research presentations, artistic exhibits, a mariachi competition and concert, as well as performances in dance, theatre and film.
“Our community is facing many literacy challenges, including language barriers, a lack of interest in the written word and the unfortunate disparities that often arise in an economically disadvantaged and underserved area,” said Jessica Salinas, UTPA Executive Director of External Relations. “FESTIBA seeks to collaboratively bridge those gaps. Literacy is not just about being able to decode a word or read a text. It’s about the ability to comprehend and promote critical thinking.”
This year’s theme for FESTIBA is “Creating Innovations in Education” with a focus on STEAM, the integration of the arts to the science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM).
“For the past few years, STEM programs have been heavily promoted and widely accepted, since mostly everyone can agree that the need for workers with high-tech skills in America is in high demand,” said Dahlia Guerra, Dean of UTPA’s College of Arts and Humanities. “But the newest buzzword going around in STEM education is STEAM, which is an acronym for the same thing, but with the arts included.”
Keeping that in mind, FESTIBA organizers invited Graham Toms, a 3-Dimensional educational specialist, to be a keynote speaker at FESTIBA’s GEAR UP Days. During GREAP UP Days, which will take place on Thursday and Friday, eight-hundred Region One ninth graders and 200 parents are invited to the University campus. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Toms, a former Disney Animation Instructor, as well as other guest speakers, including Emmy Award-winning Producer Steven Escobar and Sarah Rodriguez Pratt, author and owner of Quail School Press.
FESTIBA’s Librarians and Educators Day will run concurrently with GEAR UP Days at UTPA on Friday. Nearly 180 librarians and educators will converge at UTPA to network and learn about the latest initiatives and programs available to improve students’ literacy skills. During Librarians and Educators Day, attendees will be able to observe the Congressional Roundtable on STEAM Literacy, hosted by Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15), which brings together renowned leaders in government and education to discuss the importance of fostering literacy from the onset of early childhood.
FESTIBA culminates in two different activities, both open and free to the public. On Friday, the community is invited to attend the Jardín del Arte Community Arts Festival to be held at the Edinburg City Hall Courtyard from 5 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, FESTIBA will host a Mariachi Concert featuring Mariachi Sol de Mexico de José Hernandez and UTPA’s Mariachi Aztlán at the UTPA Fieldhouse at 6:30 p.m.
For a complete list of events, visit http://community.utpa.edu/festiba/. For more information, contact Naxiely Lopez at [email protected] or call (956) 223-5417.

Author: Editor


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2 Responses to FESTIBA Press Release 2014

  1. Editor says:

    Some of our members have as well. I see you have been very active since graduating. I hope our readers have discovered your latest book.
    Here’s a review for “The Boy Made of Lightning” by Steve Bennett at the San Antonio Express-News.

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