By Chloe Bacon
Chloe Bacon is completing her M.A. in Latin American studies and international education at the George Washington University. She is currently interning at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile.
I can’t lie – the first thing that struck me about Santiago was the cold. That is perhaps not quite fair to the city – it really isn’t that cold – but after coming from summer it was quite a shock to my system. Once I finally emerged from under the blankets, however, I discovered a bustling city with lots of interesting sights and neighborhoods to explore.
I spent my first week in Santiago looking for an apartment, which is never fun. I eventually found a comfortable apartment near a large park called Parque Bustamante that I share with two Chilean artists. I walk the thirty-five minutes to and from work, which is usually quite pleasant, except on particularly chilly mornings like today.
I’m looking forward to continuing to explore the city in the upcoming months. Santiago boasts a wide range of cultural events, of which I plan to take advantage. I’ll keep you updated as I sample what Santiago has to offer!
The UNESCO office is a beautiful old house located next to a small park in a pleasant part of the city known as Providencia. The building is one of those old houses with multiple winding staircases in which it is easy to get lost. According to legend, one of the meeting rooms is haunted, but that is a story for another blog post.
The UNESCO staff are incredibly warm and friendly. The office focuses almost exclusively on education, which isn’t a surprise considering it is the Regional Bureau for Education. The only exception is a Belgian scientist who works on water management issues. The office is relatively small with only about thirty staff. In part as a result of the size, everyone knows each other, which helps to create a welcoming atmosphere.
I have been working at UNESCO Santiago for three weeks and have already had the opportunity to contribute to several different projects. I began by studying some of the publications that the Santiago office and UNESCO’s Education sector as a whole have produced. The organization is incredibly prolific, and, weeks later, I still have a long list of material that I want to read. Each day I compile a list of relevant news articles that I share with the office, a task that has helped me to quickly get up to date on local and regional events. Considering the recent protests and political scandals, an increased understanding of the local context has been particularly helpful.
My primary project for the next two and a half months will be planning the Regional Orientation and Capacity Building Workshops on Global Citizenship Education for Latin America and the Caribbean to be held in early September of this year. The event will bring together UNESCO staff and country delegations comprised of representatives from the government, academia and civil society who work on global citizenship education. Prior to the event, we will be sending out a survey to analyze how global citizenship education is understood and implemented within the region. Currently I am drafting invitations and consultant agreements for the launch of the questionnaire and conference. Stay tuned for more details as the planning progress gets further under way!