Lecturer takes up new lead role on international stage

Maria Chester, from East Berwickshire U3A now has an international role in the organisation
Maria Chester, from East Berwickshire U3A now has an international role in the organisation

Retirement just goes on getting busier and busier for Burnmouth’s Maria Chester who is hosting an international U3A conference in Edinburgh this week.

“As a member of the very new U3A international committee (created in February this year) my first task was to organise an International Association of Universities of the Third Age conference in Edinburgh,” said Maria, who first spoke at a Berwick U3A meeting and is a member and past chair of East Berwickshire U3A.

Representatives will be coming from France, Portugal, Italy and across the UK to discuss research, education and science. And they will also hear presentations from Scottish U3As - Edinburgh, East Lothian, East Berwickshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Oban, Falkirk, Inverness and Black Isle & Tweeddale U3As.

Maria is from Argentina, a senior lecturer in ancient American civilizations such as the Maya, Aztec and the Inca, and being fluent in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish she was a natural choice to be the UK representative on the international U3A committee.

Since 2011, Maria has been the national subject adviser of American archaeology, promoting the knowledge of the ancient civilisations of the Americas, which – in many cases – are either unknown or ignored in this part of the world.

“My talks promote an interest in travelling to those remote places in Central and South America,” Maria explained.

“Older adults enjoy watching videos and digital images from recent excavations. These talks to other U3As have helped develop a wide network, resulting in the formation of new groups interested in furthering their own research into these ancient cultures.

“This helps contribute to keep their minds sharp and improve their quality of life.”