On May 18th, 2022, the International School Network
visited the Embassy of the United Mexican States in Japan
to interview the Ambassador Her Excellency Ms. Melba Pria.
Her Excellency Ms. Pria mentioned that diversity is what unites
the nation. Mexicans are proud of being mixed and diverse.
Mexico has had many kingdoms; the Maya, Aztec, and Olmec.
They were conquered by the Spanish and were a colony of Spain
for a long time. During this colonization, Mexico became diverse
as they acquired different cultures and people.
They call this "Mestizaje" meaning mixture.
Additionally, the first two years of school in Mexico could be taught
in 35 languages. You can choose your mother language and later
start learning Spanish. Moreover, families and communities are
important common values in Mexico. A family not only consists
of your parents and siblings but also your grandparents.
Mexicans respect their elders and are very kind to people.
The Ambassador stated that there are three features of education in Mexico: Free, secure, and obligatory. They do not have to pay tuitions for school from preschool to PhD. All students have the right to believe any religion but never speak about it at school. All Mexican students can study at school until the age of ten due to compulsory.
Every school in Mexico, there are assembly on Monday at the yard. All of the students sing the Mexican National Song and those who are good at school or sports carry and raise the national flag.
Qualities of Mexico which would like to be brought awareness to people in Japan
The qualities of Mexico include its moderness, its rich nature, its idegenous communities (lasting for 10 centuries), and its high technology robots. Another quality in Mexico is that Mexicans are good at producing and making food. Mexico exports their fresh fruits (blackberry and blueberry), vegetables (avocado and pumpkin), and meat (pork, beef, and tuna) to Japan. According to H.E., Mexicans are proud of their cuisine.
H.E. Pria mentioned that gender equality is one of the most significant aspects of Mexican life. Currently, people are legally allowed marrying with a person of the same sex, and parents can legally give their children the last name of their own choice, either their mother’s or father’s last name. As demonstrated, gender equality is not only talking about women, but both men, women, and other kinds of gender.
Although men and women are equal under the law, some traditions still remain unequal. For example, there are more women than men in almost all universities in Mexico, and Congress is made up of equal numbers of male and female governors. The country has adopted the Feminist Foreign Policy which promotes gender equality in the country. However, it is the women who do most of the house chores and take care of their parents.
To respect to and acknowledge each other rights which define what they are themselves is important. H.E. Pria mentioned peace is a complicated word. Peace represent only no war. No war does not mean peaceful.
Goals as an Ambassador
Japan and Mexico have a rich relationship. The government relations are good; both countries agree on multilateral issues and agree to disagree on topics like the possession of nuclear weapons. Mexico worked hard, signing a treaty to make Latin America a nuclear free area. Whereas, Japan is still wondering whether or not they should possess nuclear weapons. In addition, the economic relations between Mexico and Japan are very good. Despite the covid-19 pandemic, there is a lot of tourism and both countries have never closed their borders. Furthermore, there are direct flights everyday between the countries. The ambassador's goal is to widen and deepen the relations between Mexico and Japan and increase the number of exchange students from both countries.
What do you want to be as a child?
H.E. Ms. Pria is now a sociologist and Ambassador, she wanted to be a firefighter. She also wanted to be a diplomat which she could make come true. She emphasized the importance of following our own dreams instead of following other people’s expectations.
Message to Japanese students
H.E. Ms. Pria addressed three messages toward Japanese students. First Japanese students need to ask questions to their teachers and actively participate in classes. Second they need to dare to do what they are interested in. Third they need to go out to see the world.
When H.E. Ms. Pria was in 5th grade of an elementary school, she attended a school in Germany. In addition to what she was taught at school, she learned socially from daily activities. For instance, she gradually got used to the conversations she always had at a bakery. She highly recommended that Japanese students take an opportunity for exchange programs. It may be challenging, but such experience teaches us beyond what school can do.
On August 31, 2018, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Mexico to interview the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Carlos Fernando Almada López.
H.E. Mr. Almada noted the good friendship between Mexico and Japan and his wishes for cooperation to continue in the future. He also mentioned his hope to talk to the younger generation of Japan.
Mexico has a large young population, hence the country is putting a lot of effort into its educational system. H.E. Mr. Almada explained that Mexican education emphasizes the training of technicians and engineers, as an export-oriented country. He noted that similar to Japan, there is a need to train people to work in the industrialized society. He believes that Mexico can benefit a lot from cooperation with Japan, as a nation with similar. Moreover, H.E. Mr. Almada spoke about the importance of international laws and organization as a tool for finding peace and cooperation for any level of development.
H.E. Mr. Almada described Mexican people to have lively qualities. He explained that some shared values of Mexican people include spontaneity, flexibility, and capacity to find rapid solutions to find problems, alongside the famous Mexican culture of color and music. He noted that Japanese people tend to be fascinated by the sunny and colorful aspect of Mexican culture.
Furthermore, H.E. Mr. Almada suggested some qualities that Mexican and Japanese people can learn from each other. He stated that Mexicans can learn about “kaizen” refinement, “omotenashi” hospitality, and disciplined planning from the Japanese culture. He noted that Japanese people can learn about spontaneity, and the capacity of being happy together from that of Mexico. As both nations with high productivity, H.E. Mr. Almada believes that Japan and Mexico can both learn and win from both mutual affinities and small differences.
H.E. Mr. Almada explained that the world is interconnected through globalization, and this has led to interdependence. To deal with our problems, there is a need for cooperation with each other. Global problems have also risen, including climate change, migration, security, poverty, and pandemics. H.E. Mr. Almada noted that cooperations though trade and investment is especially important for higher welfare in all countries. He commented that Mexico has been a champion of globalization, with successful framework of international and national laws.
As a touristic country, Mexico is the sixth most visited country in the world! H.E. Mr. Almada explained that tourism in Mexico has not only been a source of revenue and employment, but also a way to build understanding between countries and cultures. Mexicans are especially proud of their culture, which is a mix of modern, vibrant aspects with older traditions from four thousand years ago. H.E. Mr. Almada listed Mexican culture to be often depicted in architecture, music and opera, paintings, and dances. Mexicans are also very hospitable and welcoming towards people from abroad.
H.E. Mr. Almada believes in the importance of both modernization (such as international trade, technology, and value added production) and cherishing traditions. He mentioned that this is similar to Japan. H.E. Mr. Almada commented that Mexicans are very fond of their traditions; every town and city works hard keep them alive, conveying values to children from a young age.
As Mexican values, H.E. Mr. Almada noted the value of votes and no re-elections. He explained that this has been rooted in Mexican culture since the struggle for democracy in 1910. Japan had played an important role as the Charges D’Affair protected the democratic family during the coup d’etat. H.E. Mr. Almada expressed his appreciation for the heroic acts of diplomat Horiguchi Kumaichi.
Since he was a child, H.E. Mr. Almada wanted to be active in public service. He explained that being an Ambassador is a great honor.
H.E. Mr. Almada’s passion as the Ambassador of Mexico to Japan is his role in building the future of the nations and understanding the history of bilateral relations. H.E. Mr. Almada is currently working towards building relationships between Mexican and Japanese students. He has thoroughly enjoyed talking to students, fostering relations between universities, helping joint research projects, and facilitating student visits.
H.E. Mr. Almada noted that the Mexican and Japanese economies are complementary. For instance, the Mexican society is much younger than the Japanese society. Nevertheless, the two countries share many of the same values, such as democracy, and the respect for the international law and human rights. H.E. Mr. Almada is sure that relations between the two countries have potential to become even better in the future.
H.E. Mr. Almada explained that wars is one result of scientific progress. He noted that we must understand that humanity has achieved a high degree of scientific progress that has enabled the capacity to destroy human life. Alongside this realization, H.E. Mr. Almada emphasized that we only have one world and humanity; there is none left to spare. He explained that we must learn from historical experience to do our best to preserve human life and harmony.
As the first step towards world peace, H.E. Mr. Almada believes in the importance of respecting diversity. We must accept our differences and solve issues using dialogue and law.
H.E. Mr. Almada expressed to us his views on the significance of education as the key for any country and society to develop as humans and be productive as a member of society. He feels that it is deeply unfortunate that too many children across the globe do not have the opportunity to obtain education, and that this is a major issue that must be tackled.
In terms of gender parity, H.E. Mr. Almada mentioned that Mexico has been improving their situation of gender equality, yet there are efforts needed to be done, same as everywhere in the world.
H.E. Mr. Almada’s message toward students is to go abroad and “take a look at the world”. H.E. Mr. Almada stated that the future of any country is upon the shoulders of its young people. He strongly recommends to anyone to be curious, learn new languages, and be open to understanding other cultures. H.E. Mr. Almada also noted that it is important to be open minded without losing one’s own personality and traditions as well.
Furthermore, H.E. Mr. Almada hopes that students can not only work and study hard, but also enjoy their lives whilst accomplishing their duties. He wishes that the youth can learn to enjoy life every day and even every second. He believes it is important to find good aspects of everything every day, and to value friends and companionships.