Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Feet in Two Cultures

"Tolerance, intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where peoples are becoming more and more closely interconnected."
-- Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the United Nations

Saying adios to Mexico, to mis amigos was bittersweet. Reuniting with my colleagues, with my Berkeley "family" today was joyous. However, adjusting to life in New Jersey will take some time. I still feel as if I have one foot in each culture. My body and mind are still on "Mexican time" and the silence here keeps me awake at night. I miss the church bells and the mariachis.

I agree with Kofi Annan that respect for diversity is essential for our survival and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is a model for tolerance and intercultural dialogue. Of a population of around 80,000 people, at least 10,000 are Americans. It is not an easy task, but Mexicans and gringos (Americans) have had to work together side by side to preserve the city for future generations.
We can learn a great dea1 from the diverse community of San Miguel de Allende and apply it to our own communities right here in the U.S.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said that "Men hate each other because they fear each other, and they fear each other because they don't know each other, and they don't know each other because they are often separated from each other."

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