FilAm community leader chosen to address new lawyers of Northern California at admission ceremony

University of the Philippines Alumni Association San Francisco (UPAASF) President Sonia T. Delen, also Senior Vice President of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California, recently addressed the new lawyers who passed the California Bar Exam at the State Bar of California Admission Ceremony held at the Oakland Convention Center.  It was a great honor for the well-known Filipina American community leader to address the batch as a non-lawyer.


In her address, Delen quoted the late Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay who said, “Those who have less in life should have more in law.”

Delen expounded: “Today, as you know, many great Californians cannot afford essential legal help. Whatever you decide to do with your legal skills, I encourage you to think about those who cannot afford your help. I urge you to give back, devoting some of your time to help those who are voiceless, oppressed, and underserved. If you cannot give of your time, consider donating to legal aid organizations who do provide those services, or make a donation to the State Bar’s Justice Gap Fund.”

Delen continued: “Let’s continue to diversify the legal profession. Let’s foster a legal working environment that serves everyone regardless of class, color, religion, gender or the ability to pay. May you maximize your power and your opportunity to make an enormous difference in the lives of your clients, in your profession, and in your community.”

Filipino Marlon James Sales, postdoctoral fellow in Critical Translation Studies, co-leads the multi-disciplinary U-M team of scholars exploring diverse cultures of translation in the Midwest

Filipino co-leads University of Michigan scholars chosen to explore multilingual communities in the Midwest

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, December 18, 2019 – The Midwest, known as the “heartland of America” has been thought of as a homogeneous region. However, a group of University of Michigan (U-M) scholars have secured a $225,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to explore the Midwest as a multicultural, multilingual region shaped by successive waves of international and domestic migrations.

Focusing on the question of translation—broadly understood as complex mediations and negotiations between languages and cultures—the group of humanities scholars will organize a series of events under the Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminar program.

“We’ll be exploring diverse cultures of translation in various Midwestern sites,” said Yopie Prins, professor and chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. “Who translates what for which purpose and in whose interest? How has the region been defined by the interaction of multilingual communities?”


Filipino Marlon James Sales, postdoctoral fellow in Critical Translation Studies, leads the multi-disciplinary U-M team of scholars with Prins and Silke-Maria Weineck, professor of German and Comparative Literature. Collaborators include Kristin Dickinson, assistant professor of German Studies, Maya Barzilai, associate professor of Hebrew Literature and Judaic Studies, Benjamin Paloff, associate professor of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages, and Christi Merrill, associate professor of Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature.

Translation, the scholars stress, is not merely a process between national languages, but an everyday web of encounters between citizens who bring different backgrounds, expectations, fears, and dreams to the table. 

Entitled “Sites of Translation in the Multilingual Midwest,” the project will run for two academic years, starting in fall 2020 and culminating with a conference in spring 2022. It will bring together community organizations, as well as researchers and scholars from U-M and other Midwestern universities and colleges for a series of public events and seminars. Among the topics to be explored include U-M archives that preserve histories of translation in the Philippines and Filipino diaspora in Michigan. (The University Record/Lauren Love)

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