Report to the Codalc Assembly (Dominican leadership women) on Codalc´s Peace Education Programme held at Lima, Peru, January 26/30th, 2007
“ If it is possible to train people to make war, then it is possible to train people to make peace”
We are living in the armed phase of globalization in to-day´s world , witnessing an increase of violence in the home,in society and between nations. We are searching for solutions rather than simply lamenting these facts.
As Dominican Family we can teach and preach that peace is possible through conflict solving and mediation. We have found in the methodology and contents of this programme (Peace Education Foundation, ) universal values which can be transmitted for the good of all, through the network of educational institutes belonging to our brothers/sisters, lay and religious, in Latinamerica/Caribbean and all over the world.
WHAT IS THE PEACE EDUCATION PROGRAMME?
Two women teachers decided after the Second World War that they were going to educate for peace. They said “ If it is possible to train people to make war, then it is possible to train people to make peace”.
They drew up a programme that was creative, pedagogically sound, based on a philosophy of peaceful democratic relations, adapted to the different ages of the students in schools. Principals,Teachers and pastoral agents are invited to training workshops in the use of the materials, the games and dynamics for conflict resolution and mediation, all of which are available both in spanish ,english,french.
One of the trainers, Dr Frank Vega, a theologian, has made the link between the elements of the Dominican charism and components of the programme. However it is not limited to Catholic or Dominican schools, as it is non-denominational, and can be used freely in public schools without violating their regulations.
INITIAL LINKS WITH CODALC
Sister Marie Carol Hurley, an Adrian Dominican, presented the content and objectives of the Peace Foundation to the Dominican Leadership Conference in New Oorleans some years ago. I was present there and saw, with others, the potential of the programme for Codalc´s educators in Latinamerica and the Caribbean.
I visited the foundation with others, saw all the wonderful attractive materials, their training centre and spoke with their bi-lingual trainers. Later I proposed to the Codalc coordination team that we would promote the programme in Dominican universities, colleges, schools, ngo´s and institutes in our region.
The first workshops were given in three cities in Venezuela: Caracas, Maracaibo, and Merida. Both friars and sister`s schools were represented.We saw this programme as a way of doing and being Dominican family and including a majority of laity in every latinamerican country. I was present at the first workshops in Venezuela and saw how the educational community was motivated by the dynamism and competence of the two teacher trainers, Marta Moreno and Dr.Frank Vega.
The Codalc team planned that the workshops would be given for three consecutive years in each country requesting the training, to provide continuity. They were given in: Dominican Republic,Guatemala, Venezuela, Argentina and to the 33 participants at Barry University , during the Coloquio organized by Srs Jeanne and Peggy Albert. And in more than one city in each of the countries mentioned.
The educational institutes adopted the programme as a project for the whole institution and achieved remarkable benefits in the climate of their classrooms and patios. Both teachers, pupils, parents and pastoral agents learned the methodology and thanks to the generosity and support of the Foundation, Adrian sisters the materials were donated. Thanks also to the local federations of sisters/dominican family secretariats that handled all the invitations and organization of the workshops.
In Argentina there has been a remarkable response to this programme in the cities of Rosario, Villa Gobernador Galvéz,Sanchez, Bs Aires,(centre/province) Victoria,Cordoba,Tucuman,Mendoza, Las Termas, Santiago del Estero. My presence with a local team as well as the support of FEDAR (federations of dominican sisters) has contributed to this response.
– We have invited the Peace Education Foundation to give a training trainers course of 3 days 26/28th February 2007 in Rosario, for national representatives. IMRS ireland are sponsoring our Argentine implementation and expansion. Patricia (Tarija, Bolivia) Matilde, Veronica, Eileen, Noemi will also implement the programme
– A presentation and workshop in english for more than 1000 english teachers in Argentina will be given on 21st February, with inputs also during a tree day conference 22/25th February. The peace Foundation have made a deal with a business firm to sell their english/spanish books with some in-school training courses for teachers/english language institutes in Argentin
– A beginners course will also be held for schools/institutions in a poor popular shanty area in the province of Buenos Aires, on 3rd March. Veronica,Marcelo, Andrea are the coordinating team
– Mexico, Trinidad/Tobago are in dialogue with the Peace Foundation to initiate the workshops in their countries.
Our beautiful world to-day is trying to cope with violence of so many kinds. If we are not working to find solutions then we must continue to be part of this problem. This conviction leads us to continue supporting and preaching peace, based on justice, as we celebrate the 800 th birthday of the Dominican Order (which is a large family).
This programme gives us all (no matter what continent we live in) a perfect tool for teaching permanent peaceful attitudes and to contribute somewhat to a more democratic, tolerant, just and peaceful world.
Report presented by Sister Joan O`Shanahan.O.P. – Codalc Assembly, Lima.Peru 26/30th January 2007