Friday, January 16, 2009

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

Last semester, in a class I was able to read the biography of Rigoberta Menchú Tum, (I, Rigoberta Menchú), who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her work as an advocate for Indian rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation in her native Guatemala and throughout the western hemisphere. Born into a poor family in the Mayan culture, she became active in the resistance to oppression in Guatemala after her family was murdered during the struggle for Indian peasants' rights. Her life story was recounted in the book, and she also narrated the powerful documentary film "When the Mountains Tremble" about the struggles and suffering of the Mayan people.

So obviously, I was thrilled when I saw that the keynote address to kick off the University of Utah's 25th Anniversary Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be given by Rigoberta Menchú Tum on Thursday, 15 January at Kingsbury Hall. The presentation (reviewed here)was quite inspiring. Her story and presence are powerful. As she herself said in the address, "You can read all the books you want, but it's not until you experience another culture firsthand, that you really begin to learn." She spoke of respecting other, of how to live in peace and promote peace. Interestingly, although there was an English translator, I was able to understand much of what she said in Spanish. (I've decided that I need to officially learn to speak Spanish.) I'm glad I heard about this and jumped at the chance to attend.

Paz : Paix : صلح (solh) : Taika : Мир : Friður : Pokój : Miers : Maluhia : Frieden : שלום (Shalom) : Pax


No comments: