THE SAN DIEGO PARTICIPANT OBSERVER Participant Observation is the Process of Learning by Observing and Participating in Cultural Life
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The San Diego Participant Observer

The City of San Diego is home to one of the most vital and culturally diverse populations to be found anywhere in America. The Participant Observer is a web magazine dedicated to discovering and showcasing the wide variety of culturally interesting events, people, places, and organizations our city has to offer. Our continuously updated Events Calendar provides comprehensive information about current and forthcoming events in San Diego. In addition to covering local events, The Participant Observer publishes features and articles about cultural events and phenomena happening around the world. We urge you to explore the many other resources our site provides.

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Your Window to the World
All Articles: Guardian News & Media Ltd 2013-19, New York Times Inc.
Please note: The New York Times allows non-subscribers to read five articles a month for free.
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Photo: John Gibbons
The US/Mexico border is still closed for tourists, but we're thinking ahead to better times (whenever they will come). Usually the Worldview Project team travels to Tecate every year, but because of the pandemic, we have been unable to visit this enchanting town just across the border. We are itchin' to get back. In the meantime we'd like to give you the lowdown on Tecate, its history and its cultural and gastronomical, delights, so when the border re-opens, you too can hop on the 94 going south and spend a lovely relaxing day in this "Pueblo Magico"

by Ian Lutz
Photos by Megumi Choi unless otherwise noted
(Read: 219 times)


The Chicano Federation was founded in 1969 and provides a wide ranges of social, economic and educational services to people of many ethnicities in San Diego. Covid-19 has had a much greater affect on Latinos here in San Diego, forcing the Chicano Federation to adapt to the new realities caused by the pandemic. The leaders of the organization believe they have a sustaining strategy to continue to meet the needs of the people it serves during the pandemic as well as addressing some of its long-term effects.

By Ian A. Lutz (i.lutz@thewvp.org)
(Read: 557 times)


San Diego's immigrant population has been greatly affected by constant changes to immigration policy under the Trump Administration and, more recently, by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two local non-profit organizations focused on immigration-related services that have maintained their steadfast support for this community, despite immense challenges, are Casa Cornelia Law Center and Survivors of Torture, International.

By Ian A. Lutz (i.lutz@thewvp.org)
(Read: 1173 times)


Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the freeing of slaves in America, has been celebrated by Black Americans since news of emancipation reached the last slaves to be freed in Galveston, Texas in 1865. Despite the holiday's historic importance, it has never been widely recognized in the U.S. However, that appears to be changing, as calls to recognize Juneteenth on a larger scale have emerged against the backdrop of the murder of George Floyd.

By Ian A. Lutz
(Read: 1287 times)


Less than one half of all Americans have a passport. People without passports not only can't go to far away places like Asia, Africa, Europe or South America, without a passport you can't even travel to Mexico or Canada. An important step in becoming a global citizen is actually getting out there and experiencing other cultures first hand. Don't limit your options! Passports don't expire for 10 years, think ahead and apply for or renew yours today! The steps to apply for a passport are not as daunting as they may seem. Whether you are looking to apply for a new passport or to renew your current passport, follow the steps in our handy guide!

Compiled by Julie Tran
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The Center for World Music is a unique nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster awareness and understanding of the world's diverse performing arts and cultures through public performances and teaching. Its primary purpose is to draw public attention to the diversity of the world's performing arts traditions: Asian, African, European, Latin American, and American.

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Today San Diego's Little Italy is a bustling commercial, dining and entertainment district. But more than a half century ago, it was a largely residential area populated by Italian families, most of which were involved in San Diego's thriving tuna industry. Over the next few decades, Little Italy became a self-contained neighborhood with its own grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants, a Catholic church, an elementary school, a drugstore, and a fire department. Then a half century ago the community was cut in half by the expansion of San Diego's freeway system, devastating a once thriving community. Read about Little Italy's rich past and about local efforts to preserve the neighborhood's unique ethnic character and identity.

By Tony Rocco
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A stone's throw from the Gaslamp Quarter, on the corner of 3rd Avenue and J Street, lies the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. The museum offers San Diegans an artifactual, pictorial and interactive look into the history of San Diego's Chinese-American inhabitants. Admission is an affordable $2. The museum features numerous cultural, historical and artistic displays as well as regularly held educational programs for children and adults. For a small extra fee the museum also offers docent-lead tours of the permanent collection and featured exhibits as well as tours of the remnants of San Diego's former Chinatown.

(Read: 10999 times)


Kourosh Taghavi, instrumentalist, vocalist and Persian classical musician boasts a passionate approach to music that has impacted audiences around the world. His collaborative projects with master musicians and local cultural organizations work to fulfill his lifelong dream to promote Persian classical music. More recently, his ongoing efforts with the Center for World Music bring the setar and Iranian culture to San Diego school districts through hands-on instruction in Persian classical music.


By Amanda Kelly
(Read: 12115 times)


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