Students Meet the Comillas Mayor and Council Members

July 2, 2014

Yesterday students learned the intricacies of the Spanish political system. Today, students were treated to a rare experience that cemented the previous day’s learnings by attending a Town Hall meeting with the mayor and Council members. 

-Alejandro Saravia

The photo posted is the entire MMLA-Comillas group with Mayor María Teresa Noceda (center with orange shirt) and Pedro Velarde, Councillor for Tourism.  Upon arriving at the City Hall, we were received by Pedro who has been incredibly attentive to our group since our first day in Comillas.  We were led to the “Sala de Plenos” where the Mayor and the city government meet.  Vanessa Sánchez, Councillor for Youth and Sports, explained in detail the program created to help with issues that are important to young people in Comillas.  Her explanations were very clear and students asked pertinent questions.  Pedro Velarde then explained how the city council in Comillas was comprised according to the different political parties.  He assigned roles to our students as if they were members of the City Council and explained how the electoral and voting processes work.  Then Mayor María Teresa Noceda spoke to our students about Comillas and the difficulties of running a small town on a small budget.  She also spoke about the importance of local politics and how being close to the townspeople was critical in coming to a consensus on city matters. Mayor Noceda is an elementary school teacher, so she also answered questions about the Spanish education system.

It was an interesting day, and MMLA is extremely grateful to the town of Comillas for their magnificent hospitality in making all of their facilities available to our program.