“Too many people in our community tend to see Tijuana and Mexico as a scary place or a liability, rather than appreciating their extraordinary diversity, richness and complexity,” observes University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute Director David Shirk, PhD.
Dr. Shirk’s observation underscores the importance of the Institute’s two-pronged mission to promote border-related scholarship, activities and community at USD, and promote an active role for the university in the cross-border community.
One way the Trans-Border Institute (TBI) — housed within the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies — seeks to further its mission is through live events for the USD and greater San Diego communities. One such event, the annual Border Film Week, starts today and goes through March 31. The series consists of four films about U.S.-Mexico relations, thematically linked by their promotion of social justice. Each film will be accompanied by commentary and a question-and-answer period with a faculty expert, producer, or director.
The four films scheduled are:
• “Tijuaneados Anonimos,” which follows a discussion group that hashes out erosive issues in Tijuana (March 28, 6 p.m., Mother Rosalie Hill Hall’s Warren Auditorium);
• “Tijuana Jews,” which explores the little known Jewish community living in Tijuana, giving an insight into the blending of Mexican and Jewish cultures and customs (March 29, 6 p.m., Hahn University Center Forums A/B);
• “La Mama: An American Nun’s Life in a Mexican Prison,” which chronicles the story of Mother Antonia, a Beverly Hills socialite that gave up her privileged life to devote herself to serving criminals in a Mexican penitentiary (March 30, 6 p.m., Warren Auditorium);
• “On The Edge,” which covers the brutal murders of hundreds of poor young women in the border town of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (March 31, 6 p.m. Warren Auditorium).
Charles Pope, TBI assistant director, cites TBI’s Border Film Week as his favorite event of the year. While panel discussions and keynote addresses are important elements of a robust, scholarly environment that encourages intellectual curiosity, Pope appreciates the engaging and dynamic presentation of the facts that the medium of film provides. “It’s a more entertaining form of expression,” he said.
Pope also hopes, echoing Dr. Shirk, that Border Film Week raises “awareness and challenge people’s notions and perceptions of the border.”
Whether the films confirm or contradict viewers’ preconceptions is not as important as the mere fact that it gets them thinking about border issues.
— Jared Ruga ‘11
To learn more about USD’s Trans-Border Institute, click here.