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Exploring the World’s End with a Nobel Laureate: IUP professors visit Guatemala City to witness the prophesied end of the world

By Lydia Rodríguez and Francisco Alarcón
Translations by and photos courtesy of Lydia Rodríguez

While in the center of the Mayan world, Lydia Rodríguez and Francisco Alarcón also hoped to interview 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and political activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

Business as Usual?

Editor's Note: Professors Lydia Rodríguez, Foreign Languages, and Francisco Alarcón, Mathematics, headed to Guatemala late last year for two reasons: to explore what some interpreted as the Mayan prediction that the world would end December 21 and to interview 1992 Nobel Peace Prizewinner and political activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum. After six months of attempting to arrange the interview, the professors arrived in Guatemala still not knowing if the meeting would be granted. Following is their firsthand account.

"It's the end of the world" -- so the newspapers, Internet, even TV commercials all claimed that the Mayan prophecies stated. Theories spun out of control from serious academic discussions to the most outrageous Mayan fanatics' ideas. People jokingly, but in a sense seriously, would ask us if in fact the world was really going to end. To our intellectual reading and studies of the Mayan prophecies, this claim was a fallacy. But, could there be some truth to it?


Lydia Rodríguez and Francisco Alarcón at the Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City. A marimba (xylophone), the national instrument of Guatemala, is being played in the background.

Whether the world was going to blow up or continue the same, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in the place where it could all happen, which is in the heartland of the Maya. According to the Maya, the beginning of the world is in Guatemala. We had to travel to the center of the Mayan world to witness up front the so-called end of the world. Our mission was to uncover the truth behind the end of the world myth. We are teachers, researchers, and culture adventurers who believe that the best way to experience culture is by traveling to the site, no matter how scary, strange, or different it may be. It is in breaking down the boundaries that we have made many friends around the world. We encourage alumni and students to venture out and visit places that may be foreign to them, whether in the US or abroad.

We flew from Pittsburgh to Guatemala City a few days before December 21, 2012, the so-called catastrophic date. Just as we had flown to witness the end of the world, scads of people from around the world did so, too. The Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City was bustling with foreigners scrambling to find a taxi or a shuttle bus to take them to their Mayan destination to make their own discoveries.

The day after our arrival, we were pumped up about finding the events and attending as many as possible. We went down our checklist as we normally do -- cameras, pen, paper, backpack, glasses -- and then we hit the streets of the large city of Guatemala. Business seemed as usual.

We wandered downtown to zona 1 (zone 1), where the Palacio Nacional (National Palace) is located. Surely we would see or hear some news of any events or, at the very least, make inquiries at the Ministerio de Cultura (foundation established for the preservation and cultural identity of the country). The farther we walked, the more we came to realize the Guatemalans in the city seemed lighthearted about the whole notion of the end of the 13th Baktun. Christmas festivities took shape, but no mention of the end of the world. Bizarre, we thought. Could the Tortuguero  stela have been misinterpreted in terms of years? Maybe the end of the world was to take place in 2014? We sat down at a café to review our zero findings of the events. There, sipping on a cup of Guatemalan highland Joe and reading a local newspaper, we found news on "spiritual ceremonies" in preparation of the end of the 13th Baktun.

Guatemalans in the city were too busy dealing with the day-to-day living. Many either had no idea of the importance of December 21, or had a misconception, or just didn't care -- as one very wealthy Guatemalan lady told us, "Ya me tienen harta con su 13Baktun." (I've had enough of their 13th Baktun). We snickered at the response. We should have known how the upper class would have responded.

It was in the local paper, under the culture section, where mention of 13th Baktun appeared. The papers did not speak of the end of the world; rather, they spoke of spiritual ceremonies celebrating the end of the 13th Baktun and the dawn of a new age. According to the newspaper, all of these ceremonies would take place at the many and different Mayan ceremonial centers in the country. To attend the archaeological sites, people had to travel to the many locations, such as Tikal, Uaxactún, Quiriguá, Tak'alik Ab'aj, Ixmiche, Santiago de Atitilán, Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango, Antigua, and Izapa. "Oh boy!" we thought. These sites are close, but not close enough to drive from one location to another in one or two hours. Aside from that, the roads that connect the vast number of archaeological sites are small, some under construction with potholes, and highly trafficked. Not to mention, they were all jam-packed with tourists who also wanted to witness the coming of age of the new sun.


More from the Summer 2013 Issue of IUP Magazine

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Unheralded and (Almost) Unbeatable


Men's rugby had one of its finest seasons in program history, played out on a national stage


Message from the President


"The stories in this edition provide focus.... a snapshot of what IUP has been and what we must become next."


Distinguished Alumni Awards


Ten alumni were honored with 2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards at an April gala.


Namedroppers | Mentors | Achievements 


 Photo Gallery | Letters to the Editor | In Brief


Saviors at Sea


Nurse Eva Jane Savel Bolents treated survivors of the most tragic naval event of World War II


The Next Chapter


IUP celebrated the start to its new chapter with the inauguration of President Michael Driscoll


International Study: The Transformative Experience


The benefits of study abroad are vast, but the cost can be prohibitive. A scholarship fund was established to help.


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Dawn of a New Age

We decided to remain in the city and go to the archaeological site Kaminaljuyu located on zona 7 (zone 7). It was the morning of December 21. We awoke earlier than ever with an adrenaline rush, and we quickly took a lukewarm shower, ate some fruit, and drank some Guatemalan Cobán coffee. Before we knew it, our taxi was outside, honking its horn at full blast for us to come out. It was around 11:00 a.m. when we arrived at the archaeological site Kaminaljuyu. The site was overflowing with people. Being it was in Guatemala City, it was easy for city people as well as tourists to visit. The Guatemalan government has fenced in what is exposed of the great city of Kaminaljuyu. Outside of the fenced-in ruins were a lot of military men with rifles, making sure order was in place. At the entrance gates, there were other guards with serious-looking stone faces. These guards searched everyone who was entering the ruins. After we were thoroughly searched, the guards said, "Pasen" (go in).


Spiritual ceremonies, such as this one in Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala, celebrated the end of the 13th Baktun and the dawn of a new age, December 21, 2012.

Once inside the archaeological zone, there were many activities taking place and many that had already ended. The ceremonial activities had started at 5:00 a.m. The events were to wish farewell to the 13th Baktun, el abuelo sol (grandpa sun), as the Maya called it, and welcome the new era of the Maya. It was like the Iowa State Fair, with gazillions of people, and everywhere you looked, something was taking place. The abuelo sol was out and toasty and a light breeze filled the air. The spiritual guides and Mayan descendants wore white shirts, pants, or skirts, with their colorful embroidered motifs on their sleeve and leg cuffs. Some wore embroidered vests, and others wore a head wrap. The ancient Mayas had to have been in good shape since there were a lot of hills and labyrinth-like paths on the site. We roamed less than a tenth of what was once Kaminaljuyu. It was a good workout for the day.

Back in its day, Kaminaljuyu was one of the most successful and prosperous Mayan cities in the central valley of the highlands. Its foundation dates back as early as 600 B.C. Then it was suddenly abandoned around 800 A.D. The city occupied what is now the zona 7 (zone 7) and zona 11 (zone 11) of modern Guatemala City. We were able to visit the parts of the ruins that were left. One section is submerged underground, and only parts of it are exposed. We walked around the constructed area that allowed the viewing of the ancient city remnants. The remains were carefully built staircases with door openings to large rooms. It resembled a modern house built of adobe and washed with stucco. Sadly the archaeological site is covered with mounds of rolling green hills, and only pieces of the city of Kaminaljuyu peak out. Time and vegetation have settled in, taking over the site.

In the archaeological site, there were religious practices taking place with huge bonfires. Around the bonfires were spiritual guides dancing, praying, and welcoming the new age. There were also smaller circle-like fires with candles and incense scattered all over the site. I asked one of the Mayan ladies present what they were for, and she said, "Es la purificación" (it's the purification), with a smile. In one of the local newspapers we had read days before, the purifying of the sacred locations with the Mayan rituals marked the change of what was known as the 13th Baktun and the beginning of a new Mayan cycle of 5,125 years. The 13th Baktun was being called "Oxlaju Ak'aba," which means the new dawn, according to the first secretary of the National Council of Mayan Ancestral Authorities, Alberto Marroquín.


Music and dancing were a key part of the ceremonies in Kaminaljuyu celebrating the end of the 13th Baktun.

It was quite a mystical experience being among the smoke, the incense, and the music. Mayan spiritual cleansing was taking place. People lined up to be brushed with herbs while standing, then swept with incense smoke while kneeling. The last part was being pushed by the spiritual guide. We weren't quite sure what the pushing part meant. I didn't want to ask and offend someone, so we opted out of the cleansing. Whatever energy we had we would have to work on it the best we could in the new era of the Maya. An eye-catching activity was the readings of the Mayan birthdates. We were not quite sure what this consisted of, as there were lots of people hovering over the tables where the Mayan day keepers, or what appeared to be day keepers, were located.

The music and the dances were quite pleasant. There was the Marimba Teclas de Oro band. The main instrument that stood out was the marimba (xylophone). The marimba is the national instrument of Guatemala, and it was the same instrument that was playing at the airport when we arrived. It is a unique sounding instrument. It makes sounds when wooden planks are hit against a series of graduated wooden bars on top of resonators. It is like many wooden flutes in a way. The marimba band had other members playing wooden flutes and drums. The band played music that attempted to imitate native music. The dance presentations that followed had a twist of native and present day ballet.

In the midst of all of the Mayan rituals that were taking place and other activities, there were those who were not spiritual guides or day keepers. They had set up shop selling souvenirs of the event. Flashbacks of Rigoberta Menchú Tum's conversation came to us in that moment. Tum had told us that she had told the press, "This event has been used by many companies to market the 13th Baktun." The clash of cultures and ideologies came together. We wondered if such commercialization was taking place at the other archaeological sites. It was nice to see that among those present at Kaminaljuyu were a good number of Guatemalans from the city and not just foreigners. Guatemalans grow up in the Mundo Maya but are not taught the rich culture of the Mayas. The large number of people in attendance at the spiritual rituals demonstrated that Guatemalans want to learn more about their ancestors.

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Quest to Interview a Nobel Laureate

Although the spiritual ceremonies were intriguing, the best part of the trip was yet to come. I had the bright idea of "wouldn't it be neat if we could interview Rigoberta Menchú Tum, the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1992." She lived in Guatemala. I was almost sure she would be in the country because of the end of the 13th Baktun.


Rigoberta Menchú Tum and her husband, Angel Camil, during an event at her weekend home outside of Guatemala City on December 20, 2012.

Before leaving for Guatemala, we began flirting with the idea of an interview in May 2012. In June 2012, we took our first steps toward making contact with Tum. First, we attempted to find an e-mail address for her on the Internet, which was not to be found. Search after search rendered us further from our goal. Then, we decided it might be good to look into past Guatemalan history to see who had been in close contact with her in Guatemala as a public political personality. The public political person may be easier to reach. This step took us about a month of searching.

We found out that the former minister of Finances in Guatemala, Lic. (attorney) Raquel Zelaya, was present at the signing of the peace agreement in Guatemala in 1996, and she knew Tum and her personal secretary. We e-mailed Zelaya, now in private economic consulting, asking if she could petition on our behalf an interview with Tum. We explained to Zelaya who we were and sent her our curriculum vitae. This process took another three to four months. Needless to say, Zelaya e-mailed Tum and copied us. The person who responded was Tum's personal secretary, Aury Cuxé. From September until December 2012, we were in direct communication with Cuxé. It was not an easy task to obtain an interview; e-mails went back and forth. It was clear from the get-go that Cuxé was Tum's gatekeeper. There was a yes, then a no, then a maybe so. It was a roller coaster of a ride.

Once in Guatemala, word got out that we were trying to obtain an interview with Tum. Lawyers, secretaries, businessmen, and others stepped in to make the interview happen. We called all of them political go-betweens. They were all very much politically connected in one way or another with the government and with Tum. Our effort soon became a community-based endeavor to help materialize our interview with the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1992.

We were so impressed that there were people who didn't even know us and yet they were working very hard to make our goal possible. Not only was there the hype, on our part, about the end of the 13th Baktun, but the ambiguity of the Tum interview added to our hype and suspense. All of our Guatemalan activities were in hiatus until we heard from Tum or Cuxé. That meant a lot of sitting by the phone and checking in with our political go-betweens every day and carrying a cell phone at all time in case the call came. It was like an Alfred Hitchcock film, only we were in it.


Francisco Alarcón and Lydia Rodríguez, right, talked briefly with Rigoberta Menchú Tum following a series of lectures at her weekend home near Guatemala City on December 20, 2012.

On December 19 at 10:00 a.m., Cuxé called on behalf of Tum, inviting us to a special ceremonial event that would take place on December 20 at one of Tum's weekend homes outside of Guatemala City. In her invitation, she suggested we would "possibly" have the interview there if Tum was not too tired of the day's events. Excitement and nervous energy began to swirl within us. Our driver was to take us approximately 30 minutes outside of Guatemala City, then turn right on an unpaved road and veer to the right until we reached the weekend home.

We had no idea what to expect, so we did as we were told, and sure enough, there was the house with many armed men outside guarding the property. "Vinimos a entrevistar a la Dra.; la srita Cuxé nos invitó," (We've come to interview Dr. Tum. Ms. Cuxé invited us,) we told the guards. They let our car go through. When we arrived, we realized that the event was by invitation only and was not open to the public or any media. We felt honored. There were other guests from around the world: Sweden, Mexico, Italy, France, the US, and so on. It was like the United Nations. As we continued to enter the patio/yard of the weekend home, there were many indigenous people hustling and bustling around in their bright hues of yellows, reds, and blues. They were putting up awnings, dusting off chairs, running back and forth preparing what appeared to be a big event. Cuxé came out of the house and greeted us. She informed us that la Dra. was not ready for the interview as she was preparing for the event to take place later that afternoon. "No pueden tomar fotos," (You can't take pictures), she told us before she went back inside. We sat there waiting, wondering what was going to happen. If not the interview, what was everyone running and preparing for? And how many people were to come? As 5:00 p.m. approached, more and more people began arriving and sitting under the awning where a temporary stage was being created. Soon Martita, Tum's niece, came out to greet us and asked us to join the event that was to take place under the awnings. The event that started at 5:00 was a series of Mayan lectures presented by spiritual leaders and Tum herself. The two-hour lectures were followed by the showing of a new film titled Renacimiento de los Mayas (the Renaissance of the Mayas). The English version is still in the making. The producers, Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff, had traveled from California to present the Spanish version for the first time to the invited guests. The producers gave us a copy of the special edition that was played that night, and we felt privileged to receive it.

Unfortunately, the events ended on December 20 around 9:00 p.m., and Tum became busy attending to all of her guests. We were fortunate that we were able to sit down with her for 15 minutes that day to lobby briefly face-to-face with la Dra. for a one-on-one interview.

"I'm traveling between December 22 and December 26 and then again from January 2 to January 15," she told us. Our jaws dropped with sorrow. Did that mean she was saying no, though the word never came up? How could it be that we were so close to her and yet unable to interview her? But "in between these dates," she said, "let's see what we can do." There was hope. It was 10:00 p.m. and Tum had red, watery eyes and she was yawning. She informed us that she and her staff had been up since 4:00 a.m. getting ready for that evening's event and the events that would take place on December 21. She politely stated that she was not in any condition at that moment to give an interview because "no tengo cabeza" (I don't have a clear head), meaning she was exhausted. She invited us to stay and join her and the others to eat some tamales (a dish made from corn dough and wrapped in plantain leaves) and drink atole (a hot beverage made from corn dough) or coffee. Both of these items are very traditional indigenous foods dating back to Pre-Columbian times. We walked out with Tum to the back patio and joined her and her guests for a cup of hot atole, realizing that an interview would not take place that night.

When Tum does give interviews, they are usually not one-on-one. Therefore, getting an interview from her made it even more desirable to attain what many considered impossible.   

We returned to Guatemala City wondering if we were ever going to be able to interview Tum. The following day was December 21, the infamous catastrophic date everyone predicted. We decided to remain in the city close to phone lines in case an invitation for an interview was extended to us. We still had hope. Therefore, on December 21, we were up and on our way to the spiritual ceremonies at Kaminaljuyu, trying to remain in the city.

On the morning of December 27, we received a phone call from our political go-betweens saying that Tum had agreed to the personal interview. She had extended a personal invitation to her home in Mixco, Guatemala.


Lydia Rodríguez, left, during an interview with Rigoberta Menchú Tum on December 28, 2012, at Tum's home in Mixco.

"No way!" we thought. "Could this really be happening?" We scrabbled to get all of our interview materials together: notepads, numerous pens, recorders, cameras, etc. Once again down the checklist we went. Our instructions were to be escorted to her house. The following day, December 28, a chauffeur picked us up. In the 20- to 30-minute drive, I tried envisioning how to start the conversation: "Hello, I'm the pest. You know, the one who has been bugging you for months." Or, "Hello, it's a pleasure meeting you. ..." Thoughts ran rampant, without any cohesive logic. How can I be so close to the Nobel laureate and not have a decent introductory sentence?

There we were with our escorts on her patio behind large steel doors hidden from the public. Within minutes, the glass doors to the house opened and out walked Tum. She walked toward us with a friendly smile, dressed in her traditional Mayan clothing. Before sitting down, she greeted us with a handshake. I guess I was just stunned. I could not believe we were in the Nobel laureate's home for a genuine interview. "Is this for real? Or, am I daydreaming." I found myself blank of thoughts. "Earth to Lydia, you need to get started. Remember the purpose. Focus!" I thought. Meanwhile, Tum had sat down, still with a soft smile on her face. She stated to us, "A ver en qué les puedo ayudar?" (Let's see here, how can I help you?). In that split second, I managed to gather a half-decent sentence to begin a dialogue, "Dra., muchas gracias por esta entrevista. …" (Dr., thank you very much for this interview), and I quickly pulled out the sheet of questions for her to look over in case she did not feel comfortable answering any. Her response was, "Tú dale, pregunta todo lo que quieras," (Go for it; ask all the questions you want), not even glancing at the sheet of questions. With her response, she broke the ice of anxiety and we felt more at ease with her. I turned on the small recorder and the interview began but quickly turned into a conversation.

Tum is a very charismatic and down to earth. She began joking with us, laughing as though we were her longtime friends that she had not seen in quite some time. We felt very comfortable with her. We asked questions, conversed, and let her talk. We did a great deal of listening as she had a lot to say. After an hour and a half of conversation, Martita came out. I knew it was time to wrap up the interview/conversation. We thanked Tum for the extended time she gave us, snapped some shots with her, and lastly she dedicated and autographed some books for us. We left her house and headed back to Guatemala City. On our way back, we were still trying to absorb the fact that we actually had an interview with Rigoberta Menchú Tum, who graciously donated an hour and a half of time in her house. We were there!

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The Interview: ‘Something Inspirational’

The initial meaning of interviewing Tum was to obtain firsthand her input on the 13th Baktun. We wanted her perspective as a Mayan. Tum was more than qualified to provide this information, as she was born in a Mayan Quiché community and was brought up with all of the traditions. We wanted to know what she thought of how others were interpreting the end of the 13th Baktun. Then, the purpose became more desirable when our struggle to obtain an interview became more challenging. Tum is a highly guarded and high profile woman. We did not realize to what extent until we began the process.


Rigoberta Menchú Tum signed books for Lydia Rodríguez and Francisco Alarcón following their interview at her home in Mixco.

The meaning of the interview slowly changed when seeking the opportunity and speaking to the actual person, and putting memoirs, history, and stories together. We were truly able to make a decision for ourselves, and not be swayed by other authors' writings, that she was genuinely a competent leader. The meaning morphed into something inspirational and enlightening.

We had read most all that had been written about Tum. She had gone from childhood poverty to being ostracized and exploited by her own government. Then, she was exiled from her country as she became a nonviolent political activist. With her limited education, she made a tremendous impact, revealing to the outside world the atrocities to the indigenous people that were taking place in Guatemala during the 1970s and '80s. It took tremendous strength, courage, and will power for a woman from a developing country to publicly and peacefully demand dignity and respect for the Mayan people in Guatemala. Her leadership within nonviolent actions earned her the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize.

Tum has achieved worldwide success and has made the history books, but her humble demeanor would have you believe she is your best friend whom you hadn't seen in years. She is articulate and well-versed in politics and passionate about maintaining peace among peoples. There is not in her a drop of boastfulness, arrogance, or dismissive nature; au contraire, it was her earnest, up-front personality that will remain in our memory.


Lydia Rodríguez, left, with Rigoberta Menchú Tum. With her humble demeanor, Tum seemed almost like an old friend, Rodríguez said.

Among the topics she discussed in the interview were education, politics, her private life, and the museum she is planning to build in Guatemala to house her Nobel Peace Prize medal.

"The goal is six years to complete it," she said. "Afterward, I hope that in six years we are ready to bring the medal from Mexico to Guatemala. I want all of this so that I can tie it to global education."

Tum said that before bringing the medal to Guatemala, she will need to obtain a presidential decree that must pass through Guatemala's senate.

"It's not just the medal -- it is all of the prizes that I have received that are located in Mexico and that I want to be part of the museum."

Many Guatemalans -- lawyers, businesspeople, and others -- were surprised and impressed that we had obtained the actual interview. Everyone wanted to know how we had managed to get it. To this day, we still can't believe it. We are very thankful to all of those who made this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity come true. This interview was made possible because of the many people who were involved: the former minister of Finances, Tum's personal secretary, political go-betweens, chauffeurs, Tum's delightful niece Martita, and of course, Tum herself. 

The interview, currently in editorial production, will be forthcoming in publications.

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In Conclusion

Guatemala offers a magical cultural experience between modernity and antiquity. Traveling to different parts of the world has allowed us to understand people from diverse backgrounds and cultures and respect them as a people, but most of all to teach us a deeper meaning of life and understand ourselves. Global adventures and communicating with the various people that we have come in contact with have taught us that people are people as they are everywhere. They may dress and eat differently, but they are still people. They may speak and perform their duties differently, but we are all one, human beings.


A Guatemalan woman uses a backstrap loom in Kaminaljuyu.

Our mission in our adventures is to increase education, through the research of writing and exploring the world. Our teaching on the Mundo Maya is current in the thoughts, issues, and events in Guatemala and Mexico.

We intend to empower our students with Tum's words. Her insights provide a fresh perspective on traditional literary reads. As a marginal voice, she urges the reader to think critically between social and personal aspects of identity, while drawing on issues of real people in the present-day global community. The intended methodology is to assign the reading, have an open classroom discussion about the transcribed and translated parts, and then write a reflection paper in English or in Spanish, dependent on the course's target language. The learning goal is to include an influential global leader, explore a diverse culture and traditions, and hone critical thinking and verbal and written skills.

Our main task in this adventure turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. The key elements that made the interview possible were perseverance, patience, and believing in ourselves, which resulted in others' believing in us. We hope that 2013 is the year of continuing discovery for us and for all of our students and alumni. Borders may define our physical limits, but not our limitations. Let go and venture out to whatever your passion may be.

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Opportunities for Students and Alumni


Francisco Alarcón and Lydia Rodríguez in Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala offers a rich indigenous culture that is very much alive. History comes to life visiting various archaeological sites and colonial structures, hence, the many years that have shaped Guatemala. The colonial capital of Antigua offers wonderful language schools for those interested in learning Spanish or taking cooking classes on Guatemalan cuisine. The language schools are supposed to be the cheapest in the continent. Most if not all of the language schools have homestay, which is included in the price. For more information on Antigua, see our 2009 article in IUP Magazine, " In Search of the Maya in a Land of Contrasts: Guatemala."

For those who would prefer a guided tour of archaeological sites, visit the Maya Exploration Center. Ed Barnhart is an experienced archaeologist and explorer who takes groups to the Mayan world in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The Casa Herrera in Antigua is an extension of the Department of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, which offers workshops and courses on the study of Pre-Columbian art, archaeology, and history. For more information, see the Mesoamerica Center.  Lastly, the Latin American studies minor at IUP offers courses on Mesoamerica. And, a good summer read is I Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, edited and introduced by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, but get ready to break out the Kleenex box.

With numbers of tourists from around the world, it is evident that travel to Guatemala is safer than ever, and archaeological and tourist sites are more accessible than they have ever been. We invite students and alumni to reach out to us for guidance on traveling to the Mundo Maya or learning Spanish abroad.

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