The Heritage Program
This summer Heritage will be hosted in Puebla, Mexico in July 2020. Host countries and cities are selected on the recommendations of the US Department of State- Education and Culture Divisions, the networks of previous programming alumni, and business, education and cultural partnerships. Located in east central Mexico, Puebla has been recommended as a location that offers a blend of history and modern life that provides a perfect start for (re) connection.
Components of Heritage- Mexico
- Exploration of Puebla City
- Trip to Cholula
- Culture of Puebla
- Indigenous history of the region
- Professional protocols of Mexico
As we launch the first initiative, we begin by exploring the country of Mexico. The richness and complexity of its history and culture as well as its location as a gateway to Latin America makes the perfect country to being the Heritage journey. The proximity of Mexico to the US, not to mention the large amount of population in the US that has continuous ties with Mexico, guides Heritage to explore the possibilities of (re)connection. Mexico is the third largest country in Latin America and is one of the chief economic and political forces in the region. It consists of 31 states and one federal district. La Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City) is in the federal district and is the country's capital and its most populous city. Despite the political and social challenges that have occurred over the centuries, evidence of past cultures and events are apparent everywhere in Mexico. Many of its rural areas are still inhabited by indigenous people whose lifestyles are quite similar to those of their ancestors. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world in number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The fourth largest city and the capital of the state of Puebla, Puebla City is recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It offers an experience of both historic and modern sites that surround its rich historic center, called El Zocalo. Modern sites such as the observatory La Estrella de Puebla, various museums that are dedicated to the sciences and the arts, and over 26 institutions dedicated to higher education are found throughout the city. Puebla is home to an astonishing number of churches, they can be found nearly on every corner. Locals often say there are 365 churches in the area- one for every day of the year. The most famous of these churches is El Templo de Santo Domingo, home to La Capilla del Rosario regarded by many as one of the man made world wonders of the modern world due to its intricate gold décor. La Biblioteca Palafoxiana, the oldest public library in Latin America can also be found in Puebla.
The gastronomy of Puebla is as rich as its art and history. Puebla is the birthplace of some of Mexico’s most renowned cuisine. The fusion of Indigenous and European flavors make dishes in the region makes every dish unique and unforgettable. These dishes include Mole Poblano- chicken covered in a spicy chocolate sauce; chiles en nogada- a fried chili pepper stuffed with local ingredients and covered in a walnut sauce; cemitas- a bread roll filled with meat, avocado, cheese, and a spicy sauce, tacos arabes- tacos made with pita bread instead of a tortilla.
A historical highlight of the city and a familiar tie to a well celebrated but misunderstood event in the United States is Cinco de Mayo. In 1852 when Mexico was at war France, the Mexican General Ignacio de Zaragoza fortified the Cerro de Guadalupe in Puebla against the French invaders. On May 5th 1862 against all odds 2000 of General Zaragoza’s men fended off an attack from over 6000 French soldiers. This battle has great significance in the city of Puebla but has little recognition within the country of Mexico as a whole. Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken as Mexico’s Independence Day and has been used to commemorate Mexican heritage in the United States.