Leader with a Vision of Peace: Carazo

October 8, 2004

FORMER Costa Rican PresidentRodrigo Carazo (1978-1982) is one of thefounders of the University for Peace.However, he does not think it takes a million-dollar university to teach humanity thefundamentals of peace.After the 77-year-old Cartago nativeofficially left UPEACE in the 1980s, hewas named president emeritus and nowspends most of his time giving lectures andhosting conferences on peace.The Tico Times spoke with Carazorecently regarding peace education:TT: What is peace education?RC: Learning to engage in dialogueand listen. This doesn’t mean people haveto change their minds and their ideas, butrather change their lives by learning how tolisten.There is no one way, there are no formulas,there are attitudes; there is study;there is comprehension.One who listens is convinced every daymore that he is correct, but he is alwayscorrecting what he thinks. So education forpeace is possible, and it is not a question ofhaving class from 9-10 a.m.Why is it hard for people to do this?People reject engaging in dialoguebecause it allows people to say things thatcan be rejected.Political leaders do not converse, theytalk. And that is one of the biggest problemshumanity has, their leaders alwayshave the last word. So the world is filledwith last words, not with dialogue that cansolve problems.The form of discussing now is in frontof a microphone, and you can’t have a conversationin front of a microphone, becauseyou are just making propaganda.For example, here there is the big problemof the Central American Free-TradeAgreement with the United States(CAFTA). We can’t engage in dialogueabout it, because the people who made itthink it is a masterpiece and they will notlet those of us who do not believe that sayour opinion.Why is this peace education importantfor non-leaders?For example, countries are making alarge effort to stop immigrants at their borders.And they are going to fail. Look athistory. It has never been possible, at anymoment, in any culture, to detain immigrants. So we have to determine what isthe best solution to accommodate our wayof living.When you get an immigrant to cleanyour house, the first day he is a cleaner,the second day he is a person with a name.The third day he is a friend. If I continuewith the image that he is a broom in ahand, I will never understand.But the best example of dialogue is theresolution of problems between men andwomen, in relationships.Has UPEACE received the supportit needs?You can always say that if there hadbeen more help, more goals would havebeen met. But it is a lot to ask man to helpthings of the spirit. Man is always moreready to help with material things.UPEACE is not there to realize materialgoals, but rather to plant the idea that violenceis not the solution to problems. Theconferences I give on peace educationwouldn’t be possible without the creation ofUPEACE.

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