Rediscover Rosarito is a public diplomacy initiative that began in Emerson’s Communication Management (CM) program in February 2008. That year, 28 CM graduate students, from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, and led by Dr. Gregory Payne of Emerson’s Communication Studies Department, reached out to residents of Rosarito Beach in Baja Mexico and began a dialogue that was seminal to initiating Rediscover Rosarito’s ongoing people to people conversation about how to recast the image of Rosarito.
The goal of Rediscover Rosarito has been to develop and implement a campaign to help restore the image of this heavily tourism dependent beach community, which has been devastated by a drastic drop in tourism as a result of Mexican President, Felipe Calderon’s ‘war on drugs,’ as well as by biased media coverage which increasingly focuses on the drug war, but overlooks Mexico’s vibrant and resilient culture. While the central goal of this campaign has been to maintain a robust public diplomacy initiative, each year the entering class of CM students give the mission, vision, and objectives of the campaign a new twist.
The essential mission of the 2011 Rosarito team, has been to sustain a grassroots campaign that augments the work of Rosarito’s charitable institutions and the arts of Rosarito. As part of this effort, the 2011 Rosarito team developed a partnership with the Baja Love Ride, a non-profit organization which recently organized a 217 mile charity bicycle ride across Baja California to raise funds for the children of Baja. Additionally, in order to shed light on Rosarito’s rich arts history, the 2011 team has collaborated with local arts organizations such as Realart Films, a local film production company, and The Rosarito Theatre Guild, a non-profit theater group that specializes in promoting artistic expression on Rosarito. Moreover, as part of the 2011 team’s vision to help restore the image of Rosarito as a place that is synonymous with hospitality, entertainment, and good living, the 2011 team has focused on improving the campaign’s online communication strategy. In this effort, the 2011 team conducted a focus group designed to improve the web content and message of the Rediscover Rosarito website. In light of the focus group findings, the 2011 team created a new section on the Rediscover Rosarito website titled, “Rosarito Quick Facts,” which recently has become one of the most popular pages on the Rediscover Rosarito website. Furthermore, the key objective of the 2011 team has been to improve communication among Rosarito’s multiple and cross-national stakeholders by sustaining a robust dialogue through social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
The 2011 Rosarito team is capping off the spring semester by hosting a student film festival and fundraiser on April 13th, 2011 from 6-9PM at Fajitas & ‘Ritas restaurant. During this event the 2011 Rosarito team will showcase student produced films as well as host a silent auction that will benefit the Club de Niñas y Niños de Rosarito, a children’s charity in Rosarito. The 2nd Annual 2011 Rediscover Rosarito Film festival & Fundraiser: Breaking Borders, Building Bridges, is an informal gathering and educational opportunity for Emerson College students and residents of Boston who are passionate about civic engagement, film-making, and cross-cultural people to people communication.
Written by the 2011 Rediscover Rosarito Team.