Foro Empresarial COPARMEX Mazatlán, 26 Nov 2010, No. 1

Yo soy fuereño nací de aquí muy lejos
y sin embargo les digo en mi cantar
que tienen todos ustedes un orgullo
el gran orgullo de ser de Mazatlán.

I love my adopted city. It is absolutely gorgeous. Our daily morning walks and bike rides along the seawall to buy fresh fish and shrimp, greet our neighbors, watch the fishermen play dominos, or talk to the oyster divers … make this place home. Some of the world’s most hospitable and happy people live here, in Mazatlán, nestled between some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and mountains.

But, as I’ve written about before, my beloved adopted home is sick. We hear the statistics about drug trafficking, we hear of murders amongst drug lords. As I look around my fair city I see more and more a numb reaction to the loss of human life, and, even in some of my most beloved (and internationally successful) banda groups, a glorification of violence. Living here drives a wedge between my extended family and us, as they cannot imagine why we would move to such a violent place.

We continue to feel much safer here than we did living in a US city. The violence here seems much more targeted and, honestly, carefully executed then what we were lived with in the States. Every Sunday as we set up for mass in the cathedral we lit a candle for each victim of a murder in Kansas City. By the end of the year it took me the better part of half an hour to light all the candles!

I struggle with what I can do to help my city. Our son participated in Model United Nations last year. They took up the theme of combating narcotrafficking. They didn’t find great solutions, as we might hope young people would. Rather, they got stuck, discouraged, just like all of us seem to. It’s a tough and complicated problem.

Today our local branch of COPARMEX held a business forum entitled Sinaloa: Un Futuro Extraordinario. I was able to attend, and it was incredibly educational as well as emotional! I learned a lot, for sure, and it’s going to take me a couple of blog posts to tell you about all of it (warning!). It was emotional for two reasons: the first speaker was awesome but depressed the heck out of me, but he perfectly set up the final speaker, who seemed to, finally, have some of the answers.

The first speaker was David Calderón, Director General of “Mexicanos Primero.” His presentation was excellent, full of informative, well-presented, meaningful statistics, all from their 2010 report (just released last week), which unfortunately does not yet seem to be posted online. So why did I find his talk so depressing? Because it caused me to think: Why in the world had we purposefully brought our son to a country in which 51% of its kids score “insufficient” on the country’s own national competency tests (ENLACE for secundaria)? And to a state where over 50% of the kids scored “below basic” on those same tests (ENLACE, PISA, EXCALE)? What were we thinking? I totally believe that education is the key to our future. Why had we brought Danny here? I know our reasons were precisely those: to get an education, a real one; to become bilingual, multicultural; to gain experience living as a minority rather than a majority member of society.

Today’s final speaker, a man with whom I would absolutely love to have a very long, wine-fueled, philosophical dinner, had such passion. He voiced clarity, he communicated his own inadequacies and gifts, and I found his message bringing tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. Yes! That was why we brought our son here! For him to learn first-hand that social inequality is not a good thing! We came here to motivate our son to want to help our world distribute power and opportunity, to understand in the marrow of his bones that an educated, empowered people is much healthier, safer, and saner than a populace filled with the vitriol and despair of socio-economic disparity and immobility. Our final speaker today was the former mayor of Medellín, Colombia, Sergio Fajardo Valderrama.

I figure I’ll need about three blog posts to summarize today, at least in my own mind.

  1. First, I hope to tell you a bit of the message I gleaned from Doctor Fajardo, a mathematician and architect’s son-turned-mayor.
  2. Second, I’d like to try to find “Mexicanos Primeros” 2010 report and summarize for you some of its powerful statistics.
  3. Finally, I’d like to do a lighter post on some of the cultural differences I found attending a business leadership conference like this, the first I’ve had the privilege to attend here since moving to Mazatlán.

I hope this introduction has whetted your appetite! Now I just have to find the time to write the posts ☺

Read post #2about this Foro.

About Dianne Hofner Saphiere

There are loads of talented people in this gorgeous world of ours. We all have a unique contribution to make, and if we collaborate, I am confident we have all the pieces we need to solve any problem we face. I have been an intercultural organizational effectiveness consultant since 1979, working primarily with for-profit multinational corporations. I lived and worked in Japan in the late 70s through the 80s, and currently live in and work from México, where with a wonderful partner we've raised a bicultural, global-minded son. I have worked with organizations and people from over 100 nations in my career. What's your story?

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