Maria Claudia Parias, Restoring Lives Through Music

For her cultural management, Maria Claudia Parias, will receive the Patrick Hayes Award granted by the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in New York in January 2023.

The Woman Post | María Consuelo Caicedo

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With an open and warm smile, the social communicator, journalist, and cultural manager, María Claudia Parias receives THE WOMAN POST magazine. She proclaims her passion for culture everywhere with a special emotion that does not lose validity and that has moved her professional steps over the years. She has held high positions in various scenarios that have allowed her to shout from the rooftops that Colombia, her homeland, is the cradle of great cultural expressions that leave the name of the country very high inside and outside its borders.

In the early 1990s, María Claudia found her first cultural scene in Cali, the world capital of salsa, as director of communications for that city's Art Festival: "I combined this activity with cultural journalism, but Bogotá I was calling to fully prepare myself as a promoter of my country”.

Her professional background has led her to occupy high positions in the Bogotá Art Museum, the International Art magazine, and the Ministry of Culture. As a contribution to her academic training, she completed a master's degree in cultural management in Barcelona, ​​Spain. She also remembers her professional experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia as secretary of the Colombian Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO and director of cultural affairs.

For her happiness, life has put in front of her the scenarios and tools to project Colombia and its culture worldwide: “International cultural management has shown me multiple horizons in which I have been able to learn about politics and regulations beyond the borders of my country. and develop projects that have nurtured my knowledge in terms of the importance of culture in the development of nations”.

Music for vulnerable children and youth

Nearly a decade ago, this great Colombian woman found the Batuta Foundation on her path. Through a public announcement, she became the executive president of this entity, which she describes as “wonderful because we are dedicated to musical training for children and young people from a social perspective with the idea not only of guaranteeing the cultural rights of our children and young people but their human rights through the practice of music and its incorporation into the musical language”.

The Batuta Foundation has a great reach, it brings its influence to the most vulnerable and economically depressed places: "We are fortunate that Colombia conceives music as an element of the development of the least favored communities, including those whose members have been victims of the armed conflict”. It is a non-governmental organization of a mixed nature created in 1991 for public interest purposes that receive contributions from the State, private companies, and international organizations: “In compliance with the Victims Law, the State makes important contributions to bring music to spaces where it performs as an element of healing for those who have suffered the rigors of armed violence in Colombia”, explains María Claudia.

There is her heart

The heart and happiness of María Claudia Parias are in this foundation with which she feels in love and at the service of which she has put hours and hours of management to develop projects that bring knowledge and happiness to more and more Colombian territories. Its management is governed by three general principles: increase the number of children and adolescents who are integrated into the transforming power of music; reach territories far from the cities, practically unexplored culturally speaking and generate extraordinary experiences that dignify the lives of those who benefited by the Batuta Foundation not only through music but also through artistic design.

The Foundation has its musical methodology called “school orchestra”. Parias explains that the idea is not to look for genius children, but "collectively, each one of the students goes through the ensemble, plays various instruments and sings with the choir in a group exercise that recognizes their multiple abilities because what we want is to enrich the daily life of the communities. The children learn to work as a team, respect rules, and incorporate values ​​into their daily lives, becoming resilience tutors. Some go on to become professional musicians, which positively changes their lives and those of their families”.  This process is beautifully exemplified in the video starring a little boy named Ángel Isaac which can be seen at https://we.tl/t-xaqCautUjM

Many of these children never dreamed of flying on a plane or sleeping in a hotel, much less being trained by experienced musicians: "Thanks to their learning -explains María Claudia- they participate in very high-level concerts in the best theaters in the country and, sometimes of the world. In addition, they participate in cultural exchanges with organizations similar to the Batuta Foundation, in Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela, among others.

In addition to the Batuta Foundation, among the great loves of Maria Claudia Parias are her children Felipe, 26, and Milan, 19: "I adore them, and we have a beautiful relationship”. Outside the cultural circle that makes her happy, she reads philosophy and likes to spend time with friends whom she sees frequently and she dedicates all her affection and solidarity. Soon the city of New York will reward this valuable Colombian woman for her extensive and valuable cultural management.