A graduate of Columbia University, Dr. Marie-Lise Gazarian is Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature, Director of the Graduate Program in Spanish at St. John's University, Vice President for the Northeast of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, and Moderator of Epsilon Kappa, St. John's Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi. In 2001 she was awarded the Order of Don Quijote by Sigma Delta Pi. She is co-editor with Mónica Christopher-Sánchez of Entre Rascacielos, the literary journal she founded in the fall of 2001 and which is published by St. John's University. The journal, which stands as a stepping board for young writers, is designed by Katerina Damskiy, an alumna of St. John’s. Dr. Gazarian has been instrumental in establishing the Gabriela Mistral Scholarship /Beca Gabriela Mistral at St. John's University, as part of the Graduate Program in Spanish. She was appointed Representative of the Fundación Premio Nobel Gabriela Mistral in New York and Cultural Ambassador of Ecuador in the United States.
Dr. Gazarian has had a long-standing experience in the promotion of Hispanic culture in the United States, for which she received the Al Mérito Cultural award from the Government of Spain, in 1981, and a Citation of Honor from the Honorable Claire Shulman, President of the Borough of Queens, in 1991 and 2000. She was awarded a Certificate of Special Recognition from the United States Congress in 1997 and a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from the Government of Ecuador in 2000. She was the recipient of the prestigious St. Vincent de Paul Teacher-Scholar Award for the year 2002 for her “continued excellence in teaching and scholarship.” In April 2003, she was awarded the Order of Alfonso X el Sabio by the King of Spain, one of the highest recognitions granted by the Spanish Government. In April 2004, she received from the Government of Chile the Order of Merit “Gabriela Mistral, ” named after the Chilean poet, a decoration granted to literary figures, artists and scholars.
She has been a member of the Administrative Committee of the Poet Laureate of the Borough of Queens since 1996, when the position of Poet Laureate was first created. She is a member of the PEN American Center, an association of writers working to advance literature, defend free expression and foster international literary fellowship. In particular, she is involved in the Committee promoting writing by prisoners. Every year, the PEN Prison Writing Program recognizes the work of writers imprisoned throughout the country. Exiled from our schools and society, inmates submit manuscripts in every form to one of the only forums of public expression for incarcerated writers.
Dr. Gazarian is the author of countless articles and over 14 books: Gabriela Mistral, la maestra de Elqui, 1973, 1992; Gabriela Mistral, the Teacher from the Valley of Elqui, 1974; Interviews with Latin American Writers, 1989, 1992; Interviews with Spanish Writers, 1991, 1992;Fernando Rielo: un diálogo a tres voces, 1995, 2000, with a translation into English in 2001;Ana María Matute: La voz del silencio, 1997; Henri Troyat, un artisan de la plume, 2003; Retratos en palabras. Entrevistas con 25 escritores del mundo hispánico, 2003; Carmen Conde de viva voz, in collaboration with Zenaida Gutiérrez-Vega, 1992; and she is the editor ofEntre rascacielos: Nueva York en nueve poetas, 1999 and Entre rascacielos / Amidst Skyscrapers, a bilingual anthology of Hispanic poets residing in the Greater New York area, 2000. She is also the founder and co-editor of Entre Rascacielos, a journal of creative writing published by St. John’s University.
Dr. Gazarian is a specialist in the works of Gabriela Mistral, Camilo José Cela, Carmen Conde , Ana María Matute, and Elena Poniatowska. An expert in the art of the interview, she has interviewed some of the most famous writers from both Spain and Latin America on CBS, ABC and Channel 47. She has also published interviews in books and literary journals.
She teaches the following courses: Spanish 109 (Spanish Stylistic: Workshop in Creative Writing); Spanish 118 (Contemporary Spanish America); Spanish 237 (Spanish-American Modernism); Spanish 238 (Spanish Women Writers from Spain); Spanish 239 (Women Writers of Spanish America); Spanish 248 (Indian Themes in Spanish-American Literature); Spanish 250 (The Spanish-American Novel from the 1950s Onward); Spanish 305 (Seminar on Hispanic Literature); Spanish 317 (Gabriela Mistral, the Poet and the Prose Writer); and Spanish 323 (Nobel Prize Writers from the Hispanic World).