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The Metamorphosis of Medellin

Medellin is well known for its famous Botero Museum and its many blooming flowers…and the second largest city in Colombia is also now becoming known for education.

Case in point: it has developed an impressive Library-Parks system, which connects low income neighborhoods with the city’s libraries. The Science and Technology Exploration Park also recently opened, with interactive educational activities and the biggest freshwater and seawater aquariums in South America. New and modern state schools have been built, and a new Children’s Library has found a home in a restored mansion.

ProLiteracy has been working in Medellin for more than 30 years. The grassroots and indigenous programs we support—Alfabetización Pueblorrico, Centro Laubach de la Educatión Popular Básica de Adultos (CLEBA), Fundación Bienestar Humano, and Fundación Juan Tamado tremendous work every day to reach those most in need and to provide economic opportunities in what is now a booming economy.

For these reasons and more, Medellin—this jewel of South America—is a logical place to consider hosting an international gathering on adult and family literacy.

ProLiteracy President and CEO David C. Harvey, International Programs Manager Alesha Anderson, and Latin American Conference Coordinator Catalina Gonzalez, recently spent a busy week in Medellin and Bogotá to assess the potential for such a conference. The people and organizations they met with included:

  • The President of the Medellin city council
  • The Colombian Ministry of Education
  • The Ministry of Education for Antioquia, the state in which Medellin is located
  • The Secretary of Education for Medellin
  • The University of Buenaventura
  • The Director of the Library-Park system
  • Proantioquia
  • The Agency of International Cooperation and Investment (ACI)
  • Pies Descalzos Foundation
  • ASHOKA Colombia
  • The Organization of Ibero-American States
  • Pearson Foundation, Colombia

“A gathering in Medellin—which has such historical significance to ProLiteracy’s international work—makes sense with our strategic direction,” says Harvey. “We’re constantly looking for new partnerships in order to build strong, sustainable networks for ourselves and for our partners that will ultimately position adult literacy and basic education as a critical issue on the international stage.”

Details about ProLiteracy’s plans for a gathering in Colombia will come soon!

For more about ProLiteracy’s work in Colombia and in other countries, visit our international partner programs webpage.

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