As the academic year draws to a close at the Center and a clear route forward out of the pandemic has come into view, two popular Spanish refrains come to mind: “No hay mal que dure cien años” and “No hay mal que por bien no venga.” These adages roughly translate to: “there is no evil that lasts a hundred years,” and “there’s nothing bad through which good doesn’t come.”  

If anything, the advent of the pandemic made us more resourceful and agile as we pushed forward with unprecedented experiments with technology that connected CHGS with students, educators, advocates, and scholars across the country and the globe.  

The lockdown also forced many of us to explore in detail the brave new world of online teaching where we discovered that digital learning platforms can offer extraordinary tools to enhance collaboration, dialogue, and creative forms of instruction.  

Despite being unable to meet on campus, CHGS affiliated faculty worked closely together to provide engaging, unique learning opportunities for UMN students, connecting them with experts from other institutions of higher education throughout the world.  

Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of Jennifer Hammer and Meyer Weinshel we also continued developing the Center’s digital collections and making these more relevant and accessible for use in research and teaching.

Above all, we have learned that the digital, which previously seemed to isolate people, allowed us to stay together, bridge distances, and make us stronger.

Thus, the new academic year will not be “back to normal” (or merely a return to the old settled ways). We will build upon these experiences, where traditional in-person learning embraces innovative methods of outreach and dissemination to uphold the Center’s mission.