Written by Kevin Dunne.
Being the small college that it is, one might not expect Greenville College to be a hub of culture and activity. However, Greenville has a truly diverse and enriched campus. On a campus with active multicultural events, the Intensive English Language Program through Beida Jade Bird, and various organizations, the diversity of the faculty and staff may be overlooked. One faculty member in particular, Artist-in-Residence Jorge Casas, is the epitome of Greenville College’s strong voice in the world.
Last week, Julio Iglesias, whom Casas plays with, was invited to a conference in Equatorial Guinea for a small handful of African presidents. Casas said that, “[The presidents] hired Julio Iglesias to perform a concert for them and their dignitaries, wives, etc. in the capital, which is a small island called Malabo.” While it was never revealed why the convention was held, Casas suspected that the event was just to serve as a relaxing vacation getaway. At an after party at the Hotel Sofitel, Casas was fortunate enough to mingle with some of the prominent figures. He described the hotel as, “very modern and comparable to any 5 star hotel anywhere.”
Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, is extremely impoverished and many of the people speak Spanish, as well as their native language. A very small upper class holds onto a majority of the country’s wealth and power. Regarding the social landscape, Casas commented, “I saw very little poverty, because we weren’t taken anywhere besides the hotel and the venue, which were both modern, state of the art places. The rest of Equatorial Guinea, however, is poverty stricken. We knew this from researching it and from some people who told us. It seemed this island we were in was set up to have conventions, etc., and keep the condition of living hidden.” Casas also described the people as, “very friendly and noble.”
It is exciting to see a small school like Greenville College be so active in the world and bring so much diversity and culture to the table. We are even more fortunate as a college to have such people like Jorge Casas on faculty.