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Mexico at the Crossroads: What’s at Stake, What’s in Store

Mon, Mar 26, 2012, 4:30pm - 6:00pm

You are cordially invited to a lecture with

Homero Aridjis
Former Mexican ambassador to Switzerland, the Netherlands and UNESCO 

on the topic of 
Mexico at the Crossroads: What’s at Stake, What’s in Store

Monday, March 26
4:30 PM 

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Please RSVP to

This event is sponsored by the Ambassadors Forum program at IWP’s Center for Culture and Security.  

Ambassador Homero AridjisAmbassador Homero Aridjis

One of Latin America’s leading writers, many of his 41 books of poetry and prose are translated into fifteen languages.  Titles in English include the award-winning novel 1492 The Life and Times of Juan Cabezón of Castile, The Lord of the Last Days: Visions of the Year 1000, Persephone, Eyes to See Otherwise : Selected Poems and Solar Poems.  His work has received important literary prizes in Mexico (Xavier Villaurrutia, Diana-Novedades), Italy (Grinzane Cavour), France (Roger Caillois), the United States (NY Times Notable Book) and Serbia (Smederevo Golden Key). His latest collection of poems, Diario de sueños, was published in 2011. His most recent novels are Los Invisibles (2010), Sicarios (Hit-Men) (2007) and En búsqueda de Archelon : La odisea de las siete tortugas (Searching for Archelon: Odyssey of the Seven Sea Turtles) (2006). As president of the Grupo de los Cien (Group of 100), an environmentalist association of writers, artists and scientists he founded in 1985, he has been honored with the UNEP Global 500 Award, the Orion Society’s John Hay Award “for significant achievement in writing that addresses the relationship between people and nature,” Latin Trade magazine’s Environmentalist of the Year award, the Natural Resources Council’s Force for Nature Award, and with his wife, Betty Ferber (International Coordinator of the Group of 100), the Green Cross/Mikhail Gorbachev Millennium Award for International Environmental Leadership.

His native state, Michoacan, has awarded him its two top honors, the Presea Generalissimo José María Morelos and the Erendira State Prize for the Arts. 

Twice the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship; former Mexican ambassador to Switzerland, The Netherlands and UNESCO; visiting professor at the universities of Columbia, New York, Indiana and California at Irvine, where he held the Nichols Chair in the Humanities and the Public Sphere; international president of International PEN, the worldwide writers’ organization from 1997-2003, and currently president emeritus; since 1994 he has been an editorial-page columnist for the Mexican newspapers Reforma and El Universal, addressing political, cultural, literary and environmental issues.

Aridjis founded and chaired three prestigious international poetry festivals in Mexico (1981, 1982, 1987) and in the Morelia Symposia (1991, 1994), he brought together writers, scientists, environmentalists and representatives of indigenous peoples from two dozen countries to consider the Earth “Approaching the Year 2000.” Both Morelia Declarations I and II had a broad impact.  Largely thanks to the Group of 100, sea turtle capture and commercialization in Mexico was banned, a projected industrial salt works at the gray whale nursery in San Ignacio Lagoon (Baja California Sur) was cancelled, monarch butterfly overwintering sites in Mexico are protected, since 1986 air quality levels in Mexico City have been made public, airport construction in the Lake Texcoco bird and wildlife sanctuary was halted, lead content was reduced in Mexican gasoline, pottery and paint, and dam-building on the Usumacinta River was thwarted. 

Homero and Betty Aridjis live in Mexico City and have two daughters, the writer Chloe Aridjis and the filmmaker Eva Aridjis.