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El Salvadoran Ambassador visits Sedona

Francisco Altschul, Ambassador to the U.S. from El Salvador

Francisco Altschul, ambassador to the U.S. from El Salvador, will speak in Sedona on Friday October 8 and Saturday October 9.  Altschul was a member of the FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front political party) and the government in exile in Mexico City during El Salvador’s 20-year civil war.  Now that the FMLN is in power, Ambassador Alschul represents the progressive government of El Salvador. His visit to Sedona  is an unprecedented opportunity for dialogue.

Altschul will speak on Friday, October 8 at 6:30pm at Brady Hall at Verde Valley School, 3511 Verde Valley School Road in the Village of Oak Creek.  He will focus on environmental and sustainability issues.  The award-winning documentary short “Teaching to Live” which spotlights the innovative curriculum of Hector Morales of the El Zapote school in El Salvador will be shown. 

Morales implemented a gardening project and has also taught the children to raise tilapia and shrimp.  The surplus is sold and the school is completely self-sustaining. This year, 12 students and 2 teachers from the Verde Valley School will travel to El Zapote for a hands-on field trip. There are now plans to start 28 more schools based on the El Zapote model in El Salvador.

The second talk will be Saturday, October 9 at 6pm, at the Sedona Public Library at 3250 White Bear Road in West Sedona. The Saturday talk is sponsored by the Cultural Diversity Council of the Verde Valley and is entitled “Building Communication and Cooperation Across the Americas.” 

The talk will focus on the ambassador’s strategies for the national government to address the needs of the Salvadoran people by raising the standard of living at home to lessen the need to migrate in order to support their families. There is no charge for the event. For information call 928-592-9288.


  1. Kids Lose Again in AZ says:

    WWHHAATT you must be kidding!???!! the verde valley school ranks among the lowest in the nation and they are going to el salvador for guidance?????? that’s right. that’s why they are the lowest in the nation because they look to el salvador for guidance. got it! somebody teaching at the school forgot that for generations our vo tech schools have taught agriculture, computer and car mechanics, housebuilding and other practical skills but the verde valley parents don’t want to check those schools out nearby and forget a fun vacation. why don’t those parents take the field trip money and build a damn greenhouse and pay for a couple of goats and donkeys to walk around the schoolyard?? now that’s true eco living and sustainability that’s been around this country for generations. yep-right-no vacation to south america for the parents and teachers. Arcosanti is too close.

  2. Lucille and Don, Flagstaff AZ says:

    Dear Kids lose again in Arizona,
    We agree with you, Sir. We couldn’t have said it better. We think the VV school should take the field trip money and go to a reservation and dig a well or build a windmill or solar panels on the school grounds or volunteer on a ranch to muck out stalls and or visit a local farm.VVS should have invited Arizona sustainability farmer’s market participants to address the school and go on site for field trip farm visits. The reason that the ambassador is coming to Sedona is the reason VVS is going to El Salvador–nice vacation at others expense. Lucille and Don, Flagstaff with a family of five well-educated in Arizona and employed adult children

  3. Rick says:

    I hope he takes back a few illegals with him when he returns to El Salvador!

  4. Marvel Stalcup says:

    The Verde Valley School is sponsoring the following event on Friday October 8 at 6:30 PM. The public is invited and refreshments will be served.

    Ambassador Francisco Altschul, El Salvador’s first liberal ambassador to the United States, is visiting Sedona to talk about sustainability and education. He will present “Teaching to Live” a short documentary by Oscar winning El Salvadoran filmmaker Andre Guttfreund. This touching film describes a teacher from El Salvador, who trains children to be self-sufficient environmentalists.

    Please visit http://www.myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=Hector_Morales_2009
    for additional information.

    From Highway 179 in the Village of Oak Creek take Verde Valley School Road to the end of the pavement (3.5 miles) and turn left onto the school grounds.

    The Cultural Diversity Council is sponsoring Ambassador Altschul’s talk at the Sedona library on Saturday October 9 at 6 PM. His talk is entitled “Building Cooperation and Communication Across the Americas” and will focus on ways El Salvador can meet the needs of its citizens.

  5. Jeanne Freeland says:

    To those criticizing the VVS field trip to El Salvador:
    1) I suggest you go the the “My Hero Project” website and check out the film “Teaching to Live.” The school is completely self-sustaining, and could serve as a model for schools in the U.S.

    2) This is not just a vacation for the VVS students. They will be working at the school building a basketball court, building partitions and painting a health clinic, etc., and will be housed with local families to learn how other people live. Cooperation arises from knowledge.

    3)The “others” at whose expense the VVS students will be going to El Salvador are their parents.

    4) Rick, you might want to attend the “Building Communication…” talk at the library on Saturday night. The whole point will be addressing the poverty and other problems in El Salvador in order that its citizens won’t feel the need to emigrate to the States to survive and support their families.

  6. Andre R. Guttfreund says:

    While I agree that a VVS field trip to work in the Hopi, Navojo or Zuni Reservations, to do projects which live on, after the students go away, is a great idea, and that to invite sustainability farmers to the school is also a wonderful suggestion(it has, however, discussed and is planning a V.V.S. community garden with the Verde Valley Food Council), it does not invalidate the value of the kids´life experience working at El Zapote school, and living with its students. The film ¨Teaching to Live¨has been used in presentations in the Verde Valley, in conjunction with the Verde Valley Food Council, Hector Morales and his projects, which have achieved what Foundations in the U.S. have called ¨spectacular¨results in a mere five year period, have inspired many here in the U. S. and our area, to get excited by the many values of ¨community gardens. In fact, Hector Morales won Hero of the Year in the Community Activist category in 2009 for his many accomplishments.

    At a time when xenophobia, and resentment, is rampant, an inexpensive and achievable model which builds bridges between a Latin American example and a local need, should be applauded. Isn´t self sufficiency, respect, accomplishment, (all with very little Government money involved), isn’t THAT, what we should all strive for?

    Why don’t you come and experience the 10 minute movie, and Ambassador Altschul, and THEN opine….I promise it will be worth your while……A.R.G.

    Dear Editor: I am curious: you wrote a nice piece on Ambassador Altschul’s visit, and the presentation of my film Teaching to Live, yet you neglected to mention that I am a resident in the area, a V.V.S. grad, class of 1964, and a Salvadoran film maker, who is also an Oscar winner… I moved here when I brought my son Sascha to V.V.S. (class of 2006) and was an active member of the local Restorative Justice Partnership for five years, and am active in the Cultural Diversity Committee. I can understand not mentioning all of that, but NONE of it? sincerely, and feeling only slightly slighted…..A.R.G.

  7. sedonaeye.com says:

    On Sat, Oct 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM, sedonaeye.com wrote:

    Dear Sir:
    We apologize for any perceived, and truly unintentional, slight. We used copy that was only slightly re-edited as provided by the VVS school. We applaud your accomplishments and thank you for bringing the “information lack thereof” to our attention. We immediately edited your comment to also include the aforementioned oversight, and appreciate the additional and necessary information to do so.
    Kind regards,
    sedonaeye.com Editor

  8. Andre R. Guttfreund says:

    thank you so much for your polite and respectful response…..cordially, A.R.G.

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