Via Voices



Dear Friends:
I invite you to join me for a new round of VIA VOICES, the Tuesday 12 noon interview program hosted on ZOOM.  If you are not yet receiving the weekly emails that include the information needed to join, you can sign up here.
This month we will be taking a deep dive into the three broad areas of Via International's work - Community Development, Global Education and the US-Mexico Borderlands.

On Tuesday, January 12, I look forward to interviewing Rigoberto Reyes & Elisa Sabatini about the history of Via International and its sister organization, Los Niños de Baja California.  We'll also review the evolution of Via's Community Development work, from a model of "asistencialismo" to the current model of integrated, sustainable community development, rooted in the leadership of local "promotoras."  I also look forward to introducing you to Aida Amador and others who are leading a program called Via Migrante through which Via's proven model of community development is being piloted in various populations of migrants and deportees in Tijuana.


On Tuesday, January 19, Jim Gerber -- who retired last year from his position as Professor of Economics and Latin American Studies at SDSU -- will interview Elisa and Rigo about the past, present and future of Via's work in Global Education.  The way Via has talked about this work has evolved across the years - from "voluntourism" to "solidarity travel" to "global education." But the essentials of the program have remained the same -- to learn from local leaders and engage directly in the work of sustainable community development. We will also check in with some of the people who are piloting a new program of virtual immersion for educational institutions and faith-based pilgrimages.

On Tuesday, January 26, Rigo Reyes will host the conversation as we turn our collective attention to the questions: why do some gringos fall in love with the US-Mexico borderlands and why should gringos care?  Elisa, Jim and I will share something of our own personal journeys, but we will also open up the conversation to others.  We've learned over the past many months that our ZOOM room fills up with an extraordinary group of people, kindred spirits in this struggle.  Please join us!

The VIA VOICES programming will continue to be live streamed to the Facebook page of the VIA CAFE, and sessions will continue to be archived at our YouTube channel.  But I do hope you will join me on Tuesdays at 12 noon for the energy of these live conversations. 

As we begin this New Year, and under extraordinary circumstances, I invite you to join me in affirming our interconnectedness with one another.  We launched the VIA CAFE last spring in hopes of helping people "connect across borders" even during this extreme circumstance of global pandemic.  We are pleased that the cafe is fulfilling this purpose, and hope that you will avail yourself of its many offerings.  Browse any time, or drop in weekdays 8 - 11 am for a live chat or ZOOM call with the cafe's Tijuana-based host Robert Vivar, who is always glad to tell you more about what's happening on the border.

In solidarity,

John Fanestil


Beginning in February, we will be lifting up voices from within Via's extensive network of relationships from the San Diego/Tijuana borderlands and beyond:

  • On the first Tuesdays of the month, Via's President/CEO Elisa Sabatini will help us explore themes related to Global Education.

  • On the second Tuesdays of the month,  Via's Program Director Rigoberto Reyes will help us explore themes related to Community Development.

  • On the third Tuesdays of the month, Via Board Member James Gerber will help us explore themes related to the San Diego/Tijuana Borderlands

  • On the fourth Tuesday of the month, we will open up the conversation and tap the Wisdom in the (ZOOM) Room.

If you have suggestions for a guest, please share them here



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Click the photo to see the full interview ...

or visit our YouTube page to view the entire Via Voices Archive.