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This profile was last updated on 3/24/13  and contains information from public web pages.

Employment History

  • Guatemalan Poet
  • Editorial Consultant

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • honorary doctorate , theology
    University of Berne , Switzerland
92 Total References
Web References
Born in San Marcos, Guatemala, in ..., 24 Mar 2013 [cached]
Born in San Marcos, Guatemala, in 1930, Esquivel went on to study at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, the Seminario Biblico Latinoamericano in Costa Rica, and the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Switzerland. She has worked as a teacher, principal, and pastoral social worker. She is also a writer and human rights activist.
As her native Guatemala endured nearly 30 years of catastrophic political violence under the rule of a series of dictators, Esquivel watched as thousands and thousands of Maya, Quichez and other indigenous groups were savagely murdered. Hundreds of villages were literally wiped off the face of the earth and the entire nation experienced a type of profound communal trauma in the face of massive and often arbitrary brutality. Where others gave up hope, or took up arms in resistance, Esquivel searched for another path toward peace.
Against this bloody backdrop, Esquivel played the role of activist, poet, and minister. She stood as a witness to God's justice and compassion, and acted as a healer amidst a land of suffering.
As an exile, Esquivel lived in Switzerland among the nuns of the Grand Champs monastic community for eight years. At other times she lived in Mexico and Nicaragua as well.
Instead of dwelling on the difficulties of exile, Esquivel used her time as an opportunity for education, as school for her own development and as a time to heal from the pain she experienced watching so many people endure fear, torture, and death. From her base in Switzerland, she traveled throughout Europe and into the United States and Canada, speaking, organizing, and advocating on behalf of the millions suffering in the Guatemalan holocaust. She gathered her strength through time in reflection and prayer, searching for a way toward healing -- healing for her own wounds and rages, and the healing of her wounded and raging nation.
She has begun to find and create that healing in her ministry of reconciliation, in her work with global solidarity movements, in her work with churches and rural communities in Guatemala, in prayer and contemplation, and in the spirit of truth and compassion that pervades her poetry. She says that her poetry was literally like oxygen for her, arising as much out of need as out of volition-the need to heal, the need to keep on living.
Julia Esquivel.
Julia Esquivel. Threatened with Resurrection: Prayers and Poems from an Exiled Guatemalan, Elgin: Brethren Press, 1982
Julia Esquivel.
Julia Esquivel. Floreceras Guatemala, Mexico: United House Publications, 1989
Julia Esquivel. The Certainty of Spring: Poems by a Guatamalan Exile, Washington, D.C.: Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean, 1993.
Julia Esquivel. Some Secrets of the Kingdom, Guatamala: SEED, 1997.
Julia Esquivel.
Julia Esquivel
Press releases -- Goshen College, 16 Mar 2001 [cached]
Goshen College holds 101st commencement ceremonies ; Guatemalan poet Julia Esquivel to address graduates.
GOSHEN , Ind. Goshen College will hold its 101st commencement ceremonies at 3 p.m. May 23 in the college's Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center.
Guatemalan poet , activist and theologian Julia Esquivel will address the 1999 graduating seniors , who have chosen Meeting at the Crossroads : Vaya Con Dios ( God be with you ) as their theme , to reflect on the year-long celebration of the 30th anniversary of GC's unique study-abroad program , Study-Service Term , and the campus' international perspective.
According to the college's registrar's office , 233 degrees will be conferred , including those who are finishing their undergraduate degree through GC's Degree Completion Program.
Esquivel , whose first language is Spanish , will deliver her remarks , titled An Irrevocable Calling , to the graduates in English.Long a voice for Guatemalans suffering from oppression and persecution , Esquivel will bring her international perspective to bear on the topics of peace and poetry in her commencement address.
In addition to the commencement address , Esquivel will hold a poetry reading and book signing at 7 p.m. on Friday , May 21 , in Newcomer Center Room 19 on campus.Her volumes of poetry include Algunos Secretos ( 1997 ) ; The Certainty of Spring : Poems by a Guatemalan in Exile ( 1993 ) ; and Threatened with Resurrection : Prayers and Poems from an Exiled Guatemalan ( 1992 ) ; her books are on sale in the GC Bookstore , located in the college's Union building.The poetry reading is co-sponsored by the following academic departments : English ; peace , justice and conflict studies ; and modern and classical languages and literatures.
Esquivel is the founder of Dialogo , an ecumenical magazine for theological reflection and social analysis , and co-founder of Projusticia de paz en Guatemala , a movement formed to protect the human , social and economic rights of those affected by institutionalized violence.
She was exiled from her home country for nearly two decades for continually calling for an end to political violence in Guatemala ; during that time she worked with the United National Human Rights Commission at Guatemalan issues and also worked Peace Brigades International in Mexico.The activist returned to Guatemala to live and work in early 1990s.In 1994 , she received an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Berne , Switzerland ; she has also studied at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City , and Seminario Biblico Latinamericano in San José , Costa Rica.
Esquivel attends Casa Horeb , a Mennonite congregation in Guatemala City.Last year , she gave a poetry reading and reflected on her life and faith in the Guatemalan context for Goshen College students in the Doing Theology Abroad class studying in Guatemala City.
In addition to events with Esquivel , other commencement activities include :.
Friday , May 21 , Commencement art show , featuring work by seniors , opens in the GC Art Gallery , located on the lower level of the Harold and Wilma Good Library.
Saturday , May 22 , 10 a.m. , commencement rehearsal in Gingerich Center ; 1 : 30 p.m. , nurse's pinning ceremony in the Church-Chapel ; 2-5 p.m. , departmental gatherings at various locations ; 7 : 30 p.m. , senior show in the Church-Chapel ; 8 : 45 p.m. , President Shirley H. Showalter's reception for grads and families in the Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall
Sunday , May 23 , 11 a.m. , GC Baccalaureate in the Church-Chapel
There are holy writing that came ..., 29 April 2014 [cached]
There are holy writing that came out of that time and place as well, notably a poem by Guatemalan activist and writer Julia Esquivel, who was in her 40s and 50s during the worst of the genocide. She is still alive, at age 84 today.
Now, Esquivel turns and speaks to us norteamericanos, and with her the women who went to the tomb of Jesus: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, who carried the torch of resurrection before the demented gorillas of the Roman Empire.
As we enter more deeply into the community of faith, of its book, and of its prayer, and of its spiritual action for justice, we will know, with Julia Esquivel, and the women at the tomb, how marvelous it is-as Esquivel ends her poem there at the bottom of page 3:
Share It! - Lectionary Homiletics, 17 May 2013 [cached]
Along with many of my colleagues, I met with the Guatemalan poet Julia Esquivel, an ordained Christian minister who has spent her life standing against the brutality that has afflicted her country. During our conversation she acknowledged how she had come to appreciate the riches of wisdom and spirituality that were expressed through the Mayan religion of the native peoples. She now concluded that "In this land God cannot be represented by one religion.
COLOMBIA WEEK: Independent News and Analysis (BIOGRAPHIES page), 15 Aug 2005 [cached]
Her experience includes copy editing for Redleaf Press, reporting for a daily newspaper in Iowa, working for Witness for Peace in Nicaragua, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and translating two volumes by Nicaraguan poet Julia Esquivel.She has been a Colombia Week editorial consultant since January 2004.
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