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Gabriela Mistral

(Lucila Godoy Alcayaga) (Vicuña, Chile, 1889 – New York, USA, 1957): Poet, diplomat, and educator. She began teaching at a very young age, promoting an educational approach focused on the development and protection of children, with a particular interest in learning methods and the role of libraries. She also defended the need for a “teaching life,” as a practice not conditioned to imparting knowledge in classrooms and whose statement was: “always teach: in the backyard and on the street as in the classroom.” In 1922, she traveled to Mexico by invitation of the poet José Vasconcelos for the purpose of collaborating in the educational reform and the creation of public libraries in that country. Nonetheless, along with the progress of her teaching and diplomatic careers, she developed her poetry work, and in that same year she published Desolación (Desolation) through the Instituto de las Españas press—a poetry book that earned her international recognition and prestige. In 1945, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and was the first South American author to receive this honor.