Tag Archives: Latin America

Revista CoPaLa, Constructing Peace in Latin America, July-December 2023


Extracts from the Revista núm. 18, introduction by Roberto Mercadillo and David Adams

. . . after long reviews and discussions, between 2019 and 2021, the three of us (Roberto Mercadillo, David Adams and Federico Mayor) undertook the task of shaping a new Declaration for the Transition towards a Culture of Peace in the 21st century following a cognitive approach to human consciousness with four axes: recognize, remember, understand and act. . . . (with regard to action) we propose 12 strategies that can be acted on in two simultaneous routes: local and global. The local route is fundamentally pedagogical to be carried out, mainly, by organized civil society supported by local governments. The global route involves the creation of a “Security Council of Mayors” made up of representatives of the major cities in all regions of the world and the expansion of the General Assembly of the United Nations to integrate citizens of the world in the analysis, proposals and resolutions of the problems that affect us.

In February 2022, with Cristina Ávila-Zesatti, Correspondent of Paz – Mexico, Myrian Castello from Fábrica dos Sonhos – Brazil, and Alicia Cabezudo from the Global Alliance for Peace Ministries and Infrastructures – Latin America and the Caribbean, we formed a group of academics, construction companies, peace educators and journalists in Latin America to discuss the relevance of the Declaration in this region of the world and join efforts for its dissemination. . . .

In September 2002, CoPaLa Magazine opened the call to publish a special issue that would give space to experiences, Latin American thoughts and proposals focused on culture and peacebuilding that coincide with the premises set forth in the Declaration for the Transition towards a Culture of Peace in the 21st Century. As a result of this effort, the current Number 18 of the CoPaLa Magazine provides Spanish-speaking readers with 15 texts with a diversity of ways of communicating and thinking about peace . . .

(1) The first essay exposes cognitive and universalist positions on the human mind. In “Culture of peace: A selfish paradox”, Clemens C.C. Bauer reflects on Nietzsche and the life of the Bodhisattva to argue that understanding our feelings and thoughts leads us to recognize our own well-being intertwined with the well-being of others. . .

(2) It is precisely from the historical approach and from his own experience, that Edgardo Carabantes Olivares writes “Peace and Human Rights in Chile fifty years after the overthrow of Allende”. Half a century after the coup d’état in 1973, the author wonders about the inadequacies of the political, social and cultural system that keeps the people Chile in a space that is neither dictatorship nor democracy, but rather a hybridocracy characterized by hidden violence, a negative peace and manipulation of the exercise citizen. He emphasizes civil disobedience, active nonviolence, and hope as acts of resistance to always choose life and peace.

(3) Meanwhile, in “Total Peace: A New Opportunity for Peace Initiatives ex-combatants of the FARC”, Laura C. Fuentes and Juan D. Forero analyze peace initiatives from and for ex-combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. These initiatives form resistance to the Colombian conflict and constitute peacebuilding strategies. The “Total peace”, proposal of the recent and current administration of the Colombian government, could provide – the authors suggest – a stable framework for the construction of a more just and equitable society . . .

Citizen organizations

(4) In “The (re)construction of peace in Mexico through communication”, Lucía Calderón observes and analyzes the violence experienced in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. She describes how the population became managers of information that kept them safe from the actions of criminals. She emphasizes that, to a large extent, the recovery of peace depends on the willingness of the society to rebuild itself and to become aware of the alliances they can build with their peers.

(5) From Mexico City, Arturo Ramírez Ruíz writes “Rodar el pueblo: structures of youth learning and community reception”. He describes and analyzes youth actions organized to ride bicycles and, with this, to build learning structures, community centers and spaces to coexist and live with others. Pedaling the bicycle, says the author, becomes a political act of resistance and vindication of rights that imply knowledge and know how to organize ourselves, know how to take care of ourselves, know how to show solidarity, know how to resist, know how to transform and know how to sustain ourselves.

(6) In “Chiapanecas moving collectively towards a life free of violence: challenges and learning”, Mónica Carrasco Gómez shows us a meticulous and daring participatory ethnography of a collective project of women to build economic independence and live free of violence in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. After searching and creating safe spaces to express their voices, women reestablished a collaborative environmentthat favored their economic independence, becoming aware of their power relations and learning new ways of relating in which the intention to act or speak had no
objective of imposition, but rather the possibility of cooperation.

(7) Carolina Escudero gives us “Culture of peace in the TEB campaign on forced disappearances in Spain.” Through qualitative research, she analyzes the “We Are Here” campaign with families who are victims of the forced disappearance of babies in Spain. She describes the alliances between organizations that ensure Truth, Justice and Reparation that lead to, as one of the participants says, accepting that “We are all equal, we are a family”. The TEB campaign contributes to managing conflict, by denouncing and recognizing the abuses by the State and institutions during the dictatorship, by placing democracy as an antidote to violence, and by strengthening cohesion and group action.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Questions related to this article:
Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

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(8) In “Teaching ethics in the face of the Technological Revolution (CRI). A hermeneutics-analogue perspective”, Alfonso Luna Martínez raises relevant ethical dilemmas for the assimilation if technological and industrial change in education. He concludes with an ethical proposal, presenting us with the need to overcome the neoliberal capitalist world and to regulate access to the data about people’s interests, so that they are not used in mass manipulation to define market and consumption trends.

(9) Jair Alejandro Vilchis Jardón writes “Thinking about neoliberalism. A critical view from analogical pedagogy of everyday life.” The author calls us to understand that the capitalist model not only acts in the economic sector, but has managed to permeate the educational system through excessive loads and/or work hours justified under the logic of production. He also invites us, collectively, to think about more humane ways of doing science with aspiration of social justice and not as productive agents of knowledge.

(10) In “Understandings about interculturality and its pedagogical implications”, Ximena Marin Hermann reflects on the relationships between interculturality and pedagogy. Interculturality, she suggests, emerges from the need to build public policies focused on social differentiation and globalization, from the resistance and defense of cultural particularities and their identities, and from the investigation to understand the problems of diversity and cultures. Its pedagogical implications lead to the construction of an inclusive intercultural citizenship that would allow us to answer the question “Can we talk about citizen and social construction based on pluriversity and what would be the keys to being able to travel this path?”

(11) Elia Calderón Leyton presents “Education for peace: reflections from literacy criticism”. Her text shows us the importance of writing and critical reading in education. Alluding to the thought of Husserl, Arendt, Habermas, Foucault and Cortina, she points out the need to practice the confrontation of knowledge and experience, as well as to distinguish inequalities in pedagogical practices. Critical thinking contributes to the pedagogy of peace and the ability to listen to others as a political act, because it places the individual in a community to transform doubt into truth, to understand and achieve authentic dialogue in Latin America.

(12) In “Educating towards a culture of peace in the 21st century: Guidelines for thinking and acting”, Anita Yudkin Suliveres proposes a positive vision of peace and a critical approach to education that prioritizes creative thinking, awareness of local problems and global, novel ways of investigating, experiencing and knowing, the cultivation of empathy and solidarity, the arts and the generation of spaces for participation. As educators, we must rethink what happens in educational processes, the experiences of training at all levels and reconsider both the study contents and the capabilities and knowledge that we aspire to promote.

(13) Mónica Lizbeth Chávez González in “School violence and interstitial spaces in Mexico. An ethnographic approach in Uruapan, Michoacán” presents an ethnography of focus groups in a secondary school. She describes how young people, through pedagogy of violence, build relationships and spaces of risk, vulnerability, impunity and defenselessness. Youth are presented as perpetrators of school violence and power through threats, certain criminal practices or the exercise of violent sexual-affective behavior. She urges us to attend to the intersection between these manifestations of violence to collectively them as daily problems.

Action and innovation

(14) In “Culture of peace, service-learning and citizen training: Experiences and reflections”, Benilde García-Cabrero, Alejandro R. Alba-Meraz and María Montero-López Lena reveal to us their proposal for education-action arising from the analysis of three psychosocial interventions carried out by themselves in Mexico. They describe the philosophical underpinnings and pedagogical methods of service-learning as an alternative to promote a culture of peace and citizen training in higher education institutions. With this, they deploy the transformative role of higher education for social awareness, the assumption of collective responsibility and the sense of responsibility. Service-learning enables groups who have a peace or social justice mission to reap the benefits of mutual support and collective action.

(15) In “Psicocalle Colectivo: A university proposal for education and construction of peace”, Lorena Paredes, Mosco Aquino and Roberto E. Mercadillo narrate the trajectory of a transdisciplinary university initiative to understand by means of neuroscience, anthropology and psychology the phenomena of street life and psychoactive substance use. They propose an action research model framed in the culture of peace and compassion as ways to connect with others and to use scientific knowledge in everyday life. Compassionate feeling and acting should motivate our action when confronted with the suffering of others. The culture of peace leads to actions towards the construction of an
active peace, conciliatory, emancipatory and resistant for life on the street and in the use of psychoactive substances.

Issue 18 of CoPaLa closes with a review of two relevant books

“The right to peace and its developments in History” (2022) published by Tirant lo Blanch, edited by María de La Paz Pando Ballesteros and Elizabeth Manjarrés Ramos: a review written by Erika Tatiana Jiménez Aceros. The book covers the history of Human Rights and the history of peace and peace research, thereby, unfolding the methodologies and objects of study of peacebuilding and allowing us to understand our history with new configurations.

“The other in the sand: 20 glances and a blink at Western Sahara” (2014) published by Gedisa and by the Metropolitan Autonomous University and coordinated by Roberto E. Mercadillo and Ahmed Mulay. This book, reviewed by Luis Guerrero, presents the vision of academics, activists and journalists from Latin America on the war, the conflict and the peace strategies developed in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. With this review, we stand in solidarity with the Sahrawi circumstance, we remember it and make it visible in Latin America in this year 2023 that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Polisario Front, an organization that has maintained the survival of the Sahrawi people, their quest for peace and their demand for autonomy

Mexico: Universities ratify peacebuilding strategy


An article from the Universidad de Colima

Last weekend (June 13), 113 rectors of universities and public and private institutions in the country ratified the strategy for building a culture of peace in Higher Education Institutions (IES), during the LXII Ordinary General Assembly of the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES), which was held in person at the University of Colima.

With a broad agenda of national educational issues, the rectors also ratified the creation of the National Network for Peace and the National Network of Higher Education for Inclusion. The general director of Academic Strengthening of ANUIES, Luis Alberto Fierro Ramírez explained that these are the path towards the construction of the university that Mexico needs.”

The person responsible for the Comprehensive Peace Building Program from the ANUIES Universities, Hortensia Sierra Hernández, prioritized the concepts of dignity, integrity and well-being as the values for actions for a culture of peace within educational communities.

Likewise, she said that the General Education Law is a mandate: “Many times we do not know where to start, but each community has actions that only need to weave together these three concepts.” Thus, she highlighted, “the culture of peace concerns human rights, equity, collaborative work, networks, gender perspective, equality, elimination of stereotypes, promotion and respect for the equality of women and men, mental health and eradication of any type of violence.”

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Questions for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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For his part, Francisco Gorjón Gómez presented the National Network for Peace as a collaborative work scenario between institutions involving experts and actions in the culture of peace and including students and researchers to promote the international objectives defined by the the objectives of sustainable development of the United Nations.

He also spoke of establishing a peace and human rights laboratory, as well as generating projects that have an impact as a network. As a national initiatives of the ANUIES, it calls for support from all the rectors of the IES and the largest number of people and experts.

Likewise, Servando Gutiérrez Ramírez spoke about what will be the National Network of Higher Education for Inclusion. He said that the number of people in conditions of exclusion has increased “at the same time as conditions of vulnerability that impact the situation of people, not only with some disability but also those who are in vulnerable conditions such as indigenous people, Afro-descendants, people of sexual and gender diversity and older adults.”

He added that there is interest in collaborating in a national network and that a large number of public and private institutions already collaborate. All of them have people who are experts in inclusion and vulnerability issues. This, he continued, “will give important solidity and social meaning to this network, because as people with disabilities insist: ‘nothing about us without involving us.’”

Upon learning details of both networks, different rectors highlighted the current importance of the two themes, asking how to integrate them, if there was any financing, and requesting that they not be bureaucratized.

In this regard, the general director of University and Intercultural Higher Education, Carmen Rodríguez Armenta, indicated, via virtual presentation, that within the federal and state resource ministries and as part of the 2023 financial plan, “there is the idea of presenting a protocol about sexual harassment and an institutional program on a culture of peace.”

She continued, “It is now an obligation of the General Law of Higher Education and also a commitment of the resource that are needed.” She added that the auditors of the Higher Body of the Federation in 2024 will have this document duly formalized by their general university council.

Finally, she recalled the importance of the session convened by ANUIES, with its protocol to eradicate gender violence and with the institutional peace program authorized by its university councils.

Book: Culture of Human Rights for a future of Peace


A note from the Secretaría de Gobernación de México

Peace is a constant search, it is something that requires permanent work. When we talk about peace we refer to the dignity of life; the protection of individual and collective rights; and the generation of conditions for development.

This book is an initiative of the General Directorate of Public Policy and the Economic Culture Fund, which explores the construction of a culture of peace in relation to human rights. That is, it links the idea of making peace, understood as a way to address the causes of the conflict, with the prerogatives that allow the integral development of individuals. To address this question, a group of activists and academics who share an interest in exploring peacebuilding processes in Mexico and Colombia were invited.

This publication was officially presented at the Bogotá International Book Fair on April 20, 2023, and its content was discussed at a dialogue table that included the participation of the Mexican ambassador to Colombia and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in colombia.

It will soon be available at the Economic Culture Fund.

(Review continued in right column)

( Click here for the original version in Spanish.)

Question for this article:

What are the most important books about the culture of peace?

Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

(Review continued from left column)

A brief review

Peace is more than the absence of armed conflict or criminal violence. This book questions the dominant notions of peace, often associated with the territorial integrity of a national State, and instead it confronts the processes of domination, injustice and inequality. For many of the authors, achieving peace is a process that cannot be achieved until structural violence, such as poverty or impunity, is overcome. In that sense, peace is conceptualized in a broad way, not from the negative definition of a pure absence of war, but as a positive statement. That is to say, peace becomes an alternative to militarist and sexist ideologies, to criminal violence and to warlike values.

Table of contents

* Total peace and human security in Colombia: potentialities and limitations / Pablo Emilio Angarita Cañas

* Moving towards peace: neuroscientific perspectives from Mexico / Roberto Emmanuelle, Mercadillo Caballero

* The challenges of peacebuilding in contexts of chronic violence and persistent human insecurity in Latin America / Alexandra Abello Colak

* The total peace in Colombia: a necessary attempt / Juan Camilo Pantoja, Raúl Zepeda Gil

* About the identity and particularity of education in the key to building a culture of peace: contributions for Colombia / Alicia Cabezudo

* Peace and human rights / Miguel Concha Malo, Carlos Ventura Callejas

* Weeding out militarism: cultures of peace in the struggle of the Lesvy Berlin femicide case Rivera Osorio / Sergio Beltrán-García

* How to discern the nuances of apparent forms of peace: a tale of two peoples / Trevor Stack

Argentina: International Meeting of Participatory Conflict Resolution Methods


An article from the Argentine government

December 6: An international meeting on Participatory Conflict Resolution Methods “Human Rights, democracy and culture of peace” was held in the City of Salta with more than 400 mediators from different organizations at the federal level.

The event was organized by the Secretariat of Justice of Salta, the European Union Argentine Delegation, the National Directorate of Mediation and Participatory Methods of Conflict Resolution and the Federal Board of Cortes and Superior Courts of Justice of Argentina, JUFEJUS.

It was developed in two days of extensive work with the aim of continuing to develop mediation in our country.

Present at the opening ceremony were the president of Ju.Fe.Jus, María del Carmen Battaini; the president of the Access to Justice and Mediation Commission of JUFEJUS, Fernando Augusto Niz; the Minister of the Superior Court of Chaco, Victor del Río; the Minister of Security and Justice, Marcelo Ramón Domínguez; the Secretary of Justice of Salta, Luis María García Salado and the National Director of Mediation and Participatory Methods of Conflict Resolution, Patricio Nicolás Ferrazzano.

(Article continued in right column)

(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Question for this article:

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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During the conference, different panels were held with experts working on different thematic axes related to Participatory Conflict Resolution Methods throughout Argentina.

In addition to the National Directorate Team, participants included international and national exhibitors from many Argentine provinces.

In a second meeting, a series of talks was sponsored by the European Union with 4 speakers. It was attended by Ambassador Amador Sánchez Rico and the Head of Cooperation, Luca Pierantoni.

Minister of Security and Justice Marcelo Domínguez highlighted the importance of this space for debate and the participation of national and provincial authorities, as well as people from various provinces. The official indicated that it is key to work on the development of public policies that lead to forming a more just and supportive society, where each person is seen as a neighbor and not a rival. Furthermore, he stressed the value of resolving conflicts peacefully.

Likewise, the Secretary of Justice of Salta emphasized that he is proud that the Salta mediation model is an international reference because it speaks very well of the mediators and the commitment of the Governor of the Province to contribute to the culture of peace, coexistence and access to justice.”

The promotion of participatory methods of conflict resolution is essential to build a culture of peace and understanding and the promotion of these is not only a desirable option, but an imperative necessity if we seek to build a more peaceful and just world for future generations. .

The meeting included many mediators, officials and the general public from all over the country. The government of Salta and the Ministry of Security and Justice are recognized for their joint work and for achieving this enriching meeting.

Tourism as an engine of peace: strategies for sustainable development in Colombia


An article from LABARRA

On November 23 and 24, the IV National Congress of Confetur (Confederación de la Industria Turística de Colombia) was held in the city of Bucaramanga. As part of the agenda, Arturo Bravo, Vice Minister of Tourism of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia, made an important intervention on the strategy of tourism for a culture of peace, promoted by the national government to build the country through tourism.

Colombia peace destinations seal

Among the most crucial points of the conversation, the importance of peace tourism territories, local economic development, purposeful tourism promotion and the construction of a culture of peace around tourism were highlighted. A complete look at a key sector not only in the country’s economic recovery, but also in the construction of peace.

Peace tourism territories: a strategic approach

According to the information presented by Bravo in the congress, the ministry has managed to identify “the tourist territories of peace and 12 subregions at the national level, where of the 170 PDET municipalities, which are the municipalities that have special plans for compliance with the agreements of peace, 88 have a tourist vocation.” These findings have allowed the Government to create a strategy that not only promotes these tourist territories of peace, but also provides tourism entrepreneurs with tools to promote the economic and social development of their regions.

As part of this strategy, the ministry has begun the first phase that involves an investment of 8.2 billion in these territories. Regarding this point, the vice minister highlights that, although it does not seem like an important figure, it corresponds only to the first phase of a project that hopes to mark a significant milestone for the sustainable development of these destinations and tourism in Colombia.

Impact of the conflict on tourism: a historical perspective

Colombia is a country plagued by violence, which for decades has experienced the scourge of political and economic wars, which has permeated all sectors of society. Faced with this problem, Bravo poses a very pertinent question: “How much has been the cost generated by the armed conflict for tourism?”
And from the eighties to 2000, the number of tourists was below 1,000,000, a result precisely of the intensity of the armed conflicts experienced at that time. That situation closed the doors of the country to non-resident visitors in Colombia. However, the achievement of the peace agreements with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and the FARC, presented a notable change.

“With the first peace agreements with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, tourism increased almost 21% (…) When the final agreement was finally signed with the FARC instrument, it rose to 38%.”

For Bravo, this increase may not seem so significant if seen outside of the Colombian context, however, taking into account that the time it took the country to reach these numbers, it is clearly an achievement. “When you see it in that context, in almost two decades we we,t from 1,000,000 tourists to 7,000,000; “It is, without a doubt, an enormous challenge and a great achievement as a country,” he states.

Although the 2020 pandemic brought a significant decrease, as it did throughout the world, the possibility of a new peace agreement with the ELN offers an optimistic horizon of seeking to exceed 7 million tourists by 2025.

Challenges and opportunities in the PDET territories (Development Programs with Territorial Focus )
Faced with this point, the vice minister highlights the cost generated by the armed conflict in the PDET territories. According to the figures he revealed during the congress, there are significant sociodemographic challenges, such as high rates of informality, unemployment and monetary poverty.

“Of the total number of employed people in these territories, 58% are informal, there is an unemployment rate of 12.8%, higher than the national average, and a monetary poverty rate of almost 78%,” he says. Furthermore, according to the vice minister, 50% of the victimizing events are concentrated in these territories.

However, Bravo shared some figures on tourism development in these territories, which show their development potential. “More or less 10% of the country’s total industry is concentrated in these municipalities. In Colombia, there are around 94,000 formal tourism companies, of which only 9,000 are in those territories,” says Bravo.

The vice minister highlights the concentration of service providers in accommodation, pointing out the need to diversify the value chain to include other aspects such as transportation, gastronomy and tourist activities.

“77.43% correspond to accommodation service providers, while only 12% are travel agencies and 1.2% correspond to gastronomic establishments. This means that many aspects of the value chain need to be developed,” but above all, “in these territories there is a need for new entrepreneurial options,” he concludes.

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(Click here for the Spanish original.)

Questions related to this article:
How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

(article continued from left column)

Peace tourism territories strategy: promoting local development

For the ministry, it was extremely important to create a strategy that promoted sustainable tourism within the framework of the consolidation of peace tourism territories. Thus, its proposal is based on four fundamental axes: the construction of tourist territories of peace, the development of economic opportunities, the consolidation of the culture of peace and the promotion of tourism with a purpose.

Construction of tourist territories of peace

Regarding the first point, Bravo comments that the challenge begins with understanding “what are the capabilities that these territories have” and from there strengthening human talent, improving staffing conditions and working as a network to share common experiences and challenges.

For Bravo, this last point has been vital, especially in terms of international cooperation. An example like that of Cuba, guest of honor of the Congress, is an example of everything that can be achieved in relation to the deepening of commercial and tourist relations.

Economic opportunities

During the congress, Vice Minister Bravo presented the Colombia peace destinations seal, a key element to promote economic opportunities in areas affected by the conflict. The seal, beyond being a badge, is a powerful narrative that carries with it a commitment to peace. Bravo emphasizes the importance of granting this seal to products, services and tourist activities from these areas.

A concrete example occurs in gastronomy: when buying from suppliers in areas of peace or connecting with people who have been signatories of the peace, victims or former victims, the peace seal can be applied. This not only highlights the quality of the products, but also builds a social fabric where everyone contributes to the peace process.

On the other hand, Bravo anticipates the holding of four regional roundtables in these peaceful tourist territories. With this strategic approach, we seek to promote collaboration between local entrepreneurs, promoting the development of direct local trade. This strategy not only benefits the timely development of the tourism product, but also addresses the challenge of the productive chain of tourism, crucial in remote regions of the country.

In a context where positive and ethical narratives are essential, the tourism sector emerges as a key agent for the positive transformation of Colombia.

And precisely, regarding this point, the vice minister was very emphatic about the need to improve connectivity so that the tourist services in these areas can reach tourists effectively. According to the president, connectivity is not only about facilitating access to destinations, but also about connecting strategies between entrepreneurs efficiently. Thus, business efficiency, in this context, becomes a key component for the success of the strategy.

Consolidation of the culture of peace

The third axis, for its part, focuses on the culture of peace, highlighting the importance of working with different ethical principles, especially on issues of historical memory. The objective is clear: to avoid glorifying war, not to repeat the tragedy and, above all, not to repeat victimization.

According to the vice-minister, enhancing memory tourism allows us to tell a different story and rescue what makes these territories great. “There we have to work hard on the construction and strengthening of peace narratives, to avoid negative tourism, and move on to positive tourism, one that does not make us forget, but does help us build towards the future,” he comments.

Tourism promotion with purpose

The fourth axis focuses on purposeful tourism promotion, headed by the implementation of the “Colombia Destinations of Peace” seal. This approach seeks to sell an emotion, a different way of contributing to the national purpose of building peace. The invitation is to actively participate in this initiative, where tourism promotion is not only about destinations, but about telling positive stories of what happened in those territories.

The Vice Minister points out the existence of previous programs, such as Peace and Coexistence tourism, which have already consolidated destinations for the culture of peace. The region of Urabá stands out; they will host the next congress and is presented as a destination of peace. The idea is to take advantage of these advances and consolidated experiences, sharing the lessons learned through networks and inter-institutional cooperation.

(Editor’s note: Regarding Urabá, see the The ‘Island of Enchantment‘: the mysterious island that “appears and disappears” in Urabá)

Without a doubt, the vision presented by Vice Minister Arturo Bravo within the framework of the IV National Congress of Confetur, reveals a comprehensive approach that will allow tourism to be positioned as a catalyst for peace and development in Colombia. The proposed strategy addresses not only tourism promotion and local economic development, but also the construction of a culture of peace through other narratives.

Rebuilding the social fabric and the culture of peace in Mexico


An article from National Autonomous University of Mexico

Rebuilding the social fabric and the culture of peace in Mexico necessarily requires respect for human rights and legality, as well as reducing inequality and controlling types of violence, agreed experts gathered at the UNAM.

When closing the work of the Permanent Seminar on Social Sciences (SEPERCIS) 2023 “Reflections of the contemporary world, the reconstruction of the social fabric and the culture of peace”, the General Secretary of the National University, Patricia Dávila Aranda, reported that members of the 14 academic career committees participated, along with representatives of civil society organizations. “This was wise, because they broadened their views and had a more inclusive vision.”

“I am sure that each and everyone learned and heard something that will allow them to move forward on this important issue. Without a doubt, paths were built for the future, because that is why we meet, discuss and hold these types of seminars,” she pointed out.

She hoped that in subsequent meetings more voices from society would be integrated because “there is room for all of us at the University. The more groups and different ways of thinking we are related to in academic work, the more we will learn and the better we can build.”

Dávila Aranda explained that during the 18 sessions methodologies were analyzed, experiences of community and territorial interventions were shared, and theoretical approaches were addressed to provide elements for the understanding and relevance of the reconstruction of the social fabric and the culture of peace.

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Questions for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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She highlighted that the social sciences have a range of training and specialists in different topics, and at this event they analyzed them from a multidisciplinary perspective, in order to improve social interactions, mental health, human rights, care, resilience and mediation, among other topics.

Enduring values

“In various definitions, peace is understood as a situation without armed struggle, in harmony, without confrontations or conflicts. We relate it to a concept of war, but it is not limited to that, rather it means the opposite of all types of violence,” emphasized the former head of the University Human Rights Program, Luis Raúl González Pérez.

“Peace refers to well-being, inner tranquility, having basic needs such as food, security and correct development covered. It is talked about based on justice, which generates positive and lasting values capable of integrating people, politically and socially, that respond satisfactorily to human needs.”

“That is, inalienable guarantees must be the guiding axis for the construction of societies that live in peace,” said the former president of the National Human Rights Commission.

“However, the 2023 National Public Security Victimization Survey of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography indicates that 60.5 percent of the population over 18 years of age consider insecurity to be one of the most important problems that burdens us,” he said.

“In 2022, 27.4 percent of people in Mexican households had at least one of their members as a victim of crime. In addition, 21.1 million people were victims of some crime,” he noted.

On this occasion, the president of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, Nashieli Ramírez Hernández, pointed out that in the country there is a breakdown in the social fabric that we must rebuild, based on a reality where violence and conflict prevail.

“It is essential,” he added,”to build strategies with the objective of achieving a culture of peace; For this it is necessary to enter into the discussion around this concept which is approached from the dichotomy of peace and war. We must move beyond that logic to observe it as a real strategy that can be applied in scenarios like the current one. We must recover the concepts of restorative justice that are based on dialogue.”

Among the strategies to achieve it and rebuild the social fabric, Ramírez Hernández mentioned the transformation of narratives, participation, communication, reinforced protection for priority attention groups and reworking of restorative justice mechanisms.

Mexico: Global forum at the Centro Universitario del Sur promotes the culture of peace


An article from the Universidad de Guadelajara

The VI Global Culture of Peace Forum took place in the Oral Trial Room of the Centro Universitario del Sur (CUSur), under the motto “Actions for Peace.” The event aims to analyze the advances of the culture of peace with a citizen focus, through education, development and transformation at the national and international level, in order to achieve the objectives of peace, justice and security. It is organized by the University Rights Ombudsman of the University of Guadalajara (UdeG).

Dr. José Guadalupe Salazar Estrada, Rector of CUSur, addressed a few words to those present, pointing out that the university center follows guidelines established by the University of Guadalajara (UdeG) through the Council of Rectors and the General University Council. This is done to guarantee the use and respect of University Rights and Human Rights.

“The University of Guadalajara, as an institution of academic excellence and with social responsibility, has undertaken a series of measures that support the training of highly qualified human resources to support and operate the implementation of the culture of peace […] As part of the Institutional Development Plan, the doctoral program in Human Rights was created,” mentioned Dr. Salazar Estrada.

Likewise, he highlighted that the university center monitors violations of university regulations, the protocol for the prevention, care, punishment and eradication of gender violence, and issues of human rights, regulated as well by the Ombudsman’s Office. These elements are consolidated as a responsibility to contribute to the Culture of Peace, promoting respect for all people and the defense of human rights.

Professor Hiram Valdez Chávez, founding President of the First National Congress of Culture of Peace (COMNAPAZ) Mexico, explained that this forum is of great importance in the country, being an international platform for participation by citizens, international organizations and civil associations of Human Rights, Culture of Peace and Human Development.

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Questions for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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“This forum is undoubtedly a great challenge, especially to design and carry out year after year in strengthening international peace and educational models that involve the professionalization of actors involved in the culture of peace,” explained Valdez Chávez.

Dr. Norman Bardavid Nissin, President of the Global Citizen Organization for the Culture of Peace, explained that peace is a state of being in unity, observed from three dimensions: individual, social and environmental. At the same time, he highlighted that the citizen forum was born with the intention of generating a global organization that could linki to national peace commissions that have followed the example of Mexico.

Dr. Dante Jaime Haro Reyes, Defender of University Rights at the UdeG, commented that the responsibility of each human being is to turn into reality the values, attitudes, and behaviors that promote the culture of peace. This is achieved by acting within the family, local citizen, regional and national framework.

Finally, Dr. Andrés Valdez Zepeda, Academic Secretary of CUSur, recited a poem he authored titled “Peace is the way.”

As part of the activities of the VI Global Forum on the Culture of Peace, the master conference “Peace Studies in Latin America” was held in the Adolfo Aguilar Zínser Auditorium, given by Dr. Fernando Montiel, Director of the Galtung Institute, headquarters in Mexico and Representative of Johan Galtung in Latin America. He highlighted that peace research and the pacifist movement are two different things but they are connected.

He referred to the first generation of peace activism, understood as opposition to war and open violence, that is, the search for peace from a moral perspective by condemning violence in ethical and moral terms.

In this context, Dr. Fernando Montiel questioned whether Mexico is in a state of peace or war. He highlighted that, according to the basic definitions of Public International Law, war is equal to any armed conflict that causes more than a thousand deaths per year. A few years ago, the State Department maintained that nearly 300,000 people have lost their lives in Mexico for reasons related to organized crime.

“Mexico is a country at war by any metric. Why isn’t this recognized? Because Mexico has an internal conflict, not a war. The numbers say that a fierce humanitarian tragedy is occurring, no matter if it is a war against drug trafficking in particular or an internal armed conflict […]  The truth is that the suffering is there regardless of the labels, said Fernando Montiel.

Finally, he commented that the development of peace studies is part of the pacifist movement, since they are academic research disciplines existing in university faculties whose objective is to find the way in which peace can be achieved. For this reason, he explained that in 1959 the first Peace Research Center in the world was founded in Norway, the famous Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO). Five years later, in 1964, the first journal specialized in peace research, the Journal of Peace Research, was established, becoming the formal beginning of peace studies as a publicly recognized academic discipline.

Subsequently, the panel “Construction of Citizenship and Promotion of the Culture of Peace” was held, as well as the international tables “Education, Consciousness and Peace”, Public Policies of Peace, Security, Justice and Peace. In addition, comprehensive peace-building workshops were taught in different classrooms at the university center.

Brazil: Ministry of Education advances the debate on restorative justice


An article from the Ministry of Education in Brazil

On Tuesday, November 28th, the 2nd Restorative Justice Dialogue in Schools was organized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) through the Secretariat of Continuing Education, Youth and Adult Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion (Secadi). The initiative is in partnership with the National Council of Justice (CNJ) and aims to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in schools. The broadcast is available on the MEC YouTube Channel.

This second meeting featured the participation of judge Egberto de Almeida Penido and judge Roberto Portugal Bacellar. The debate was moderated by Yann Evanovick Furtado, general coordinator of Educational Policies for Youth, at Secadi.

According to  judge Roberto Portugal Bacellar, having a new look at the issue of authority makes it possible to work in a cooperative, integrative manner and with a systemic vision. “The idea of restorative justice is that we can analyze a conflict with a complex, systemic view, instead of seeing it as a fragmented episode. We analyze it not as a portrait, but as a film, where we can try to learn about each person’s story,” he explained. According to the judge, restorative justice is participatory and a conflict must be treated together by all who are involved, including students, teachers, principals and even the community.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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According to judge Egberto de Almeida Penido, restorative justice in schools is an initiative to deal not only with violence, but with the construction of an environment of fair coexistence. “When we talk about restorative justice, we are talking about the value of justice, which is a very expensive value, too precious to be in the hands of jurists alone. It concerns each and every one, the way we respond to what affects us”, he stated. According to him, schools that have adhered to restorative practices have seen a drop in the rate of violence.

Dialogues – The Restorative Justice in Schools cycle of dialogues is part of the Technical Cooperation Agreement for the implementation of the “Restorative Justice in Schools” project, signed by the MEC and the CNJ on November 14th. The debates are a preparation for the implementation of restorative practices in the school environment in 2024. The objective is to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in schools, using practices that involve dialogue, accountability and repairing the damage caused by conflicts.

Agreement – The Technical Cooperation Agreement for the implementation of the “Restorative Justice in Schools” project has the objective of contributing resources so that schools can create environments that facilitate the confrontation of internal violence. It is based on qualified listening and restoration and strengthening of relationships that permeate the school environment. These actions require the commitment of the entire school community (leaders, teachers, students, parents) and society, as well as through the training of professionals and students who have an interface with the education network.

The project also includes: partnership between the courts; the participation of magistrates and civil servants; institutional partners; and the education system and its schools. The dissemination of the basic notions about the various possibilities and functionalities of restorative justice is the responsibility of the CNJ’s Restorative Justice Steering Committee.

The Technical Cooperation Agreement requires the Ministry of Education and the National Council of Justice must promote articulation, management, awareness-raising and training actions in order to achieve restorative justice in the educational system.

Mexico: Multipliers of Peace impact more than 19 thousand young people from Guanajuato


An article from Canal 13

During 2023, 19,241 people in the state of Guanajuato have been impacted through the JuventudEsGTO Peace Multipliers program, which aims to train enthusiastic and committed young people to learn to drive. their socio-emotional behavior and can voluntarily carry out peace actions to benefit their environments.

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Questions for this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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“We have determined as one of our most important strategies in JuventudEsGTO, which is the Peace Multipliers program, through which we seek to humanize youth, understanding that not only the development of young people involves economic, educational, but also a personal issue that allows us to self-manage, administer and know how to use our emotions” said Toño Navarro, general director of JuventudEsGTO.

This program, which uses the “Humanízate” methodology, consists of various activities that involve the participation of the youth community, such as discussions, training sessions, conferences, macro games and virtual meetings.

To this end, so far this year, this program has visited more than 40 educational institutions, from the different subsystems, as well as public spaces in all the municipalities of the state to reach a greater number of people.

In this strategy, young people between 17 and 30 years old can participate who intend to generate a positive change in their life and environment, building a culture of peace.

The JuventudEsGTO Peace Multipliers program is an opportunity for young people from Guanajuato to train as social leaders, learn to manage their emotions and contribute to generating a culture of peace in their communities.

Medellín, Colombia, with the most peaceful days in the last 40 years


An article from Cambio Colombia

Four years after its creation, the Medellín Non-Violence Secretariat makes spaces for reparation between victims, perpetrators and citizens. As a result, Medellin has achieved the calmest days in the city since the 1980s.

Photo: Mayor’s Office of Medellín.

The capital of Antioquia is experiencing the most peaceful days of the last 40 years. As an example, during the protests of the social outbreak in the country, Medellín was the only place that did not report deaths or missing people.

This was possible thanks to the creation of the Non-Violence Secretariat in 2020, which at that time worked hand in hand with marchers and public forces to preserve order and respect for human rights.

Likewise, the launch of the Secretariat by the District Administration has turned Medellín into a Latin American example for reparation and care for victims, ex-combatants and people deprived of their liberty. Furthermore, thanks to the work of this department with the public force, the city has recorded a reduction of more than 40% in homicides.

The contribution to total peace

Already at the beginning of its activities in September 2020, the Non-Violence Secretariat began to show results. In 2022, thanks to the entity, the Mayor’s Office of Medellín managed to make victims, peace signatories, boys, girls, adolescents and young people the main protagonists of peace building and creators of common spaces, which was previously thought unlikely.

This was achieved through attention to the victims of the armed conflict, and with opportunities and training for peace signatories; with prevention of the involvement of adolescents and young people in organized crime, with the Partners Program; and with training in a culture of peace for boys and girls; also with the implementation of actions with a sense of reparation between victims, community and those responsible.

“The Non-Violence Secretariat is delivering for society and the community organizations with which we interact every day. This work is reflected in the advances in the structuring of the Public Peace Policy for Medellín that has been done in a participatory manner. Also, there is an increase in coverage and in the participation of different populations in various processes,” according to the Secretary of Non-Violence, Cristian Aguirre.

In addition, the implementation strategy of the Peace Agreement was developed, based on the signing of the Agreement with the Special Justice for Peace (JEP) and the recognition of the peace agenda with a restorative approach built by the Collective Memories Process and Territorial Peace in Manrique.

Promotion of employment and entrepreneurship

An economic autonomy strategy was consolidated through employment training processes, composed of eleven courses that impacted approximately 220 people in developing skills and competencies for the populations that are part of the agency’s programs.

Also, support was provided for employability, which has allowed 963 people to get into the job market, 838 of them have been victims of the armed conflict, that is, about 87% of the beneficiaries are victims.

141 enterprises were impacted with the program to strengthen the productive units of victims, with $199 million. And, finally, there is the “Made in Peace” strategy that has been part of 12 city fairs and has generated sales of $228 million in events such as the Flower Fair, the Book Festival, the Month for Peace, the Days of Non-Violence, and Football for Life and Peace.

Accompaniment to victims of the conflict

Among the milestones achieved with the victims of the conflict is the resumption of the search for people reported missing in La Escombrera (commune 13), which could be carried out after seven years of having been suspended.

This work, coordinated with the Search Unit for Persons Reported Missing, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) and victims’ organizations, involved a budget of more than $468 million. Another milestone is the delivery of basic income to 7,777 victims of the armed conflict, settled in the city.

In relation to reincorporation and reintegration into social and economic life, the Non-Violence Secretariat has accompanied 610 ex-combatants to enable their access to the offer of employability and entrepreneurship.

In addition, during 2022, productive projects were strengthened and awareness workshops were held with the business sector to promote inclusion and non-stigmatization. In addition, the route of economic reintegration of the signatories of the Peace Agreement was supported and disseminated from the line of action “Community productive development” with professional and technical support for 34 productive units.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Question related to this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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To transform territories and enable peaceful forms of conflict resolution, 4,695 boys, girls, adolescents and young people were trained in peacebuilding by the Schools of Non-Violence, which worked from art, culture and territorial peace based on processes of memory, truth, restorative justice and humanization of conflicts.

“Within our strategies against organized crime and common crime, at the head of the Prosecutor’s Office, the crime of instrumentalization of minors is being charged to those leaders and members of all these criminal organizations who are using or using minors for their misdeeds. . Thus, all the ringleaders have charges in this crime,” said the Secretary of Security and Coexistence, José Gerardo Acevedo.

Through the Partners strategy, 1,443 adolescents and young people were reached with training processes in life skills, construction of territorial peace and strengthening of their life projects. With this, 135 young people were linked to educational, entrepreneurship and employability activities.

In addition, the District developed a tool to analyze the status of the children and adolescents, at the beginning and at the end of their participation in the project, which made it possible to know their impact and generate knowledge about the prevention of instrumentalization or recruitment by illegal armed actors in the city.

In the Youth Public Health and Youth Habitat programs, with more than 1,000 young beneficiaries, the agenda was aligned with key issues for the peace of the country, such as the solution to the drug problem, peace agreements and post-agreements, and the Agreement from Escazú, among others.

And through the Conscious Consumption strategy, a commitment was made to the decriminalization of substance users, and with the Seres del Agua and Medellín en la Cabeza projects, reflection was made on the protection of the environment and those who safeguard it.

Schools of Non-Violence

Another of the secretary’s strategies was the creation of the Schools of Non-Violence through which a process is developed that seeks to transform the lives of boys, girls, young people and adolescents by training them through art and culture to build peace in their territories, in addition to showing them forms of resistance and humanization of conflicts in the face of violence.

The main allies to be able to bring this offer to different communes and townships of Medellín are the social organizations that in each territory work to remember, seek the truth, and be symbols of resilience and resistance against violence with art and culture to transform realities. .

Ana María Hoyos, 24 years old, is a trainer of the Schools of Non-Violence and is part of the Robledo Venga Parchemos Corporation, an organization that has been developing processes for the construction of peace and memory through art for a long time. . Among the processes carried out in the corporation is the incubator of aerial acrobatics in fabrics, in which Ana is one of the promoters through theater and circus processes, and with which they are also linked to the Schools of Non-Violence , relating these artistic activities to the processing and humanization of conflicts for the construction of peace.

“In 2015 we were established as a corporation and this was born from the gathering in the territory of young artists who met in other spaces in the city and due to the very complex and violent dynamics of the territory they did not meet in the same neighborhood. They saw in the Robledo Venga Parchemos Corporation the possibility of being recognized and validated from other perspectives; and so they found a new way of inhabiting public space by filling it with art,” says Ana María.

In the Corporation they started with cultural spaces and from this two events emerged that are the most representative. The first most emblematic event of all was an Artistic and Cultural Lunada, which revolves around sitting in a park to share a chocolate, to make music, that is, to make a cultural take, which little by little evolved and became a cultural march through the neighborhood.

Ana María tells how her proposal has evolved. “Little by little ‘La Lunada’ was transformed until it reached the open-air theater in La Batea park, which is where it is currently performed. This was before a place of consumption and fights, and ‘La Lunada’ came to redefine this space to fill it.

The second event was the Circo al Puente, which was born from the intention of holding an artistic exhibition of the aerial acrobatics. ‘”This process began on the Bridge between Robledo Aures and Villa Sofía, which was previously an invisible border and we turned it into a space where we could practice aerial acrobatics. Thus we began to transform another space that had been violent, to fill it with art and redefine it,” said Ana María.

The Robledo Venga Parchemos Corporation projects itself and shares its knowledge in the territory with the boys, girls, adolescents and young people who are part of its group. It has transformed the neighborhood, giving new meaning to the territories and appropriating public space to fill it with culture.

This process has been strengthened by the Schools of Non-Violence, since they have not only been linked as a school, but they themselves are constantly in training to continue acquiring various knowledge and taking it to their training. Diploma courses and collaborators are some of these spaces to remember, share knowledge and experiences.

The Non-Violence policy of the District Mayor’s Office continues to work hand in hand with the social organizations that have committed to the processes of peace construction, resignification of the territories, building memory and searching for the truth, to continue impacting and transforming processes through art and culture and in this way be closer and closer to that peaceful future of Medellín.