San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

BePeace Course and Peace Summit Starts Next Week

Harnessing the attention the creation of the Ministry of Peace brought to Costa Rica, the Global Alliance has scheduled its 2009 summit in Costa Rica’s Central Valley.

Beginning Sept. 17 and lasting through Sept. 21, the summit aims to grow the Global Alliance network and offer guidance to people motivated to develop peace infrastructure in their home countries.

Representatives from at least 40 countries are expected to participate in daily workshops on how to develop peace-building skills.

“Costa Rica has chosen to host this summit because, like many other countries, government and civil society leaders are striving to strengthen the country’s national peace model,” according to a statement from the organization.

Not only is Costa Rica host to the United Nations University of Peace, it’s also the first country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish its army and one of the few whose standing head of state is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Most recently, Costa Rica became the third country in the world to develop a peace ministry, after Nepal and the Solomon Islands.

The same group who organized this week’s conference – Building Bridges of Peace – helped draft the bill that created theMinistry of Justice and Peace and, luckily, they were able to get the legislation passed in time for the summit.

In a statement introducing the summit, Hernando París, the minister of justice and peace in Costa Rica, said, “For our country, the highest accomplishment for this summit will be the adoption of peace, its internalization and its accompaniment in our daily lives.”

The Academy for Peace of Costa Rica is hosting a pre-summit BePeace course as an extension to the programs offered at the four-day meeting. Much of the content will focus on ways to grow the peace movement.

“The idea is to take grassroots efforts and combine them with government rela- tionships to accomplish peace,” said Tara Ruttenberg, summit manager. “It’s really figuring out how structural peace can create a culture of peace.”

For more information about the course/summit or to sign up, contact Tara Ruttenberg at The opening ceremony will be Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Costa Rican Children’s Museum. The closing ceremony will be Monday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the National Theatre. Entrance to both events is free and open to the public. Reservations can be made by calling 2519-6643.

–Chrissie Long

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