Updated: Jul 6, 2021
On August 20th, 2013 Liliana Baltra, our Cultural Events Secretary did a presentation on Gabriela Mistral, or Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, her real name, a prominent Chilean woman born in Vicuña, a small town in the Andes mountains on April 7th,1889.
Although Mistral liked to say that she belonged to the humblest people of that valley, the fact that her father and her half sister –Emelina- were a school teacher as well, and that her paternal grandmother read the Bible with her, made her quite different from the common peasants of the Elqui Valley.
She did not attend school until she was 12, but was well read and able to become an assistant teacher for her sister at the age of 15. She began publishing her prose poems and poems in local newspapers when she was 16!
Her career as an elementary school teacher, without a degree, and later on as a secondary school teacher and headmistress drastically changed when José Vasconcelos invited her to contribute to the educational reform in Mexico, in 1922. From then on she was appointed Chilean ambassador to the League of Nations in Paris. After that, she was the first woman to be designated as Chilean consulate Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and the U.S.
More photos here.