Indigenous Cosmology and Decolonial Community Engagement

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm (ET)
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Join Don Audelino, a Guatemalan professor and Mayan priest, and Ben Blevins, the CFO of Highlands Support Project, to discuss the centering of indigenous knowledge and customs in the context of cross cultural community engagement. 

Don Audelino Sac Coycoy is a Maya-K’iche’ political scientist who currently teaches at the Universidad Rafael Landívar Campus de Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. He is an expert in Mayan culture, politics, and cosmovision and has also served as a representative of the Indigenous council of elders during the Guatemalan Peace Accords. He holds a master's degree in sustainable development management from the Autonomous University of Madrid and has also completed multiple management and development programs in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. He has previously visited and spoken at US universities as well.

Currently the CFO of Highland Support Project, Ben Blevins originally enrolled in college as a Theater major, Ben’s experience prompted his switch to a study in economic development in the Third World (not his choice of language). Ben was most interested in how to foster transformational experiences to raise awareness and passion for social justice amongst North American youth through cross-cultural experiences while at the same time promoting sustainable and just development for partner communities. After graduating from the University of Richmond, he traveled to Guatemala as a human rights worker, and in the early 1990s, he became aware of the cooperatives movement and experienced the positive long-term benefits the movement accomplished. He was “sold” on the potential for small business development as a more appropriate response to the causes of poverty than the dependency-laden models of charity and child sponsorship programs. Ben is also the founder and managing trustee of Common Good Trust, a holding company for socially responsible business ventures that are developed to put into practice ethical standards and ecological sustainability.

This event is sponsored by the GW Alternative Breaks project in partnership with the Highlands Support Project (HSP). HSP fosters agency and empowers indigenous communities by providing opportunities for education, community organization, supporting social entrepreneurs, and addressing health and poverty in the face of shifting political arenas and environmental changes. The GW Alternative Breaks program empowers and challenges students to understand their role as proponents of democratic citizenship in the world through direct and indirect service, service-learning, and reflection, while encouraging personal growth, social awareness, and active citizenship. Alternative Breaks provides the opportunity for students to explore community service in local, national, and international settings, fostering a Serve, Learn, Discover mentality.

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