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The Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Colombia. Ana Díaz, MS Bridging the Gaps: Risk Reduction, Relief and Recovery Conference Istanbul, Turkey March 31-April 2, 2009. Outline. Overview of the Violence in Colombia The Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, ESPERE

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The Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Colombia

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The Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Colombia

Ana Díaz, MS

Bridging the Gaps: Risk Reduction, Relief and Recovery Conference

Istanbul, Turkey

March 31-April 2, 2009


Outline

  • Overview of the Violence in Colombia

  • The Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, ESPERE

  • Three current initiatives


Overview of the Violence in Colombia


Some Statistics

Photo: El Tiempo Newspaper 09/30/08

  • Homicide rate at 29 per 100,000 (2005)

  • Top cause of death in 2002: Violence

  • Violence against women: 43% (2007)

  • 2.7-3.1 Million estimated Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

  • 270,000 new IDPs in the first semester of 2008

  • War-related deaths: Approx. 8-10% of all homicides (2004)

  • (Source: CODHES, PAHO, DHS Survey)


On Top of That…

Photo: Alto Comisionado para la Paz

Photo: Fundación para la Reconciliación

  • 31,671 paramilitaries and collaborators have demobilized (2003-2006)

    • 17% have been estimated to have formed new armed groups

  • 40,000 FARC and 4,000 ELN members are estimated to continue to operate

  • 390,000 soldiers in the National Army

  • (Source: UNHCR, Colombian Gov.)


What are we Left With?

“I was talking to my brother in the classroom when I got hit by a soccer ball. I get really excited when I see them so I kicked it right away to send it back to the owner. I kicked it very hard though and accidently hit a girl and broke her collar bone. Before I knew it, the boyfriend came after me to hit me and actually broke my mouth . The girl was brought to the hospital. The school coordinator told me that I should have not hit the girl anyway and that the girl had told her it was intentional so nothing happened to the boyfriend and I was left as the bad guy. That night, since the girl lived right next to me, the mother came demanding money for the medical bills. Later the dad came with a gun threatening to kill me. Luckily I was working that night but my father told me what happened. My father was so mad that he hit me . We were in that dilemma for 6 months.”


The ESPERE Schools of the Fundación para la Reconciliación


The Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, ESPERE

  • An approach that focuses on the process for removing emotional and identity barriers that block the way to ending interpersonal conflict

    • Building capacity and motivation to self- repair, repair others

    • Empowerment: Creating community mediators and trainer-of-trainers

    • Propose restorative justice as an alternative to punitive justice

Photo: Fundación para la Reconciliación

  • Conflict leaves victims but victims also have other social and political identities worth recuperating


The Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, ESPERE cont.

  • The ways people respond to conflict:

  • Taking revenge or distancing oneself from the victim both socially and emotionally to ameliorate feelings of powerlessness and guilt—These routes are likely to intensify rather than end conflict

  • Apology-forgiveness cycle to remove the emotional barriers to reconciliation for both victims and perpetrators, at their own pace

    • Forgiveness process helps officialize a personal story and offer a new point of departure

  • (A. Nadler & N. Shnabel in “The Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation” , 2008)

    • Goal: Healing of emotional wounds and management of memories


    ESPERE Methodology

    Social reconnection

    Safe environment

    Self-reflection

    Assertive communication

    Tell their story: narrative truth

    Photos: Fundación para la Reconciliación


    Challenges of the Methodology

    • Addresses interpersonal level conflict

    • Not stand-alone sessions

    • Process does not end after 80 hours

    • Preservation of basic principles in TOT Model

    • Evaluation, measuring impact


    Basis for Sustainable Reconciliation: Healing of Emotional Wounds


    Three Major Initiatives

    • Emotional Literacy Program

      • 9,125 IDPs and former combatants primarily

    • The National network of youth for Reconciliation

      • 7,000 youth (ages 13-18) in 14 schools

    • Peace Leaders Program

      • 220 former combatants in Bogotá

    Photo: Fundación para la Reconciliación


    What Has Worked?

    • Internal Champions within local governments, Ministry of Education

    • ESPERE for teachers first

    • Partnering with other NGOs

    • Personal Testimonies and preliminary outcome data


    Voices of Participants

    [With the network] a girl from my group told me she was being bullied so, what did I do? I went and talked with the boy and his group doing the bullying and I said to them: no, you have to have this thing called ethics of care, you have to talk and so I gave them all of the concepts. The older ones in the group began to understand and some went and apologized to the girl. And I know they meant it because I can tell when someone is trying to play me. I felt I helped a lot, you know, to get the bad ones to not do this stuff anymore, as I was doing it in sixth grade. And is not like I gave them a lecture you know, because I have experience so I knew they would not listen to a lecture, I make it dynamic.”

    Pablo, member of the Youth for Reconciliation Network .


    Voices of Participants

    “We were invited to the forgiveness workshops and I thought, here is another stupid psychosocial program. I did not have the slightest idea of the effect those workshops would have on me. I had the time to cry, to be able to find myself and for the first time in my life, I saw my own potential as a human being. I discovered also that with my temperament, I was losing the woman I love. I was able to take responsibility for my wrongdoings. I had the courage to ask for forgiveness, from the heart. I was able to recognize that I had spent my entire life wasting time over things that did not matter and that it wasn’t a church what I needed. What I needed was to forgive myself. “

    Pedro, former combatant and today peace leader.


    Thank you!

    Contact Information:

    Ana Díaz

    anadiaz1@gmail.com

    Fundación para la Reconciliación

    www.fundacionparalareconciliacion.org


    Colombia

    Photos: John Ospina


    • Founded in 2001

    • Work with communities in 63 areas (municipalities and cities), and through partners in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia and South Africa

    • 93,000participants of ESPERE in Colombia

    • 3,500 volunteers (trainers of trainers) in 40 cities and towns.

    • Human rights and reconciliation classes in all schools of Bogotá since 2004

    • Awarded with several National Peace Awards as well as with an honorable mention in Peace Education by UNESCO (2006).


    Components of Forgiveness Modules (6)

    1- Introduction to F&R: what forgiveness is and what is not

    2- From Darkness to Light

    3- Decision to Forgive

    4- Looking with other Eyes

    5- Understand my Offender

    6- Launching a Bridge


    Components of Reconciliation Modules (4)

    1- Building Collective Truth

    2- Guaranteeing Justice

    3- Facilitating a Pact

    4- Celebrating, Making Memory and Offering Reparation


    Correos de Paz


    ESPERE Graduation


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