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Mexico's Indigenous Languages and Cultures

Mexico City, Puebla & Tlaxcala

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Seminar Overview: "Mexico’s Indigenous Languages and Cultures"

​To support community colleges and minority-serving institutions, CAORC offers fully-funded overseas seminars that help faculty and administrators gain the requisite first-hand experience needed to develop and improve international courses, curricula, and teaching materials.

This seminar, administered by CAORC in collaboration with its member center in Mexico, the Americas Research Network (ARENET), funds participation in a two-week seminar in Mexico that will include stays in Mexico City, Puebla, and Tlaxcala. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the contemporary United States has many of its roots in the deep historical traditions of Latin America. The dynamic processes that are multiplying the interconnections between Mexico and the U.S. are due, in large measure, to the resilience of Mexico’s Indigenous peoples. The Indigenous population of Mexico is one of the world’s largest, and Indigenous migrants from diverse linguistic and cultural traditions have come to the U.S. for decades, with their numbers continuing to increase.


This seminar based in Mexico City, Tlaxcala, and Puebla will provide concrete exposure to the geographic and cultural diversity of Mexico and its historical ties to the U.S. Participants will gain first-hand experience of Mexico’s Indigenous communities and will meet local scholars, artists, and activists. The seminar will also explore the rich collections held in Mexico’s museums, libraries, and archaeological sites. 


Participants will experience the wide diversity of Mexico’s Indigenous history, society, and culture and its relevance for the future of the United States. Round-trip travel, accommodations, in-country transportation, and some meals will be provided for the seminar.


Seminar dates: May 19 - June 2, 2024

Meet the ARENET Seminar Team

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Omar Aguilar Sánchez is tee savi (mixteco) and Doctor by the University of Leiden. He is an archeologist and  recipient  of the Alfonso Caso Prize in 2016 and 2021. In 2019, he won the National Youth Prize in the “Academic Achievement” category. He is a specialist in the historical-cultural heritage of the Ñuu Savi, mainly in the Mixtec Codices and the link between these pictorial manuscripts and the living heritage and the Mixtec language from a decolonial perspective. He has been a member of national and international congresses and has published several articles. He developed the  App “Códices Mixtecos”, and is  co-founder of “Colectivo Nchivi Ñuu Savi”. He is a founding member and research professor at the Universidad Autónoma Comunal de Oaxaca. In 2022, he joined the National System of Researchers (SNI).

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Izaira López Sánchez is ña’a Ñuu Savi (woman of the People of the Rain), and a graduate of the bachelor of International Relations by University of Umar–Campus Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Since 2019, her research is focused on the “repatriation of the cultural property of the Indigenous Peoples from a legal perspective”. In addition, she focuses on the revitalization of the Mixtec language and has participated in different national and international activities and congresses to disseminate her idiom. Izaira is the founder of the project “Tu'un Vii: Palabras Bonitas”, where she creates and disseminates content in Tu'un Savi (language of the rain) on digital platforms, with the aim of generating awareness among young people about the importance of native languages inside and outside of the Ñuu Savi.

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Magdalena Guziejko is a graduate of the Institute of Iberian and Ibero-American Studies at the University of Warsaw (2011-2018). She is a curator at the Department of Ethnography of Non-European Countries of the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw specializing in the American and Asian collections, and was organized exhibitions such as “Tales from the Saami Land” and “Treasures of Peru. Royal tomb in Castillo de Huarmey”. Magdalena has alos been a visiting researcher at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and the University of Texas in Austin as part of the COLING project (Minority Languages, Major Opportunities. Collaborative Research, Community Engagement, and Innovative Educational Tools). Since 2019, she is a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Humanities at the University of Warsaw, where she conducts research on Mexican crafts and museum decolonization issues.

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Fernanda Valderrama is a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UNAM,with a degree in Dramatic Literature and Theatre. She works as an actress, stage director, vocal and body coach, production assistant at festivals, educational projects, theatrical productions, multidisciplinar and large events and film productions, as well as in the teaches performing arts to children and young adults, She loves to sing in the shower, watch the sunsets and dance to the rhythm of the waves of the sea.


The program is open to full-time or part-time faculty and administrators at U.S. community colleges or minority-serving institutions. A directory of MSIs can be found at the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. The program is open to faculty in all fields, at all academic ranks, and from any academic or administrative department.

Applicants may apply to only one (1) of the concurrent CAORC Overseas Faculty Development Seminar opportunities being offered.  Applicants who apply to more than one concurrent seminar may be removed from consideration for all seminars. 

CAORC and the U.S. Department of State do not require any vaccinations to participate in the Overseas Faculty Development Seminar program, however the host countries, overseas research centers, individual sites, and communities that are part of the FDS program schedule may have their own requirements for vaccination. These requirements may change from the time of application to the time of travel.  

Applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application and must hold a valid, current U.S. passport that does not expire within six months of the last date of the program.

Note: Previous Overseas Faculty Development Seminar awardees are requested to observe a one-year waiting period before applying for another program

Program Expectations

As an outcome of the Overseas Faculty Development Seminar program, participants are required to develop and implement a project to increase internationalization on their campus. Details and examples of these projects will be shared with awardees during pre-departure orientation. Projects should be implemented within one year of the conclusion of the program, at which time participants will be asked to submit a project report and share curriculum and/or documentation of the project for inclusion on CAORC's Open Educational Resources site.

Application Process

Applications can be accessed via CAORC's SM Apply application portal. You must sign up for an account to access the seminar application. This will allow you to save and return to your application before submitting. Please save your login/password information for future applications.

​In addition to providing basic personal and professional information, applicants are required to respond to the following essay questions (up to 500 words each):

  1. Please describe your professional and/or academic interest in participating in the faculty development seminar to Mexico. How will your professional and personal experiences, qualifications, and perspectives allow you to make the most of the seminar opportunity?

  2. Please describe how participation in this seminar is essential for your own professional development, i.e., improving your teaching, research, and/or administrative activities. How will you benefit professionally and personally from participating in the seminar?

  3. Please describe how participation in this seminar will directly impact your teaching, curriculum, and/or research. What specific projects, courses, or activities do you envision resulting from the seminar? More broadly, how might the experience positively impact your students, colleagues, institution, and/or community?

  4. Please discuss an occasion or time when you were confronted with attitudes, perspectives, values, or behaviors different from your own. How did you respond and what did you learn about yourself and your attitudes from the experience?

​In addition, applicants are required to:

  • ​Upload a current cv/resume (maximum of 2 pages)

  • Request a letter of support from a department chair, academic division head, or academic dean at your college or institution. You will be able to send a link to your recommender via the online grant portal, SM Apply, by entering their contact details, which will trigger the system into sending an automated email. Your recommender will then be able to upload their letter. Recommendation letters will be confidential in the system. ​In their letter, the recommender should address the following questions/points:

    1. Please tell us why you support the applicant’s participation in the CAORC faculty development seminar. From your perspective, how will they benefit professionally from the program?

    2. Please describe the applicant’s engagement with your institution’s internationalization efforts and how their participation in the seminar might benefit students, colleagues, and the broader campus community.

    3. Please discuss the applicant’s collegiality, teamwork, and professionalism. How have they demonstrated the ability to cooperate, work, and share with others to achieve goals and positive outcomes?

  • It is advisable to enter your recommender's contact details into the recommendation letter section of the application as soon as possible (and click 'mark as complete') so that they have sufficient time to complete and upload their letter. The applicant is responsible for checking in with their recommender to ensure the letter is submitted by the recommender deadline. CAORC is not able to reach out to recommenders on behalf of the applicant. 

Opening date for applications: April 19, 2023

Application deadline: January 31, 2024 at 5:00pm ET

Recommendation letter deadline: February 5, 2024 at 5:00pm ET

Notification of award decisions: March 1, 2024

​If you have questions, please email:

The application deadline has passed, please sign up for the CAORC mailing list below for updates on upcoming seminars and fellowships.

Funding for this program is provided to CAORC through a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

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