“The Acapulco We Want”

“The Acapulco We Want” is the title of the report presented to an audience of stakeholders in the city of Acapulco in Mexico during a small cultural festival with local artists. The Mayoress of the city, Adelina López Rodríguez attend the event and said she would “take on the challenge”. The British Academy funded project, Educational Peacebuilding in Medellin and Acapulco: Understanding the role of education, culture and learning in responding to crises, hosted a series of events from 28th February to 3rd March which brought together the research findings from Medellin (Colombia) and from Acapulco (Mexico) on peacebuilding initiatives through culture and non-formal education.

A press conference took place on the first day, followed by a two-day workshop with participants and guests from different organisations (local and regional government, civil associations, the arts and young people) and small businesses.

During the in-person event, an online exchange was held with similar groups from Medellin to discuss the findings and add their ideas and experiences. Research team members from the partner institution in Colombia, Fundación Ideas para la Paz (Ideas for Peace Foundation) and partner university El Colegio de Sonora in Mexico through Dr Nohora Niño Vega and Dr Javiera Donoso, as well as Prof. Evelyn Arizpe and RA’s Dr Alejandro Bahena-Rivera and PGR student Sergio Hernandez, then presented the findings at a final event in Acapulco’s Botanic Gardens, with guests from local and state government. Local artists such as contemporary and street dancers, theatre performers and musicians, including Afro-Mexican drummers, represented the violence associated with the city but also the cultural potential, drawing on its historical roots and diverse population.

Findings include the ‘lessons’ learned from Medellin’s peacebuilding process such as the importance of identity and a sense of belonging, programme continuity, concerted investment and visibility and connection between existing local initiatives. They also include an awareness of an emerging new generation in Acapulco that is keen to take on these lessons and adapt them to the local context.

Since the event, publicised in various media outlets in the city, different groups have been coming together to plan for opening new spaces for arts and sport, as well as creating a foundation for peace initiatives. A full version of the events and the report pdf (in Spanish) can be found here: http://cradall.org/content/acapulco-we-want-unites-artists-stakeholders-and-government-working-towards-peace

First published: 4 April 2022

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