Guatemala: Sub-regional workshop on construction of a culture of peace in the family, the school and the community.

Leer en castellano…San Lucas Sacatepequez, Guatemala – July 26 to 30 at Monte Carmelo House of Prayer was the site of an Ethics Education workshop on the use of Learning to Live Together with 47 representatives from religious institutions in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua. Participants included theologians, managers, educators and youth leaders from the educational programs of these institutions.

Using the methodological proposal in the Learning to Live Together Manual the workshop started by recognizing the institutions and their achievements. Next it identified the different forms of violence children and youth face in their families, schools and communities. There was a reflection on the role and potential of youth, educators and religious institutions in overcoming violence, and arrangement were made to implement interfaith work on these issues through GNRC.

Following a presentation of the values the Manual proposes for the construction of a culture of peace, and taking into account the history of armed violence in the region, the workshop moved on to an interfaith dialogue on reconciliation between representatives of the Maya Indigenous Spirituality, Tibetan Buddhism, the Bahá’í Faith and different Christian denominations.

The workshop had support from Guatemala already committed to interfaith dialogue and education, such as the Christian Ecumenical Council and UNESCO, presenting during the workshop the document “Ending violence in schools“, solidifying the relationship this UN agency has with the Manual and GNRC, with ten media attending, including four TV stations. 
Twenty young indigenous leader from different ethnic groups added an extraordinarily rich element to the workshop with their wisdom and leadership capacity they made of this meeting a rare experience. A relevant moment in the program was participation by indigenous leader Rosalina Tuyuc who spoke on Life Stories of Reconciliation. Her testimony made an impression, particularly on the youth, and influenced the commitments they made to follow up on the workshop.

The Reverend Vitalino Similox, President of the Christian Ecumenical Council thanked Arigatou Foundation and said the workshop had unleashed energy, capacity and creativity in the youth and adults to “learn to live together” in joy and dignity.

Mercedes Román.



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