In 2019, the CGEE representative at NAFSA will be Director of CGEE in Mexico and Global Faculty member, Dr. Ann Lutterman-Aguilar.
Sophie is from Queens, NY, and joined CGEE after completing a fellowship in Mendoza, Argentina. As a 100 Projects for Peace Fellow with the Kathryn W. Davis Foundation, she designed and implemented an orientation program for study abroad students in Mendoza to help foster intercultural friendships which she believe is central to fostering deep engagement in local culture. Before moving to Argentina, Sophie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Amherst College. She is passionate about helping individuals create community in spaces that initially seem unfamiliar. This led her to found an organization for first generation college students at Amherst and then develop a program for students abroad. She is excited to get to the know the many diverse communities in Mexico and work alongside a wonderful group of colleagues.
Augsburg CGEE currently has two job openings for International Resident Assistants (IRA’s).
What do IRA’s do?
The International Resident Assistant promotes a healthy living/learning environment for semester students and participants in short-term educational seminars and assist in the operation of all educational programs. Proficiency in both English and Spanish is a must for both! These positions are suited well for recently graduated undergrads. See full job descriptions and apply at:
MEXICO IRA POSITION: Application deadline is November 1st.
CENTRAL AMERICA IRA POSITION: Application deadline is October 17th.
On behalf of CGEE Mexico staff and Mexico Site Director Ann Lutterman-Aguilar, please consider donating to our earthquake relief campaign.
As many of you know, Augsburg has had presence in Cuernavaca, Mexico for over 35 years. Many Augsburg students along with other college students, non-profit organizations, businesses and others, have participated in our life changing programs year after year. Each experience had by our participants includes short stays with host families in the region. These families have expressed generosity, love, and support in hosting students throughout the years.
Many of our host families in the rural parts of Morelos were hit hard by the September 19th earthquake. These families and communities have lost homes in the devastation and are working to rebuild their lives.
Please consider donating to Ann’s campaign to help raise money for these families and communities in need. Even a simple $10 donation or a “share” on a facebook page can go a long way to helping those communities in need that have been so kind and generous with our students over the years.
(*Note: all host families, staff, and current students are safe, none were physically harmed during the earthquake. Our study center in Cuernavaca was not damaged. You can follow our blog and/or social media pages for updates.)
A special message from Ann Lutterman-Aguilar, CGEE-Mexico Site Director:
Despite the terrible tragedies caused by the recent earthquakes in Mexico, people are recovering amazingly quickly and demonstrating the incredible warmth and generosity of the Mexican spirit. Small mom and pop businesses have been giving out food and supplies to survivors of the earthquake, as have hardware stores and other businesses. Almost everywhere you go, you see people who have set up relief collection centers in their homes, and people going to drop off donations. Many schools are serving as shelters for people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the earthquake, and our state university is helping to coordinate relief efforts throughout the state. The government has opened up toll roads and made them free so that people can travel more easily and inexpensively during this time. Even a lot of banks have stopped charging a fee to withdraw money regardless of whether it is your bank. These are just a few of the endless examples of the overwhelming love and solidarity being shared by ordinary citizens and all kinds of institutions.
The international response to the earthquake has also been tremendous. On Friday, I witnessed the arrival of 15 Canadian women rescue workers with their rescue dogs. They received a huge round of applause everywhere they went in the earthquake because people could identify them as a result of the vests that both the women and dogs were wearing. And the Canadians aren’t alone. People from the United States and Cuba and all over the world have been helping out in person and through donations. As a result, students and customized program participants have an incredible opportunity to learn from a wide range of people about what schools, social workers, activists, ordinary citizens, governments, and businesses do to respond to emergency situations.
Our current semester students were with their host families during the last (and worst) earthquake here last Tues., September 19, and they and their Mexican families were all fine. In addition, the staff in our study center are all fine, and no one lost a home or has had to evacuate, although a few staff members have some damage to their homes. We are among the lucky ones, as are all of our current host families and all of the host families in the neighborhood of Plan de Ayala.
While lives and homes were lost in Cuernavaca, most of the largest tragedies took place in the southeastern part of the state of Morelos, closest to the epicenter of the quake. Towns such as Jojutla and Axopian and Tenancingo were devastated. Ixtlilco el Grande, where many CGEE students (especially in the Social Work program) have participated in rural homestays lost at least 15 homes, some of which belong to former host families. Those who haven’t been to Ixtlilco but have studied in Mexico may have learned about the circulatory migration between that town and Minneapolis from Augsburg adjunct professor Raziel Valino, who is completing her doctoral dissertation on that topic. She reports that the host families are physically fine and recovering from the trauma. Even as they work to rebuild their own homes, they are helping out the other towns in their region that have suffered greater loss. Again, the show of solidarity is very inspiring.
Amatlan de Quetzalcoatl, where numerous CGEE groups have had homestays, also suffered from the earthquake. Like Ixtlilco, Amatlan did not suffer the loss of lives, but numerous homes were destroyed, including that of elderly farmer Dona Irene Ramirez, who has often given talks about her heirloom corn and her views of GMO corn.
If you have already donated to earthquake relief in Mexico, thank you. If you haven’t and would like to, there are many great organizations that could use your help. The following link provides a few great suggestions for how to help: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/20/reader-center/donate-mexico-earthquake-.html.
CGEE-Mexico is currently trying to compile a list of host families who lost homes in Amatlan and Ixtlilco that we can share so that you can know how your former host families are if you have not already been in touch with them. We are also hoping to set up a mechanism to channel funds directly to the CGEE host families in Amatlan and Ixtlilco who lost their homes. Therefore, please stay tuned for updates.
CGEE-Mexico Site Director
UPDATE: To donate to our campaign for host families, please visit the go fund me page at: https://www.gofundme.com/earthquake-relief-cgee-host-family.
We have confirmed that all CGEE staff and students are safe following the earthquake. Alumni, friends, and family – thank you all for you thoughts of love and support! We will be posting more updates here on our blog as they become available.
This is a guest blog post from Augsburg College student, and recipient of the Mary Witt Scholarship, Samantha C. During spring break 2017, Samantha was able to join the short-term program “Food, Justice & Sustainability in Mexico”. Thank you for the reflection!
See. Reflect. Act. We visited the women of Luz Y Libertad halfway through our trip and spent only a few hours with them and reflecting on those conversations, yet these three words sum up my all of my experiences in Mexico. Each organization and community member we spoke with all lived and worked by these words whether or not they did so intentionally: they saw problems in their community, brainstormed creative ways to address those problems and made their solutions a reality. When I think back specifically to our visit with Luz Y Libertad, they spoke of seeing the need of providing the women of their community with agency. Selling handmade crafts and cooking are the most common and accessible means of income that women can provide for their families, and the women at Luz Y Libertad decided to help empower their fellow community members to do so. They shared with us different struggles that they’ve faced as women in their community, and something that was deeply related to each individual struggle was the struggle of poverty. They spoke both of global issues influencing their financial stability like NAFTA, as well as personal experiences like domestic abuse, and while both are valid, I’d like to spend more time focusing on those personal experiences, as I feel that relates more directly to my vocation and requires reflection beneath the surface.
This is a guest blog post from Augsburg student, and Mary Witt Scholarship recipient, Nikol G. Nikol was able to go on the short term study abroad program, “Food, Justice & Sustainability in Mexico”, during spring break 2017. Thanks for sharing your reflections with us!
I had the opportunity to experience Mexico in a study abroad for 9 days with the Food, Justice and Sustainability class. I went as an independent study student, but I was lucky enough to be allowed to tag along with this awesome group. This trip was amazing and was a life changing experience for me. I have been to Mexico before on vacation with my family, but this experience was different. This visit I wasn’t there to hangout on the beach or sit by the pool. This time, I got to meet some amazing people. People that changed my thinking, and who changed me as a person. I would like to introduce you to a few of those people. Continue reading “My Opportunity in Mexico”
Augsburg students got the chance to explore Mexico on the 2017 spring break program, “Food, Justice, and Sustainability in Mexico”. Photos from faculty member Ann Lutterman-Aguilar.
From the program brochure:
Environmental Justice and social change take on a local and global perspective in this course that starts in the US, travels to Mexico over spring break, and returns to Augsburg to continue the learning. Continue reading “Auggies Spring Break in Mexico”
The Spring 2017 students on our Social Work and Migration, Globalization, and the Environment programs visit Ixtlilco El Grande for their home stays! Photos and text courtesy of our International Resident Assistant, Amber Ramirez.