The MEXICO Report
By Susie Albin-Najera
On Saturday, May 21, 2011 and on the heels of returning from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival to represent his film “Miss Bala” (produced by Gael Garcia Bernal & Diego Luna of Canana Films), award-winning actor and humanitarian Jose Yenque will receive a Doctorate of Fine Arts Honorary Degree from Cal State University San Marcos for his years of dedication to the field of arts and humanity. On this day, he will be dedicating it to his inspiration, Israel Hernandez of Casa Hogar Sion Orphanage in Tijuana, a child he has mentored for the last nine years.
Honorary Doctorates are given to people who have distinguished themselves in their professions and who have demonstrated excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, nation or world. Past recipients include John F. Kennedy, Nicholas Cage, Nelson Mandela, Rita Moreno and Luis Valdez.
“I’m very excited because an Honorary Doctorate is like the Academy Award of the academic world,” commented Jose. “This degree represents a symbol to youth as a way to create possibilities and change in the world. I aim to set a positive example.”
Growing up in New York, Jose was inspired by his mom, actress Teresa Yenque, early on to join the world of acting and theatre and found it to be a positive experience at a time he needed it most. When Jose moved to California to pursue television and film, he was cast in Steven Soderberg’s Academy Award winning film,“Traffic” opposite Benicio Del Toro and Michael Douglas.
While on location in Mexico, Jose was exposed to the beauty of Mexico and discovered some areas needing attention. More importantly, he discovered what would be the base and core of his humanitarian work for the rest of his life, at Casa Hogar Sion Orphanage in Tijuana, Baja California.
“I met Israel Hernandez at Casa Hogar when he was nine years old and he reminded me of myself when I was 13,” recalled Jose. “I mentored this young man and many others including Lorenzo who told me that he wanted to be a doctor when I first met him”.
Israel is now 18 years old and will graduate high school in Tijuana on June 29th. Jose will attend his graduation. Lorenzo started at the University to become a doctor five months ago.
Jose is working on a getting a special one-day visa for Israel Hernandez so he can attend his special doctorate ceremony on Saturday, May 21.
“During my acceptance speech, I will dedicate this honor to them and all of the hopeful children out there that he represents,” said Jose. “These teens represent the next generation, a generation of hope.”
Jose Yenque has more than a decade of experience working successfully in film and television, and is the recipient of numerous industry awards including the SAG and the Alma Awards for Soderberg’s Academy Award winning “Traffic”, HBO’s “The Blue Diner”, Academy Award winning short film, “Wednesday Afternoon” and an Imagen Award for Lifetime Network’s thriller, “Between” opposite Poppy Montgomery.
Dedicated to youth enrichment and giving back to the community, Jose is also the founder of Tela Sofa, (The East L.A. Society of Film & Arts), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing arts education to inner city youth. The organization offers drama and filmmaking classes free of charge for youth, giving them empowering tools for self-expression and self-discovery.
Watch Jose Yenque in action at Casa Hogar in Tijuana, Mexico:
Watch a recent video interview with American Latino’s LatiNation:
Media are invited to attend the ceremony on Saturday, May 21, 2011 to document the work and dedication of Jose Yenque. California State University San Marcos is located at 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, CA 92096-0001. Phone: (760) 750-4000.