Posts Tagged ‘chicago cultural alliance’

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swedish consul general on chicago culture

Wednesday 24 March, 2010

The Niagara Foundation supported this luncheon speech featuring Kerstin B. Lane, Consul General of Sweden & President of the Swedish American Museum Center, who talked mostly about the Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA).  The CCA was formed as a non-profit organization for teachers which grew out of the Cultural Diversity Alliance at the Center for Cultural Understanding & Change at the Field Museum 3 years ago.  It consists of 30 ethnic museums, cultural centers, & historical societies  in/around the city.  The organization has grown so much, they’ve had to hire 3 full-time staff.  Over 100 foreign languages are spoken among its members.  The CCA has a focus on ethnic identification with a pithy catchphrase “Leave no child inside.”  Their goal is not only to help immigrants hang onto their heritage, but also to leverage it in contemporary society.  They earned a grant from the Joyce Foundation for capacity building.  (A visit to the website indicates the $25,000 grant in 2009 is for “For salary support of its executive director” for 12 months)  They’re funded by their core & partner dues & individual donors.  They’re holding a fundraiser 29 March.  Click on the link above if you’d like to support them.

Q&A

  • When the Chinese cultural museum burned, the CCA played a big role in helping out & getting it rebuilt.
  • The Swedish, Balzekis, & Cambodian museums offer children’s activities, but many other museums do not have designated space for children.
  • Chicago is the only town in the US with a cultural alliance that brings together so many ethnic organizations in 1 city.

I requested the presentation from the Niagara Foundation, but heard nothing back from them.  While I’m all for learning as much as you can about foreign cultures before you go someplace, learning at home is still no substitute for being there & experiencing a new culture firsthand.  Personally, I was disappointed not to hear anything about Sweden.  I lived there for 6 months a number of years ago & haven’t been back since, so I was curious about what’s new there.  Ms. Lane was very focused on topic, so while I could have asked, I had the impression she had no interest in talking about anything but the CCA.

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