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San Miguel’s Bargain with the Devil


By Susan Page

Who decided that San Miguel should be a major tourist destination instead of the arts colony it had been for so many decades? How did we become the number one city in the world? Was that really the result of a magazine survey of readers who would rather come here than Paris or Rome? How do we feel about what some call “the Aspenization” of San Miguel? How did this little town become so crowded, especially on weekends?

Instead of guessing at the answers to these questions, come hear an astonishing lecture by a historian who made a thorough study of all these questions and will tell the true and surprising story behind it all. Lisa Covert is the author of San Miguel de Allende: Mexicans, Foreigners, and the Making of a World Heritage Site. She reveals strategies and decisions made by civic and cultural leaders here that deliberately prioritized international accolades over making San Miguel a great place to live. The title of her presentation is “The Best City in the World: San Miguel’s Devil’s Bargain.”

Lisa Pinley Covert is an assistant professor of history at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She earned a PhD from Yale University in Latin American history with an emphasis on 20th-century Mexico. Her book, based on more than 10 years of research, examines how both longtime residents and newcomers shaped San Miguel’s economic possibilities and cultural dynamics from the 1930s to the 1980s, and how these efforts paved the way for the 2008 UNESCO World Heritage designation.

An informal reception will follow Lisa Covert’s presentation.

This program is presented by the San Miguel organization called i3: Ideas that Inform and Inspire. Tickets are US$14 and are available on line at They will also be available at the door for 250 pesos, cash only.

For more information, visit our website at



i3: Ideas that Inform and Inspire presents

“The Best City in the World: San Miguel’s Devil’s Bargain”

Lisa Pinley Covert

Sat, Mar 17, 5pm

Real de Minas Hotel Ballroom

Stirling Dickinson 1

Tickets: US$14, 250 pesos at the door

Available online:


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