IIPE 2013: Puerto Rico


LOGO_Puerto RicoReport on the 2013
International Institute on Peace Education

July 7-14, 2013
San Juan, Puerto Rico

“Towards a Possible World Free from Violence: Pedagogies, Proposals and Politics for Human Rights and Peace”

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The 2013 International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from July 7-14, 2013.  This Institute was co-organized in partnership with the UNESCO Chair for Peace Education at the University of Puerto Rico and the National Peace Academy, USA (home of the IIPE secretariat).

For 30 years, the IIPE has brought together educators, professional workers and activists in the field of peace education from around the world to exchange experiences and learn with and from each other in an intensive, short-term learning community that embodies the practices and principles of critical, participatory peace pedagogy.  IIPE 2013 participants, many whom were drawn from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Central, and South America, joined with representatives from other world regions.  This residential learning exchange wove together experiential and theoretical contributions of participants to illuminate diverse views, explore educational applications, and assess possibilities for practical steps toward addressing the theme of “a possible world free from violence.”


“Towards a Possible World Free from Violence: Pedagogies, Proposals and Politics for Human Rights and Peace

Photo_towerWe live in times characterized by multiple forms of violence, in the national, regional, and global spheres. Direct violence is present in war and armed conflicts around the world. It is also manifest in everyday events, for example in the high number of murders amongst youth, abusive personal relationships, and mistreatment of women and children occurring in Puerto Rico. It is also evident in the use of power, repression and force, which undermine human rights and democratic participation.  The destruction of nature and degradation of the environment is another form of violence whose consequences we experience in the present and jeopardize our future.

Likewise, indirect forms of violence are also present in ideological, social, economic, and institutional structures and policies that cause exclusion, marginalization, and inequities. These policies include those that favor excessive spending on arms over human needs and security; profiting over the protection and integrity of the planet; and the corruption of a few for their own benefit at the expense of health, education, and well being of the majority. In Puerto Rico for example, we are not able to provide quality education so that all students reach their full potential, thereby wasting talents and lives. In the past few years the number of families living in poverty has risen, deepening social and economic inequities, placing our children and youth in situations of extreme vulnerability. Furthermore, a larger presence of drug related crimes and the subsequent spirals of violence are part of our daily lives.

Faced with this scenario, human rights learning and peace education are fundamental in overcoming the culture of violence and building in concert another possible world. Thus in this IIPE, our main goal is that educators from all parts of the world share alternate pedagogies, proposals, and politics based on the respect of human rights and the construction of a culture of peace.

We will also share some of the initiatives undertaken in Puerto Rico to prevent violence, promote civic engagement, and build a just, positive and holistic peace. The University of Puerto Rico’s UNESCO Chair for Peace Education, as host institution of the IIPE, shares this trajectory based upon a liberatory pedagogy committed to peace with justice and equality.

In this IIPE, we shall explore the principles and practices of a wide range of critical, creative, participatory, dialogical, and emancipatory pedagogies capable of promoting a world free from violence. We invite participants to share programs, projects, activities, learning experiences, methodologies and materials they have developed to this end. These can include initiatives for human rights learning, conflict resolution, sustainable development and promotion of a culture of peace. We will also look at a diversity of peace building proposals, be these individual or collective, real or prospective projects, theoretical-practical alternatives, and other viable efforts that address the problematic of violence in its complexity.  We expect to learn from the proposals, projects and initiatives generated in real scenarios by those who strive to overcome the problems of violence through their pedagogical and social actions. We will also enquire on how these pedagogies and proposals could lead to educational and social politics of change and transformation that contribute to minimize the multiple manifestations of violence.

The main purpose of exchanging alternative pedagogies, proposals and politics is to attain shared learning in a community of participants committed to actions for well-being and peace in the particular places where they live, work, and dream. Their commitment provides for establishing ties and joint efforts for thinking and creating, from particular countries and spaces, a possible world free from violence.

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