mural of migrants with signs that ways

Reflecting on a Transformative Experience: The Global Citizenship Program's Journey in Mexico

As the steward of Washington University's Global Citizenship Program, I am honored to share the transformative experience our first-year student cohort recently had in Mexico. Amid a world rife with systemic violence, our trip aimed to cultivate hope and life-affirming practices, exploring global citizenship through the lens of subaltern perspectives.

Our journey, crafted in partnership with Augsburg University, was a profound exploration into community resistance to extractivist projects, Indigenous sovereignty, and the legacy of colonization. The itinerary included engagements with migrants, social movement leaders, Indigenous youth organizers, and community elders. These interactions provided deep insights into the impacts of US immigration policies, extractive industries, and neoliberalism in Mexico, specifically, and Latin America, more broadly.

The most profound lessons came from witnessing communities' resistance and commitment to life-affirming practices in the face of systemic violence. For example, we learned about cooperative models that play a key role in defending Masejwual territory against the incursion of mega projects such as mining and hydroelectric dams. Our students approached each interaction with intentionality, respect, and deep curiosity, fostering meaningful connections with our hosts and new friends in Mexico.

Returning from this journey, we are humbled, inspired, and acutely aware of our own entanglements with systems of oppression. This experience highlighted the importance of community support in engaging with the discomfort that awareness and collective change require. We are profoundly grateful for the hospitality and wisdom shared by each leader, community member, elder, and host. Our partnership with Augsburg University was crucial in making this experiential learning opportunity possible.

To our students, your courage and openness have left us in awe. You embody the spirit of global citizenship, and your empathy and compassion are the foundation of meaningful change.