Día 25 | 24 de septiembre
Today has been a day I’ve been waiting for ever since March 18, 2008; A day when I learned about this amazing city from one charismatic Mathematician turned Politician, Sergio Fajardo.
A lot of people have wondered, how I knew of/learned about Medellín, why I purposely chose one place to visit for this travel scholarship and why I decided to come to a place more known for it’s violent past that it’s bright future. The simple answer is because of Sergio.
During the Spring of 2008 I studied abroad in Florence, Italy through SU Abroad (Syracuse University’s Study Abroad program). It was here while attending the Semester’s main Symposium that I was formally introduced to Medellín.
Before I go on, I think it’s important to explain just how I decided to forego the IIT College of Architecture’s excellent Paris study abroad program for Syracuse’s. I first became aware of SU Abroad after visiting the university for a portfolio review back in 2003. Getting a chance to learn about the caliber and diversity of their Study Abroad program during my visit left a lasting impression on me. Long story short, after turning down Syracuse for Illinois Tech, I always knew I wanted part of my undergraduate experience to be with Syracuse and felt Study Abroad would be the best way.
Fast forward to Florence and the Symposium that eventually brought me to Medellín: The Political Dimension of Architecture. The Symposium had 3 main presenters followed by a round table discussion. Sergio was first up and gave an unforgettable presentation on the multi-leveled changes happening in Medellín.
It is from this sole presentation that I based my proposal for the Martin Roche Travel Scholarship.
From my scholarship essay
…At the end of his lecture at the symposium [Sergio] extended an invitation to the audience to come to Medellín and witness all the good that has come out of [the city’s] work.
My intention in applying for this scholarship is to take him up on his offer.
Although this was the first interview I tried to schedule upon being selected for Martin Roche, it’s been a difficult one to arrange, Sergio is an extremely busy man. Because of term limits Sergio served only one term as Mayor which concluded in 2008. Since then he’s been in the process of running for President of Colombia. He’s now living in Bogotá and is currently jet setting from one place to another meeting with the people of Colombia and colleagues in other countries. Sergio is so busy that I was squeezed into meeting him as he came back from Mexico, stopping in Medellín, en route to Bogotá, only in time to accept recognition of being selected, along with Alejandro Echeverri, as a recipient of the 2009 Curry Stone Design Prize. And if all that wasn’t enough, I also shared my interview time with another intregued academic, Marina Pérez de Arcos, a University of York student in town working on her thesis.
Prior to his video conference with Louisville, we had a chance to sit down Sergio at Parque Explora’s Studio Sala. Here are a few excerpts from our combined interview.
Sergio on returning to Medellín and getting involved in Politics
Sergio on influences… opening opportunities
Below, Serio and me…