Mezquitic, Jalisco, May 30, 2007 – “Today, I had the opportunity to visit four Huichol communities in the Sierra de Jalisco and witness partnership and change in action. Indigenous rural teachers who struggle with limited resources―but with skill and unlimited commitment―are changing their communities and transforming children’s lives.
“Two of the schools I visited today are taught by indigenous teachers Agueda Arellano and Juan Salvador Diaz who studied for one year at colleges in the U.S. under the auspices of the Training, Internships, Exchanges and Scholarships (TIES) program. Arnulfo Ramirez Melendez from the school in Tecolote, Jalisco has been selected to receive a TIES scholarship and will study next year in California.
“These TIES scholarships demonstrate our commitment to the most marginalized areas of Mexico. Education is key for the development of these Huichol communities, and we are proud to continue providing support to teachers and students who deserve a brighter future.
“The specialized training these educators receive through TIES strengthens their abilities to teach in bilingual indigenous communities. Juan Salvador’s classes are now more dynamic, his students participate more, and he has learned to use teamwork to organize courses and workshops. He is sharing these tools with his fellow teachers.
“Juan Salvador and many of the other recipients of TIES scholarships met with President Bush during his trip to Merida. President Bush was so impressed by their experiences that, in a press conference with President Calderon, he praised TIES and insisted that our government continue support for the program.
“Today, I was accompanied by senior officials from the Education Secretariat and the Department of Indigenous Education of the state of Jalisco who are key partners with TIES. I want to thank them and their organizations that contribute to the success of these programs.
“I especially want to thank the Huichol communities for an extremely warm welcome, for their insights on rural education, and for generously sharing their culture.”