Panamanian icon Rubén Blades has spent his life and career traversing the worlds of music, politics, and beyond, and his latest adventure is taking him into the universe of academia.
New York University has just announced that the legendary salsero is the first Scholar-in-Residence at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year, Blades will be involved in various academic programs, events, and research projects focused on creating social change through music. He will also collaborate with faculty on diversity initiatives with the hopes of recruiting more professors of color into the university. The initiative falls under the university’s Faculty First-Look program, which NYU describes as “a mechanism to train, prepare, and recruit more faculty of color into higher education.”
Blades will also be meeting with Latinx students and uplifting the Latinx community at NYU. He is expected to share his experiences and expertise in the classroom. “It will be a privilege to connect with students who have such passion for the causes they believe in,” he said in a statement. “I hope my experiences can help students and other NYU community members consider the broader implications of inequality in Latin America — and the wider world — to harness energy and ideas for the social good.”
An expansive documentary on the Panamanian salsero, titled Ruben Blades is Not My Name, was just announced as Panama’s entry for the Oscars in the foreign-language category, and will be released in the U.S. on HBO next year.
Blades will kick off the residency with an in-depth, retrospective conversation on October 29, where he will share his legacy as an activist, politician, and musician (Blades served as Panama’s Minister for Tourism and ran for president in his home country in 1994). You can RSVP for the event starting October 1 here.