Dr. Pedro Meléndez
Dr. Pedro Meléndez joined the department of Spanish and Hispanic studies at Concordia in 1988. Throughout his tenure, he taught almost every course the department offers from beginning levels to 400-level literature courses. As a native Chilean, his work gave students firsthand insights in the Contemporary Latin American Culture and Latin American Historical and Cultural Perspectives courses he taught.
His area of specialization in contemporary Spanish-American narrative introduced students in his classes to 20th century narrative fiction by key figures in the Latin American intelligentsia, notably "Boom" and "Post-Boom” writers. While on sabbaticals and during summers in Chile, his research involved interviews with working writers which were published in the arts sections of several Latin American periodicals.
He is currently the editor of “Alicanto: A Journal of Literature, Linguistics and Education” published by the University of Atacama in Copiapo, Chile. His work includes the translation from Spanish to English of a novel titled “Illusion in Caldera” by Chilean author Pedro Serrazi, published in the United States. Meléndez has been the recipient of several awards for his work promoting contemporary literature in his native Chile.
Outside of the classroom, he led May Seminars to Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. His fluent Portuguese was an asset to travel in Brazil and as a member of the committee that worked to establish Mar e Floresta, the Portuguese village at Concordia Language Villages.
Beginning in 1991, he taught Mexican-American contemporary literature for eight summer sessions as the lead literature teacher in the Mexico Summer Study Program, a summer school program held at the University of the Americas in Mexico City. He participated in video conferences with the same university on topics in contemporary issues in Latin America.
Meléndez is also an accomplished musician and formed a student group on campus that specialized in Latin American folk music.
“His office is next door to mine and I often hear beginning students searching for the words in Spanish to communicate their thoughts while Pedro patiently waits for them to succeed. I also hear the senior literature students engage in fluent conversations,” says Dr. Viann Pederson de Castañeda, professor of Spanish and Hispanic studies. “He has touched the lives of students and colleagues in the 24 years he has served the college."