MIT Western Hemisphere Project Home Feedback Feedback Search Archives Meetings Courses Events About

About the MIT Western Hemisphere Project

The MIT Western Hemisphere project is a student group dedicated to promoting awareness and exploring issues of culture, politics, and the evironment in the Western Hemisphere. We host discussion series, lectures, and film showings. For more information please contact us at

Events: Spring 2009

Sacha Yaku sale

Supporting community to community water system development by selling art for water

Sacha Yaku Sale
NEW DATES: Thursday February 19th & Friday February 20th
9am - 5pm
Lobby 10 (map)

Or puchase online at:

For more information, please visit the Sacha Yaku Sale website.

Events: Fall 2008

BAU2: Business As Unusual, what does it look like?

Exploring the connections between food, climate, and poverty through a series of participatory art events

Connect with the ongoing student efforts of the MIT Western Hemisphere Project, Sustainability@MIT, and the Global Poverty Initiative to better understand how climate unites us all as members of the same amazing earth system with a responsibility to conserve earth's resources for balanced living. Come make art as a family through collage and printmaking on existing art, clothes, and recycled cloth bags with artist Cindy Snodgrass. To see the impact collaborative art can make, view the visually stunning images of the artist's previous projects like Water Blessing: Wings and Prayers We are all a working part of an intricate ecology. Together, we can imagine, nurture and grow a "substantial" art experience!

Family Weekend Event
Saturday October 18th
Z-center lobby (Building W35 map)

Additional painting opportunities
Contribute to the growing collaborative sculpture and paint a cloth bag to take home as part of Global Poverty Initiative's Poverty Week October 20th-24th.
Tuesday October 21st & Thursday October 23rd
Stata Center TSMC lobby map

Weisner Gallery opening for the Business as Unusual installation
Join us for free food, music, and conversation
Friday October 24th
Weisner Gallery, 2nd floor student center map

Cost: All events are free and open to the public
Sponsored by: The MIT Western Hemisphere Project, Sustainability@MIT, Global Poverty Initiative, Student Art Association, Undergraduate Association, ARCADE, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, School of Architecture and Planning, and Women's and Gender Studies Program.

US-Mexico Border Dynamics

with Veronica Leyva, native of Ciudad Juarez and staff member of the Mexico Solidarity Network

Sunday October 19th
MIT Student Center Room 306 (Twenty Chimneys) map

Veronica Leyva, a native of Ciudad Juarez, will speak about maquiladoras, immigration and struggles for land along the border, with particular emphasis on the Lomas de Poleo struggle. Veronica is the MSN staff person in Ciudad Juarez. She worked for seven years in maquiladoras and six years as a labor/community organizer before joining the MSN staff in 2004. She will discuss:

- Labor conditions in the maquiladoras
- Social consequences of Neoliberal globalization
- Violence, Narco-trafficking and the Femicides

Cost: The event is free and lunch is provided, but please RSVP to
Sponsored by: the Mexico Solidarity Network" and the MIT Western Hemisphere Project

Events: Spring 2008

A Fair Trade Chocolate Tasting

with Kallari Association: an organic, fair trade cocoa cooperative in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Friday April 4th
W20-201 map

A presentation and guided tasting of dark chocolate bars with Judy Logback, founder of Kallari Association

Most of the world's chocolate comes from cocoa plantations in Western Africa where cheap prices come at the cost of grave human rights and environmental abuses. But there is another way. Come learn about a fair trade, organic alternative: the Kallari Association, a cooperative owned and operated by 800 Cocoa farming families. The cooperative grows, ferments, and processes diverse varieties of Cocoa beans and manufactures their own line of dark chocolate bars in a local factory. By eliminating the middlemen, the cooperative is able to pay a premium price to the farmers and ensure that they continue to grow cocoa using their traditional organic methods and do not expand their production into new tracts of rainforest.

Learn how you can support this sustainable development success story while you are guided throught the subtle flavors of different bean varieties, fermenting methods, and ingredient ratios. Also learn about an opportunity to follow the Kallari chocolate production process from Bean to Bar with an AlliancExchange trip to Ecuador this summer.

MIT community: FREE
Non-MIT affiliates: $5 (cash at the door)

RSVP: You must RSVP to to reserve your place at the event. Send the e-mail from your MIT account to receive free entry.

Sponsored by:AlliancExchange, MIT Amnesty International, MIT Western Hemisphere Project, Share a Vital Earth

Forum on displacement, land reclamation and corporate power in Colombia

Thursday April 3rd
Building 4 Room 163 map

Colombia has the second largest internally displaced population in the world, second only to Sudan. Communities continue to be forcibly displaced, usually to make way for corporate interests including mineral mining and palm plantations for biofuels export to Europe. Eustaquio Polo, a Colombian land reclamation activist will discuss issues related to displacement, corporate power, and the struggle for human rights and justice in Colombia. Eustoquio has recently received death threats from government-backed paramilitaries. In this speaking tour he will share his first hand experiences and gain public exposure in the US to offer some protection when he returns to Colombia.

The event is free and open to the public

Sponsored by:MIT Western Hemisphere Project, Colombia Vive, Amnesty International

A Latin America conference in two parts

Sunday March 9th
Building 34 Room 101 map

PART 1: NAFTA failure and alternatives for the future, 2-4pm
While NAFTA has increased trade and benefited hemispheric multinational cooperations, it has not contributed significantly to hemispheric employment, has lowered environmental and labor standards, and increased inequalities in wealth and income. Now the emerging Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) threatens a hemispheric military and internal security state and a loss of local and regional control over natural issues.
Speakers: Carleen Pickard from the Council of Canadians, Hector Sanchez from Global Exchange's Mexico Program, and Manual Perez Rocha from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC

PART 2: Colombian Reality, Plan Colombia, and Stop the US-Colombian Trade Agreement
A discussion of the reality of Colombia--recent history, civil war, paramilitaries, including Plan Colombia, a US counterinsurgency war and program for neoliberal repression of democracy masquerading as a war on drugs. A presentation on the likely impacts of the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) and the role ofindividuals and organizations in stopping the CTPA.
Speakers: Maria Clemencia Ramirez from the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History and Luis Fernandez-Castro, a Colombian community organizer.

Sponsoring Organizations: Alliance for Democracy, Greater Boston Latin American and Carribbean Coalition (and its 6 member organizations), Massachusetts Global Action, Jobs for Justice, MIT Western Hemisphere Project, Global Exchange, American Friends Service Committee Project Voice, Grassroots International

The complete program guide is available for download here

Human Rights in Colombia

Tuesday February 25th
Latino Cultural Center W20-038 map
Basement of MIT's Student Center, 84 Massachusetts Ave

Diana Gomez is a courageous Colombian and active member of the organization Movimiento Hijos e Hijas por la Memoria y contra la Impunidad (Movement of Sons and Daughters for Memory and against Impunity). Her father was among the hundreds if not thousands of people assassinated or "disappeared" in Colombia since 2002. Diana Gomez has been active in women's movements in Colombia as well as el Movimiento de Hijos e Hijas, and organization that works overcome the polarization, violence, and exclusion in Colombian history and fight for human rights by sharing their experiences and the truth of the crimes committed against their family members.

Accessible by Kendall/MIT stop on the Red Line or the #1 bus line.
Sponsored by: Colomba Vive and the MIT Western Hemisphere Project

Events: Fall 2007

Fundraiser for Frecuencia Libre

Tuesday December 4th
Lobby 10, MIT
The community radio station "Frecuencia Libre" in Chiapas, Mexico serves as an forum for communication, discussion, and debate for indigenous communities in its broadcasting region. Recently, however, their transmitter broke and they are currently trying to raise the money they need ($1400) to buy a new one. Spherio and the MIT Western Hemisphere project have decided to help them out with their fundraising efforts by selling cookies and rolls in lobby 10 at MIT. Check out the website for Frecuencia Libre for more information.

The Trial

Wednesday October 10th
Building 4, room 149 map
A showing of a film documenting the trial of the "Cuban Five," five Cuban nationals currently serving life sentences for espionage in the United States. These men were not spying against the United States, but instead were infiltrating terrorist groups in Miami planning attacks against the government of Cuba. Their trial was held in the highly anti-Cuban district of Miami, Florida, where it would have been extremely difficult to have a fair trial. Co-sponsored by the July 26th Coalition .

Conversations with Juana Pacheco

Wednesday October 24th
Latino Cultural Lounge, Basement of MIT Student Center
oin special guest Juana Pacheco for a discussion of the Maya Cosmovision of the past,present and future. She will also be able to answer questions and share her knowledge of Mayan culture -- architecture, healing, pyramids, math, astronomy, and arts.
Juana Pacheco is a member of the Ancestral traditional Council of Ajq'ijab elders, the keepers of the Mayan Knowledge.

Immigrant Rights and the Other Campaign

Thursday November 8th
Building 56, room 114 map
Dinner Provided
The Mexico Solidarity Network brings Zapatista community organizers from Chiapas Mexico together with immigrant rights organizers here in the united states to discuss the issues of respect, rights, autonomy, on both sides of the border. Co-sponsored by the Mexico Solidarity Network .
Please RSVP to