Well aware that Mexico currently lives a deeply complex reality in which multiple social problems have generated an atmosphere of profound injustices and inequalities, ever-increasing violence, and widespread hopelessness that have consequently led millions of people to live in dire conditions, Integrando a México aims to contribute to the creation of an equal, prosperous, and sustainable present and future for Mexico by inspiring its youth to be strongly committed with the country’s social development and wellbeing and empowering it to work actively, critically, empathetically, and collectively in order to generate peace and social justice for all Mexicans.
During Integrando a México, a group of high school and university students from different countries bring together 35 Mexicans aged 16 to 18 from every corner of the country to participate in a unique and diverse 4-week program. During the course activities, the participants acquire and reinforce a wealth of key values and skills in the generation of peace and social justice such as empathy, solidarity, dialogue, cooperation, social awareness, creativity, critical thinking, ethical leadership, and unity through their engagement in highly dynamic workshops, community service projects that they themselves lead, artistic projects of their own that raise awareness about social issues they care about, interactive talks and encounters with a wide range of public figures, and the development of sustainable, deeply impactful social projects of their own with the help of the staff and experiencied social activists.
At the end of Integrando a México, through their respective projects and the amalgam of experiences, ideas, tools, resources, and contacts that they gain throughout the course, the participants join a national network of highly aware, motivated, and capable citizens, students, and activists able to generate and be an important part of societal efforts that pursue the construction of an inclusive, collaborative, and democratic society and the resolution of vast social problems that affect the quality of life of millions of Mexicans.
During 2010, enraged by the dire situation in Mexico, appalled by the lack of transformational educational opportunities for Mexican youth, and inspired by our experience in the United World College of the Atlantic, an institution belonging to United World Colleges (UWC), a movement of high schools that since 1962 gather students from more than 180 countries on merit-based scholarships to live and study together for two years, a friend and I decided to organize and carry out Integrando a México with the desire of bringing together an international team from different UWCs that could collectively utilize the UWC values and skills to provide a unique, transformational, and liberating educational experience to youth from across Mexico in order to empower them to become agents of social development that work for the generation of peace and social justice in their communities and the entire country. Thus, since July of 2010 and for the last four summers, 42 UWC students and alumni from 23 different countries have organized and facilitated the first four editions of the course, Integrando a México 2010, Integrando a México 2011, Integrando a México 2012, and Integrando a México 2013 for more than 135 young people from across the nation. Due to our growing success, with a constantly improving program from the previous editions that counts with additions such as the Public Issues Panels, Open Spaces, the Integrando a México Assembly, and the Integrando a México Reunion Forum, the course team will carry out the fifh edition of the course with the expectation of providing the Integrando a México experience to 35 enthusiastic, open-minded, idealistic, critical, and compassionate people with the ultimate aim of sustaining and growing the initiative, expanding its reach and increasing its impact upon Mexican communities across the country.