The organizers of MEL Talks have put together an exciting season for the 2021 - 2022 season.  Each presentation begins at 7:00 pm at the library.  Check back often for more details!

17 Nov 2021 - Arqueóloga Lilia Fernandez: Ancestral Tastes: Ancient Maya Cuisine.  Arq. Fernandez directed the archaeological project at Sihó in southern Yucatan, a Classic Precolumbian Maya Site. Her interests in diet and archaeology form the basis of her talk on how today's Yucatecan dishes and beverages have deep ancestral roots.

24 Nov  2021 - Patricia Sales: Health Care in Mérida.  Patricia Sales is the CEO and founder of Heath Itinerary and has been working with ex-pats for the last six years to help them navigate the health care system.

1 Dec 2021 - Dra. Marina Aguirre: "Deciphering The Mesoamerican Archaeology: Ten Fantastic Pieces To Talk About Culture" . Dr. Aguirre is well known to MEL where she has presented fascinating talks over the past few years on Mexican culture and folklore. She holds an MA in Ethnohistory from UADY and a PhD in Social Anthropology from CIESA (Centro de Investigación de Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social). Marina has been leading cultural journeys throughout Mexico for the last ten years.

8 Dec 2021 - Robert Caskey & Teresa Castellanos: How To Choose An Architect/Builder For Your Construction Project. Teresa Castellanos Berlanga has been satisfying clients for 25 years, first designing commercial buildings before deciding to focus on residential projects. Bob Caskey is a long-term resident of Merida and has worked with multiple architects and builders. Together, they will offer insights into an important aspect of expat life in Merida.  Watch the lecture here.

15 Dec 2021 - Carlos Domenech: Mérida: City of Light and Shadow. Carlos was born in Cuba and raised in the US. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)  with a minor in architectural photography.  He will present a series of city images in black-and-white. Watch the lecture here.

22 Dec 2021 - Kevin Alvelino: Ostriches And Their Benefit To The Planet & Us . Kevin and his team from Mexico City have been raising ostriches in Yucatan for four years. Although they come from a financial markets background, raising ostriches is not about the money but the impact they will have on fighting climate change. Watch the lecture here.

29 Dec 2021 - No lecture scheduled.  Happy Holidays!

5 Jan 2022 - Fernando Abreu: Home Maintenance 101: A Guide for Living in Centro. Fernando Abreu holds a Bachelor in Architecture and a Master of Construction Management. Leading the design-build firm CENTRO architects, he has more than ten years of experience remodeling and renovating homes in Merida’s Centro. With a concentration on residential work, renovations in the downtown area now make up the majority of the studio's projects.  Watch the lecture here.

12 Jan 2022 - Lecture cancelled due to COVID exposure.

19 Jan 2022 - Jorge Rosado Baeza: What we can we see and not see at Chichén Itzá?.  Jorge Rosado is a true son of Merida. He grew up in Santiago and attended law school at the University of Yucatan, just two blocks from his home. After a brief stint practicing law in Mexico City, he returned to his native Yucatan and accepted an offer to work as a guide, where his fluency in five languages made him much in demand. History is Jorge’s great passion and nothing delights him more than the discovery of some obscure secret from the past.  He will will present some of the inaccessible highlights of this archeological site. This presentation will be virtual.  Check back later for a link to the video, which will be posted as soon as it is available.

26 Jan 2022 - Dr. Marianna Kunow: Visions of the Underworld and Supernatural Creatures in Folktales from Yucatan and the Popol Vuh. This presentation will be virtual.  Check back later for a link to the video, which will be posted as soon as it is available.

2 Feb 2022 - Joanna Van Der Gracht Rosado: How has Merida changed over the past decade? In 1990, Joanna and Jorge Rosado founded Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), a tourism, languages and multimedia college for local and international learners. She is the author of several books, including two that explore the dynamic of Merida's international community. In this talk, Joanna will address the many differences between Merida as she first knew it, and the city it is today. She also hopes to stimulate some discussion about the expectations of international residents living in and around Merida. in this city. This presentation will be virtual.  Check back later for a link to the video, which will be posted as soon as it is available.

9 Feb 2022 - Cecilia López Vázquez: A Brief Historical Tour Through Mérida Architecture. Born and raised in Mérida, Cecilia has a degree in Anthropological Sciences (Social Anthropology) from the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY). She has worked in Mérida and surrounding villages as a social researcher for UADY investigation programs and also for her thesis subject - Family Relationships in Former Henequen Haciendas.  As a certified tour guide, she has been working in the Yucatán Peninsula for the last six years, mostly in archeological sites and colonial cities.

16 Feb 2022 -Bob Temple, PhD: Yucatán in Maximilian’s Empire. In the 1860s, France invaded Mexico, set up a client-state empire, and recruited Maximilian and Carlota as rulers.  Because of its geographical isolation and distinctive culture, Yucatán avoided direct involvement in a lot of Mexican history.  But during the French intervention, events connected our region with the Empire in surprising ways. Bob Temple is the author of "After the Meteor: Surprising History of the Yucatán"

23 Feb 2022 - Dr Tomás Gonzalez: Sombreros de Jipi Japa 

2 Mar 2022 - Jeff George: Sea Turtle Conservation. Jeff was the longtime executive director of Sea Turtle Inc., a rescue and rehab center on South Padre Island in Texas.

9 Mar 2022 - Mark Callaghan: Mayan Papermaking. Mark is the founder of Mayan Paper which has been manufacturing Huun paper since 1994.  Mark uses a combination of the Japanese washi technique and ancient Mayan techniques to create craft papers from regionally available renewable resources, including the invasive Sansevieria (mother-in-law's tongue). 

16 Mar 2022 - Dr. Alma Durán-Merk & Stephan Merk: Following the Footsteps of Teobert Maler.

23 Mar 2022 - Reg McGhee: Mexican Revolution: Part III 

30 Mar 2022 - Andrea Figueroa & Rodrigo Navarro: The Melipona Bee. Andrea & Rodrigo founded the Nativa Kaban project in 2019, which strives to generate the responsible production of honey from the Yucatan's stingless bees.  Rodrigo is expert in the breeding of these bees, and Andrea has a passion for gastronomy and the economic development of indigenous communities. 

6 April 2022 - David Aldrich: The Road to Rio Lagartos: from gross anatomy to a portrait of the community of Rio Lagartos, an old dog reflects on his creative journey with the human form. David has spent his life involved with the visual arts, as both an artist and a medical illustrator, exploring the intricacies and nuances of the human body. He holds degrees in oriental art history (B.A.) from the University of British Columbia), and in medical illustration (BSc, Art as Applied to Medicine) and medical education (M.Ed, Medical Education) from the University of Toronto.


Lectures for the previous year are available online. Scroll down to see titles and links to watch them on Facebook and/or Youtube.  This season's lectures will be made available soon after they occur.


Remember, lectures are free to watch! However, with your donations, you help us maintain the library during these times of hardship.

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Wednesday, April 21st: "The Mexican Revolution: The Battle Lines Are Drawn, 1913-15" by Reg McGhee.

To watch it on Facebook click here!

To watch on Youtube click here!


Sunday, February 21st: Views from the Outside: Visitors and Explorers of the Yucatán - Part I: The Colonial Era (1517-1810) by Alma Durán-Merk and Stephan Merk. 

To watch on Facebook click here!

To watch on Youtube click here!


Wednesday, February 10th: "Emilio Abreu Gómez and The Story of Jacinto Canek: Crossovers Between History and Literature in Yucatán" by Dr. Margaret Shrimpton. 

About the speaker: Dr. Margaret Shrimpton Masson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Havana where she wrote her thesis on contemporary Yucatecan literature and its connections to the Caribbean. She holds an MPhil in Latin American Studies from the University of Cambridge UK. She has been living in Merida, Yucatán since 1989 and since 1990 has been a  professor of Lain American and Caribbean literature at  UADY. Her research centers on literature from the mainland Caribbean region.

Watch on Facebook here!

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Wednesday, January 27th: Searching the paths of the Sacred City of Izamal:  An interesting approach to the charming yellow-painted city in Yucatán. By: Marina Aguirre.

About the speaker: Dr. Marina Aguirre is an archaeologist, ethnohistorian, and doctor of history. Check her complete bio on her website: https://bucketlistmexico.com

Watch here:

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Friday, January 22th: "Animals in Yucatecan Folktales" by Mariana Kunow

About the speaker: Marianna Appel Kunow holds a BA in Visual Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University and an MA and Ph.D. in Latin American Studies/ Cultural Anthropology from Tulane University. Teaches Spanish and Mythology classes at Southeastern Louisiana University. 

She fell in love with Yucatan and Mayan culture in the late 1980's after a dive trip and has conducted research in Yucatan state since then. Published Maya Medicine: Traditional Healing in Yucatan (2003 University of New Mexico Press) based on fieldwork in the peninsula. The book explores contemporary plant use, describes some of its practitioners, and traces the links between modern and colonial traditions. It also includes her original botanical illustrations.

She has been translating and illustrating folktales for a number of years now, and hopes to publish her first volume soon. 

Watch on Facebook here!

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January 13th: "Memorabilia as Art Material" by Leandro Soto.  

About Leandro: Leandro Soto was born in Cuba, obtaining a B.A. in Painting and Engraving in 1976 and an M.A. In 1990 he created a Non-Profit organization named “El Tesoro de Tamulte” dedicated to by the State of Tabasco in order to be an educational advisor for the Mayan Native communities. For the past 40 years, participating in numerous Group Exhibitions and Solo Shows in museums, art galleries, and alternative art spaces in various countries:  Spain, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, Peru, Japan, Barbados, Panama, Jamaica, Italy, Cuba, India, and the United States.  

 Soto is one of the leading figures of the famous “Volumen Uno”, a renowned art movement of the 1980s that changed the course of Cuban Art in the XX Century.  He is credited with being the first Performance and Installation artist on the island as well as the first artist of his generation to have worked with the Afro Cuban heritage. As a visual artist instilled with the “ethnographic turn”, his main focus is to research the sources of the Caribbean cultural palimpsest which he has integrated into his work in various countries both in Theater and the Visual Arts.  His areas of expression include Painting, Installation, Performance Arts, Scenography, Costume Design, Films, and new hybrid art forms. 

Watch on Youtube here!

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January 6th: Lazaro Cardenas: The Fading Hero

George Ashley, a retired professor of History and Anthropology from Massachusetts who spends each winter at his home on San Bruno beach near Telchac Puerto.

Lazaro Cardenas was a young soldier in the revolutionary forces during the Mexican Revolution and served as President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940. He was famous for pushing hard to confiscate land from the owners of large haciendas and establishing ejido collective ownership of the land by the campesinos who now worked their own land, rather than doing unpaid labor on land the landlord owned. He also confiscated the assets of large, foreign-owned oil companies and established what we now call Pemex. He was treated as a national hero by the PRI party, many institutions were named for him, and his likeness appeared on large-denomination banknotes.
 Since the PRI turned away from its socialist program in the 1990s and began to sometimes lose national elections to the PAN since 2000, Cardenas is no longer glorified by PRI hagiographers and he has begun to fade from Mexican history.  Cardenas himself remained true to his revolutionary and socialistic principles in old age, travailing widely and encouraging socialism in China and Eastern Europe. But foreigners who have come to Mexico only in recent years may have never heard of him.

Watch on Youtube here!


December 30th:  Ground Penetrating Radar

Join lecturer and expert in the subject, Dennis Johnson, in this interesting lecture about this technology and its use in archeology. Ground Penetrating Radar is a technology that has been used to investigate Ancient Maya agricultural adaptation, to detect caves, and so much more.

Watch here: 

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December 16: Michael Tolleson Robles: Autistic Savant Painter 

Michael Tolleson is an American author, advocate, and artist living in Merida. Diagnosed with Autism in his late fifties, he is considered an Autistic Savant and started painting with no formal training. Michael’s gift allows him to paint gallery-worthy art usually in under 2 hours, a feat he attributes to following the autism artist within him. Michael has gained international attention for his work and advocacy of autism. He has recently opened Galeria Robles in the historic center of Merida.

Watch here: 

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December 2nd: From Merida to Tikal: A do-it-yourself tour

This lecture given by Bob Caskey will allow you to get information on a delightful itinerary you can drive yourself across Belize and onward to Tikal. Learn about sites you can easily explore for their natural beauty and historical significance. If you're not comfortable driving this tour in your personal vehicle, you'll find out other options to take advantage of this opportunity.

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 November 4th: Are you an owner of a vacation rental property in Mexico?  Do you advertise to guests on platforms such as Airbnb and Homeaway? If so, you are probably affected by recent changes in tax law in Mexico. Find out how the new law on Taxation on Digital Platforms affects you, your rental income, and what you must do to comply.

About the speaker: A true world traveler, Brent was born in New Zealand, and has lived in Australia, England, the United States, and now México. “The world is home,” he says. A computer programmer and now the manager of a hospitality company, Brent knows that success lies in the details—a guiding principle that allows him to offer guests and owners meticulous, hands-on service in every area.

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October 28th: "The colorful story of the Tehuacana dress and it's presence in our contemporary History."

About the speaker: Dr. Marina Aguirre is an archaeologist, ethnohistorian, and doctor of history. Check her complete bio on her website: https://bucketlistmexico.com 

Watch here:

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October 21st: "Habanero Pepper: Tears, Fears, and Flavors."

Dr. Tomás González-Estrada, a native of Mérida, holds a Ph.D. in Crop Biotechnology from the University of Guelph, Canada.

He is the former director of CICY (Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán) and has written extensively on the Habanero pepper.

Watch here: 

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