– Ranjani Shanker
When I think of Costa Rica, I think of vacations and gourmet coffee. From today, something else has made an impact to stick with my imagery of this beautiful country – UPeace.
The University for Peace (UPEACE) was established in Costa Rica in 1980 “to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.” To me, the most fabulous part of the UPeace concept is how they bring about diversity in such a small group of thought leaders – 80 staff, 192 students from 55 different countries.
As Dr. Robert Muller, Chancellor of the UN-mandated UPeace says, “I dream that each country shall create a Ministry of Peace and an academy or institute for peace, with local branches, in order to guide and co-ordinate the efforts of citizens, schools, and local institutions and associations working for peace, non-violence, and a better world. The University for Peace could from time to time organize international conferences of such new peace departments.” This definitely resonated with me and I believe that piece by piece, we have the ability to reconstruct this world through the power of social capital. I shall talk at length about social capital and how non-profits and grassroots movements of today can take advantage of it to further their goals in a later post. Simply put, today, when the economy is slowly limping back to shape, tapping the efficiency of your networks to move closer to your goal is the way forward. Social investments are way more profitable than financial ones!
The varied programs that UPeace offers are phenomenal and the one that caught my attention was one of the newer additions – Human Security! A Masters in Human Security better equips you to understand how people deal with poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. Do have a look at the interesting programs they offer!
At UniversalGiving, peace is of great importance and we attach ourselves to some wonderful organizations through whom we are able to provide you with the ability to make your little contributions towards building peace.
You could provide peace building books to early childhood leaders working in conflict areas or you could volunteer at a Ghana Peace Program or you could donate towards peace caravans for Muslim and Christian children!
Isn’t this exciting? The opportunities are limitless. Seize yours and give back!