Press Release


College-level courses for low-income Spanish-speakers will be offered in Pilsen.

CHICAGO The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for the Spanish Language Odyssey Project (El Proyecto Odisea), sponsored by the IHC with support from the University of Chicago, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Bard College in New York, and Gads Hill Center in Pilsen. This course offers a free, intensive, college-level introduction to Academic Writing, Philosophy, Literature, and History for low-income adult Spanish speakers. The course is offered at no charge to students, including tuition, books, CTA fare, and on-site baby-sitting.

Applications are available online, at Gads Hill Center in Pilsen (1919 West Cullerton Street), and at the Illinois Humanities Council office in the Loop (17 North State St., Suite 1400). The application deadline is December 3, 2007. Late applications may be considered at the discretion of the Coordinator.

To apply by mail, please send your completed application to: Irena Cajkova, Illinois Humanities Council, 17 North State St., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60602.3296. You may, send your application as an attachment via email as well. Selected applicants will be contacted for an interview.

For more information, call El Proyecto Odisea Coordinator Irena Cajkova at 312.375.2541 or visit

Classes are taught exclusively in Spanish by faculty from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. The course will run from the January to June, meeting on Mondays and Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Gads Hill Center.

Founded on the premise that engagement with the humanities can offer a way out of poverty, The Odyssey Project offers instruction in humanistic disciplines. The English language Odyssey Project is in its eighth year in Chicago, while its Spanish language counterpart, El Proyecto Odisea, is in its fifth.

The Odyssey Project is about liberal education to make people free, and we believe that engaging the humanities can develop people’s natural capacities to think critically and creatively in ways that can help them improve their own lives and the lives of their families and communities,” explains Amy Thomas Elder, Illinois Odyssey Project Director.

Syllabi and reading lists are roughly equivalent to those a student might encounter in a first-year humanities survey course at a first-rate university. The UNAM will grant a certificate of achievement to any student who completes the course, and Bard College will grant college credit to those students who successfully complete all the course requirements.

Curriculum: The course includes four classes: Academic Writing and Philosophy in Term I, and Literature and History in Term II.

Students: Low-income Spanish speakers age 18 and older with a desire to further their education. Students should be able to read and write in Spanish and should have finished elementary school (Primaria= 6th grade).


  • Academic Writing: Maria Cecilia Lozada, Senior Lecturer, Department of Romance Languages and Literature, University of Chicago
  • Philosophy: Daniel Lorca, Lecturer, Department of Romance Languages, University of Chicago.
  • Literature: Elisa Martí-López, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Northwestern University.
  • History: Emilio Kourí, Associate Professor of Latin American History, University of Chicago

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.


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