INTERVIEW; NY, NY; Latin America Lead; UEF Exec Dir.
UEF:Where do you live, what are some things that make the place unique?
MG: I am a third culture kid. The definition of home is really where family is...and family is everywhere as well as the places I consider home. I am engaging in UEF pilot programs for São Paulo, NYC, DC, Caracas, Cartagena, Santa Marta, San Jose, and San Juan. I'm more of the one overseeing the development and management of the projects, as well the development of a unity of thought for all these to work out at the same time. Macro-management and analyses are my strengths.
UEF: How do you feel about risks, people might say this is a risky area. Do you ever feel vulnerable here? Where? In what way?
MG: I am VERY afraid of the risks associated with the work UEF does. I try to choose pilot programs that are safe to the various backgrounds and nationalities we have under our wing. We have Americans, Europeans, Latin Americans from different ideological backgrounds and ideas, as well as disciplines working with us, and we must try to embrace multiculturalism and a polarity of thoughts in very dangerous places. Often times, the most appealing UEF quality is being humble, trying one's best to understand others, and engaging with politeness and cordiality. I find these values the most important when working in dangerous places.
As a third culture kid, I am vulnerable everywhere because I'm always the new kid on the block, but with that vulnerability I have learned to stay quiet or get along, depending on the situation. I've had my fair share of very challenging moments in my life, which I hope to describe in a memoir, but for now what I can say I feel extreme vulnerability and hope to make that a strength.
UEF: Do you ever need help? Do you ever ask for help from others? Do you ever delegate?
MG:It's my job to delegate and to ask for a lot of help. I manage recruitment, branding, communications strategy, grant writing, publishing, creative curating, public relations and research & development. I must delegate to get this all done, and to do so I have to find a lot of peace of mind to be able to focus and get in sync with the correct priorities, setting up schedules and plans in different countries with various conflicting national issues. It's a challenge and I rise to every occasion, being as honest and transparent with UEF's mission and intentions as possible.
UEF: what's your relationship to your neighbors? Do you ever teach? Hang out?
MG:I am teaching self-healing through mandalas. It's a way for chronic risk zones engage with internal connection of self. Through mandala workshops, we allow citizens of a community to heal through connection of color, painting and the development of mandalas over time. We then transfer these into urban designs in landscape architecture and try to bring in science, whereby we manage water, clean water and then create mechanisms of underground water management and control that can intake floods and flows. Managing water through plants and flower beautification of barrios, I transfer internal planning/healing of psychosocial issues into exterior neighborhood design and then transform these into flower paths, engineering water hydraulics, piping, and the prevention of mudslides and the development of beautiful parks and art spaces.
UEF: Do you ever celebrate? Can you give me some examples of celebration in a day, in daily life? How about big celebrations that you help with or organize?
MG: Yeah, I'm Latina, Hispanic, metisiza and love music, dancing and free flow of energy. I love to talk to others and connect. Ironically though I also like solitary time for myself in order to regain peace of mind and order my life. Order is important to me, as is programmatic and systematic progress. Again being a third culture kid, I feel I need some order in the mayhem of changes that have been the root of my life. I love meeting people and trying to make a small get together, and love cooking up a storm, invite people over to entertain at home. I consider myself a good mover...meaning I can move mountains and people with the passion I feel I have in my interior. I love finding strategy in communications, creative outlets, and curating storyboards as well as creating a sustainable way of living. Just had to say that last point as it got lost above.