May 7, 2012
A Sylff endowment was established at El Colegio de México (Colmex) in March 1992, making it the fortieth member of the Sylff community. And on February 23, 2012, a ceremony was held to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Sylff program at the university.
The ceremony began with Colmex President Javier Garciadiego describing the history of the university and conveying his gratitude for the endowment. Remarks were then made by Japanese Ambassador to Mexico Shuichiro Megata, a video message was delivered by Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa, and an address was given by Tokyo Foundation Director for Leadership Development Takashi Suzuki.
Sylff Steering Committee Chairperson Dr. Jean François Prud’homme commented that the Sylff goal of nurturing leaders capable of overcoming a variety of challenges was being achieved thanks to the activities of Colmex fellows and the Colmex Sylff Association.
Finally, Professor Flora Botton, who was SSC Chairperson when Sylff was launched at Colmex, recounted that the program was initially established at the Center for Demographic and Urban Development Studies and the Center for Asian and African Studies, which were the first research centers in these disciplines in Latin America.
The ceremony was largely organized by Sylff fellows, both old and new. All presentations following those by the above officials were by the fellows themselves, from Israel Banegas—an inaugural member of the Sylff Fellows Council—and former Sylff Colmex Association coordinator María Fernanda Vázquez to current Sylff Colmex Association coordinator Fernando Octavio Hernández Sánchez. After they described the history of the Sylff program at Colmex, three current fellows gave presentations on their current research activities. (Watch video messages from graduated Colmex Sylff fellows.)
The philanthropic activities of the Sylff Colmex Association were also introduced. In 2009 the association launched the Book Donation initiative, and in 2012 twice-annual donations of food and clothing to drought-stricken ethnic minorities in the Mexican highlands were begun.
The Book Donation project provides books to high school libraries in impoverished neighborhoods. The association manages and executes all aspects of the project, from the selection of libraries, collection of books from the university, and delivery to each library. The aim is to deliver approximately 60 boxes of books to three school libraries during each campaign.
This project is undertaken by five current fellows—who are volunteering their time while pursuing their academic activities—with the advice and support of graduated fellows.
Watch video messages from graduated Colmex Sylff fellows (video message produced by Sylff fellow Roberto Eduardo García Fernández): http://youtu.be/PuSXZrkm3Cg