Madeleine Lopez will start work as the Director of Brandeis’ Intercultural Center (ICC) this school year. Lopez has extensive experience in both high school and higher education, as well as in advising undergraduate students. Before coming to Brandeis, Lopez served as the founding director of the Cultural Awareness Center at Hamilton College. Prior to that, she has lectured at the college level in multiple subjects, among them Latino and Latina History, History of Multicultural Education and History of Bilingual Education. She has taught at the high school level and provided professional development for high school teachers in urban settings. “As an educator, I strive to provide a holistic learning experience for students. I teach and advise students while also working with them on programming and social justice issues,” Lopez said.
Building Hamilton College’s Cultural Education Center made Lopez a prime candidate to take over Brandeis’ own Intercultural Center. The Cultural Education Center, now known as the Days-Massolo Center, also includes Hamilton College’s Womyn’s Center and their LGBTQ Resource Center. Their main goal is to serve as a resource for exploring diversity and to host events and activities that “create sustained dialogue across difference and promotes mutual understanding, appreciation and inclusion,” as their website states. Lopez hopes that the same can be done at Brandeis. She said, “This year will serve as a time to reinvigorate the ICC’s mission and space as a ‘brave place’ where conversations of contemporary and historical forms of inequality, racism and violence are discussed.”
The ICC is an umbrella organization that consists of 16 student groups whose goal is to “create a haven of respect, education and celebration that aims to foster growth and and awareness of the myriad cultures of Brandeis University,” as stated on their website. They provide programs that aim to celebrate diversity and give students opportunities to discuss and collaborate with each other.
The ICC is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, which Lopez describes as a significant milestone for the center. “The historical roots of the intercultural movement emphasized the commonalities across different cultural groups … Equal importance was placed on learning of shared histories of marginalization and exclusion,” she said.
Lopez sees the anniversary as a great opportunity for Brandeisians to “celebrate and learn about our different cultures and experiences.”
Lopez is excited for a year ahead of learning and cultural celebration. She said, “The Brandeis community is fortunate to have a facility and staff dedicated to cultural enrichment and social justice. We welcome the entire campus community to not only celebrate but also learn.”