Our History

Founded in 1994, The Miguel Angel Asturias Academy is a private, non-profit Pre K-12 school in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Since its inception with 80 students, the Academy has grown tremendously and currently serves approximately 300 students from varying backgrounds: indigenous, non-indigenous, poor, working, and middle class. Jorge Chojolán was born a poor indigenous Mayan. Like many of his students, he confronted Guatemala’s deeply racist and sexist society and seemed destined to complete few, if any, years of formal schooling. Working several jobs, Jorge managed to support his siblings and complete high school.

Director Jorge Chojolan in the school today – Photo by John Abernathy

In 1989, he graduated from the Universidad de San Carlos with an Economics degree. Determined to use his degree to help those “failed by the existing public and private school systems,” Jorge opened The Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in 1994. He hoped to help the most vulnerable students placing special emphasis upon poor and indigenous children.  In 2000, he was awarded with the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship for his work at the Academy, distinguishing him as a “leading social entrepreneur; an extraordinary individual with unprecedented ideas for change in his community.”

Today, the school serves all ages of students in Guatemala and remains the best and most progressive education available to students in Quetzaltenango. The school is currently incubating a second campus in Sololá, Guatemala.