William Beezley, recent recipient of Mexico’s prestigious Ohtil Award, will speak at the Arizona Senior Academy at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 13) on the EZLN revolutionary movement (Zapatistas) and how soccer is helping save southern Mexico.
A professor of history at the University of Arizona, Beezley is the author and co-author of numerous books and papers on the history and culture of Mexico—including Mexico in World History published by the Oxford University Press.
Beezley’s outlook and teaching on Mexico is described by one former student as going “… far beyond the bronzed history of politicians, generals or official heroes. What he does, in his own words, is impart history of common people in the past—a type of history that gives voice to those who did not have a voice.”
The Ohtli award recognizes individuals for devoting their professional lives to forging a new path for Mexican nationals abroad. Previous winners include U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, actress Eva Longoria, music producer Emilio Estefan and baseball player Fernando Valenzuela.
“My passion for Mexico resulted when I learned that Mexicans had initiated the world’s first social revolution in 1910,” Beezley explained in a UA news release in May. “During the 1960s, everyone I knew believed social changes had to come to the United States, and I wanted to see what the Mexicans had attempted to do. I also wanted to know the people and their culture who lived next door.”
Beezley has appeared as a guest expert on more than 20 PBS episodes of “The Desert Speaks” and “In the Americas With David Yetman,” He is currently interviewing former Mexican presidents for a film series on the democratization of Mexico.
Written by Fred Volkmann, Academy Village Volunteer