Maria Garcia Alvarez
I was born in Asturias, a greenish and mountainous region in the north of Spain, enrooted in Keltic culture and known as one of the seven recognized Keltic nations of Europe. Why is this important? It is important at least for me, because growing in a country fighting for a national identity instead of treasuring the rich diversity of cultural regional identities and growing as well into adolescence at the same time my country was growing into democracy, has surely define much of the pillars of who I am today and how I think.
I studied communication sciences in the Complutense University in Madrid and my interest was clear soon before my Masters: journalism and storytelling. After several years working as a journalist I tried as well the world of corporate communication and see the world from the other side. In the Netherlands (since 1999) my career in communication has been linked more to corporate and B2B communication until I got the chance to collaborate in European Union projects with social aspects, as for example projects related to increase and promote diversity (cultural and racial) in the media; and media literacy.
Seven years ago (my magic number!) I decided to focus my career in higher education. Why this decision? I realized we have a societal responsibility to share our tactic knowledge with the young people, so they can use it for the challenges ahead of them. Firstly to tell them they won’t be able to change things with the same formulas we have used previously to make the mistakes they will need to fix. Therefore my teaching is mostly based in sharing my experiences, what went fine and what went totally wrong, and discover together with the students new perspectives to approach old issues and also to predict the trends of the future. Most of the young people, when given the opportunity to be critical and think out of the austere constrains of traditional forms of education, are authentic visionaries!. So to be honest, I am a teacher because I love to learn from my students every day.
Since last year I am as well member of the Board of Directors of a Spanish social innovation think-tank called Asturias Compromiso Siglo XXI, where we are quite active in trying to find innovate concepts and solutions to improve our society. Keywords of my fields of interest: communication sciences in general/media studies/new media/journalism and citizen journalism/ activist journalism/ place branding/ identity branding/ storytelling/ globalization/ knowledge transfer networks/new forms of corporate communication/ conflict resolution communication: conflict narratives/ rhetoric/ innovative educational formats/ urban economics (the city is the best lab ever!)/summarizing: everything that sounds crazy and “out of the box” I am in for it!!!
Maria was facilitator in the Battle for Ideas project. Read more about the project