Traveling the World in San Miguel
By Jesús Aguado
Celebration of the world returns to San Miguel with the 17th Encuentro Internacional de Convivencia y Hermandad Universal (International Congress of Coexistence and Universal Brotherhood). The encounter will feature plays, music, dances, and more at the Jardín Principal and the Teatro Ángela Peralta. It will take place from Friday, May 6, through Saturday, May 14.
Don Luis Ferro de la Sota, councilor of the Sociedad Civil en Marcha (organization that organizes the event) has put into action the popular phrase that Benito Juárez immortalized in 1867 when he said, “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.” And Don Luis Ferro assures that San Miguel, through its traditions and customs, has shown the world that this is a city where it is possible to coexist independently of: religions, languages, nationalities, skin color, or social status. He also comments that culture must be accessible to all the social strata and, for that reason, “if sanmiguelenses cannot travel the world, they should know that the world can come to them.” Ferro expects the confirmation of more than 40 ambassadors to Mexico as in previous years from other countries, such as Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Greece, Indonesia, China, and Russia.
The Nations Parade
The festival will start on Friday at 6pm with a solemn city council meeting at the Teatro Ángela Peralta. There, the city council will appoint the ambassadors as special guests of the city and will hand over recognition to them. The event is open to the general public, allowing all to listen to the speeches from public servants attending on behalf of President Enrique Peña Nieto and Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez as well as the mayor’s speech. At the end of the session, the visitors will gather outside the theater for a group photograph.
A “Flag Parade,” a march of students from local preparatory schools bearing the flags of the countries present for the Week of Universal Brotherhood will take place, followed by the representatives of each country. The parade goes through Mesones, Hidalgo, Portal Allende, Plaza Norte, Correo, and Corregidora and ends end at San Francisco Church, where an invitation only musical recital will be presented.
Encuentro Internacional de Convivencia y Hermandad Universal
Vie/Fri, May 6–Sáb/Sat May 14
All the events are free and open to the public
Vie/Fri, May 6
6:45pm Nations parade, passing through calles Mesones, Hidalgo, Portal Allende, Correo,
and Corregidora to end up at the San Francisco church.
7:30pm Concert with the Symphonic Orchestra from the Universidad de Guanajuato, by invitation only, San Francisco Church
8pm Folkloric ballet from San Miguel de Allende, Jardín Principal
Sáb/Sat, May 7
7pm Concert Piazzola and Claude Bolling, Suite for Flute and Piano, Teatro Ángela Peralta
7pm Folkloric ballet from Tepatl, Jardín Principal
8:30pm Dances from Chipre, Jardín Principal
Dom/Sun, May 8
6pm Japanese Dances, Teatro Ángela Peralta
7pm Folkloric ballet from the UTSMA, Jardín Principal
8pm Colombian music by Timka, Jardín Principal
Lun/Mon, May 9
7pm Folkloric dances, Jardín Principal
8pm International pop music by Jessica Sánchez, Jardín Principal
Mar/Tue, May 10
7pm Music with the Tuna Oratoriana, Jardín Principal
8pm The Nutcracker, play with Russian music, Jardín Principal
Mié/Wed, May 11
11am Lecture Welcome to Vietnam, Teatro Ángela Peralta
6pm Music by Quinteto Insurgente, Teatro Ángela Peralta
7pm Music with Rafael de la Rocha, Jardín Principal
7:30pm Folkloric dances, Jardín Principal
8:30pm Play Doscientos años cabalgando, inspired by Ignacio Allende’s life, Jardín Principal
Jue/Thu, May 12
6:30pm Folkloric dances, Jardín Principal
8pm Folkloric dances, Jardín Principal
Vie/Fri, May 13
6pm Music by Ensamble Música de Concierto, Teatro Ángela Peralta
Sáb/Sat, May 14
6pm Folkloric ballet from Pátzcuaro, Jardín Principal
7pm Folkloric dances from Honduras, Teatro Ángela Peralta
10pm Closing, Jardín Principal
This annual event was the idea of Don Luis Ferro de la Sota, a sanmiguelense who feels a deep love for the city and who was mayor of San Miguel for two terms, from 1970–1972 and 1983–1985. As mayor, he signed several sister city agreements with other cities. He also knew Stirling Dickinson, an American philanthropist who first came to San Miguel in the 1930s and has left an indelible mark on the town. One of his many interests was organizing sports teams, and Don Luis Ferro commented that the local government used to lend him space to use as an athletic field, but later the location was changed. That problem ended when Ferro became mayor. Together they built the local baseball stadium, and the local administration purchased more land to be used as soccer fields.
To pay homage to Stirling Dickinson, a plaque and a bust were unveiled on Ancha de San Antonio, and Don Luis Ferro was invited to speak. When Ferro saw all the attendees of many nationalities, he thought it would be good to demonstrate to the world through the Sociedad Civil en Marcha (a nonprofit organization) the importance and beauty of the city. In addition, thanks to the agreements with sister cities, it was easier to invite representatives from those countries to come to San Miguel for a cultural exchange. For 16 years the congress has brought other cultures to San Miguel and sent a bit of San Miguel out into the world.
Previously, Ferro told Atención that this congress is held because San Miguel de Allende is a special city, one of those few places in the world where there are people from more than 40 countries. This event, he commented, is to let the world know what is happening in San Miguel: its arts, culture, and social programs. He said that he realized that the easiest way to do it was by inviting all those diplomatic authorities accredited in the country. “Here there are no conflicts. People work to help others, and that is incredible,” said Ferro.