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4th Planetary Ecoversities Global Gathering — Michoacán, México October 26-November 2, 2019

Manish Jain
Jun 28, 2019 · 8 min read

We would be most excited to have you join us for the The Fourth Global Gathering of the Ecoversities Alliance — Committed to Re-imagining Higher Education and Learning!

This is an invitation for you to gather together with 60–70 other higher education rebels, dreamers and visionaries from around the world in Michoacán, México. The Global Gathering will take place from the 26th (morning) until the 31st (evening) October, 2019. Afterwards, we will join the celebrations of Animeecha Kejsitakwa (Day of the Dead) the nights of the 31st October and November 1st. There is an optional learning journey which will visit projects in the Mexican Ecoversities Weaving between November 2nd until the 11th. More details coming soon.

REGISTER HERE https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfXUQ7MQu4oV1thRPTK5_nSw_ErbY3t-ximUHc3_6KtlZW7qA/viewform

We are calling for a fourth gathering at Centro de Investigación y Estudios Transmodernos and Cherán in October (CIET) in an ‘un-conference’ format. Our primary focus is to bring together people who are running or who are deeply involved with ‘alternatives’ to higher education — working within, against, and beyond the modern university — as well as in locally-rooted learning spaces that are regenerating community and a sensibility of coming back home. Many of these places are connected with different grassroots, social and ecological movements, indigenous communities, and others.

As you are aware, there is an emerging constellation of eco-versities — people and communities reclaiming their local knowledge systems and learning practices to restore and re-envision learning processes that are meaningful and relevant to the call of our times, that cultivate new stories and possibilities, and that re-connect and re-generate diverse ecological, social, economic, and cultural ecosystems in the spirit of coming home.

A local working group is planning all the soul-stirring ingredients needed for our participation in this fourth gathering. The group is open to suggestions, reflections and proposals at any time. In addition, if anyone has an interest to become a participant in this group, you are most welcome and we encourage you to contact us.

This is what we are proposing during the gathering:

  • That we gather for 6 days to deepen our friendships, to learn from each other and to explore new collaborations. We ask that you come and participate for the whole time. Over the 6 days we will also have opportunities to learn from what CIET and other members of the Mexican Ecoversities Weaving are doing and share our own practices.
  • That we bring to the gathering burning questions which are important to each of us through the projects and contexts we are involved in and which we would like to share with the group. For example there were many shared themes during last year’s gathering: sustainability and social justice; unlearning and decolonizing; indigenous ways of knowing; healing; gift culture and solidarity learning economies; re-engaging community, nature and the built environment; local media; literacies; the question of certification; mentoring; rites of passage; right livelihood and social/eco entrepreneurship, learning amidst conflict, among other topics.
  • That we bring forth such questions and experiments to co-generate an “un- conference”, a loose semi- structured process that leaves time for sharing and co- creating with self-organizing sessions and open-spaces. This will also allows us to experience and to continue to learn from different approaches and traditions of learning, gathering and facilitation. At the same time this process honours the learning that comes from emergence, as many of us experienced during the first three gatherings.
  • That we come with a view towards strengthening the global movement of re- imagining higher education and building collaborations across the ecoversities alliance.
  • That we co-create a relational space of healing and actualize our relationship with the ancestors, that we allow ourselves be embraced by the land and the ancestors that will host us and in that spirit we pay homage to our loved ones and join the Day of the Dead celebrations in the Purepecha Region.
    • That we learn from the pedagogies enacted by the different communities defending their land and territory in the biocultural region.

About the hosts:

  • Centro de Investigación y Estudios Transmodernos (CIET, Transmodern Studies and Research Center) <https://eltiempoquerestaac.wixsite.com/home/ciet> is a comprehensive university started in Michoacan in 2010. Ciet has the mission of training a healer in every household and offers a self-designed learning continuum on therapeutics of the body and the anthropology of healing. This program has trained more than 200 students, exploring issues of buen vivir, self, sustainability, service, social justice, and decolonializing practices. It also hosts several workshops throughout the year in other locations in Mexico, Central America and the United States. Ciet has its roots on practices of popular education, human rights, activism, permaculture, and solidarity economies. It is based on a farm in a village 10 km outside of Pátzcuaro city, very close to the shoreline of Pátzcuaro Lake and surrounded by villages and forests.
  • C h e r á n is a P’urhepecha indigenous town in the mountains of Michoacan. Since April 15, 2011, when they ran politicians, police, and cartels out of town, they have established a self-government system based on Consejos that people elect directly in public Asambleas. They have implemented a successful reforestation program, fostering local cooperatives and developed their own approach to education, based on the memory of the love and defense of land and territory. In the middle of generalized violence and corruption, their struggle inspires and mirrors other localized initiatives to reclaim our right to live.
  • About the region and the Animeecha Kejsitakwa (Day of the Dead) :
  • Michoacán, in western Mexico, has indigenous inhabitants of five ethnic groups. The most important of these is the p’urhepecha, which historically occupied 70 thousand km2 of the states of Michoacán, Jalisco, Colima, Guanajuato, Querétaro, State of Mexico and Guerrero. They lived around the lakes of Cuitzeo, Pátzcuaro and Zirahuén. In Angamuco, today Morelia, came to live near 100 thousand inhabitants between the year 1000–1350 d. C.
  • The P’urhepecha culture is historically part of the Opeño-Capacha tradition, which calls into question the foundation of Mesoamerica, beyond the Olmecs, precisely because of the antiquity of its tombs. In the mortuary cult vertical tombs were customary and the place of the dead is named Warichao. In the relation of Michoacán it is reviewed:
  • “Knowing the women the deaths of their husbands, they shouted and shouted at their houses and made blankets, with their heads, and covered those bags with blankets and took them at night and put them in order in front of the cues. , and they played bugles and shells. They gave those bundles their bows and arrows and their leather garlands and their red plumage on their heads and put many offerings of bread and wine and burned them […] Those of ordinary people did in the same way. And they took the ashes and put them in pots and put their bows and arrows and buried those pots. And then all their relatives of the deceased gathered at home and consoled. “
  • Until recently it was still used in some places to unearth the bones of the dead. But today, the “Day of the Dead” party is the product of a fusion from the name itself, which uses the term “anima”: Animeecha or Animeecha Kejsitakwa. The dead children are celebrated from October 31st to November 1st and the adults from November 1st to 2nd.

It is customary to decorate the tomb in a mixed ritual between the old, the medieval Spanish tradition and Catholicism. People decorate the doors of the houses, the trojes. The tomb is cleaned, crosses are decorated in the graveyard with yellow flowers of cempoalxochitl, white “clouds” and purple flowers. “Bread of the dead” is baked and fruit is set for the offering, some food of the deceased person’s taste, sometimes cigars or alcohol. A path is made for the anima and water is put in a glass. The return of the dead is watched during the night.

In some cases, the homes of families where there was a dead person are visited and fireworks are thrown and food is distributed. In all cases the graves are visited, they decorate and share food, they talk among the people and with the deceased. On the island of Janitzio there is an already tourist show with lights, canoes and butterfly nets, which refers to the tradition of fishermen.

Costs for the gathering:

The costs are being kept at a minimum and are met through a sliding scale ‘solidarity fund’ to nurture a solidarity economy where we can support a process of inclusion for all who wish to participate in this gathering. If you or your organization can pay more than the minimum, that would greatly help us meet the overall expenses on the ground in Michoacán.

We anticipate that participants will cover their travel expenses to and from Michoacán. We have raised some funds available to support partial travel scholarships to members of the Alliance in dire need of financial support (up to $600 per scholarship). Please write to us if you need support or if you can help raise additional funds to support international travel of other friends.

Accomodation and food:

CIET is located in the neighboring villages of San Bartolo and San Pedro Pareo. We will have shared dormitory accomodation in both towns, walking distance from campus. Tents can also be set up. The daily costs here are $20 for shared accomodation and food in the dining hall. There are many private hotels and hostels in Pátzcuaro (10 km away from campus) for $30–50 for individual rooms (if you opt for this, you will also have to bear daily costs of private taxis or public colectivos). The CIET dining hall provides local breakfast, lunch and dinner (vegetarian/vegan options available). There will be space for cooking together also.

Transport:

The main international airport is in Mexico City (Bus to Pátzcuaro is around 6 hours). The closest one is Morelia (40 minutes to Pátzcuaro). There are several domestic flights, private taxis and buses to Morelia and Pátzcuaro.

Healing work at CIET:

CIET offers, in the spirit of sharing and intercutural ethics, ceremony with sacred plants, Point Zero Field therapy, and temazcal (sweat lodge). Should you have interest in joining one or more of these activities, please inform the local organizing team.

Children:

Children are most welcome at CIET. There is a local team of volunteers that will be playing (aka taking care) with them. And, needless to say, don’t forget to bring your inner child!

Next steps:

It would really help us if you could fill in some brief information on a form provided through this Registration link — please let us know if you are able to attend the event by the 1st of October.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfXUQ7MQu4oV1thRPTK5_nSw_ErbY3t-ximUHc3_6KtlZW7qA/viewform

We are really excited to be connecting with everyone in what we hope will be an inspiring and nourishing gathering.

With love -
Manish, Kelly, Udi, Gerardo, Ku, Alessandra

Mexico Hosting Team: Josefina, Pedro, Carmen, Yunuén, Casiel, Adriana, Gerardo.

For more information: Gerardo López-Amaro: gtupac.amaro@gmail.comCarmen Ramos: carmenrp1@gmail.com

Ecoversities Rising

Reflections from various ecoversities alliance members www.e

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