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THE UNIVERSITY OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGIONS OF THE NICARAGUAN CARIBBEAN COASTURACCAN Towards the Practice of Interculturality in the Multicultural Setting of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast Oslo, Norway – March/April 2006 Guillermo Mc Lean Linguistics Research and Culture Revitalization Institute IPILC - URACCAN
NICARAGUA: A Multiethnic Nation Some basic factsabout the country: • Location: Central America; south of Honduras and Noth of Costa Rica; between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans • Size: 138, 000 plus square kilometers • Population: Approx. 5.5 million people • Political status: Defined by the Constitution (1985; 1995; 2000) as a multiethnic nation (with an autonomous government regime within- since 1985). • Socio-economic standing: Second poorest country in Latin America- after Honduras
The Caribbean Coast - A multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural region • Six ethnic groups:sumu-mayangnas; Miskitoes; Ramas, Garifunas, Creoles, Mestizos • 50% plus of national territory- yet only 10% of the country’s population; home to the better resources: forestry, mining and sea products- but the poorest region of the country. • Some of the major problems: • A region three times colonized by foreigners • Unequal socio-economic relationships between societes • Lowest level of literacy in the country (2.1 years vs. 6.6) • monolingual education system imposed for a 100+ years • Rapid, unstoppable growth of agricultural frontier
Simplified Ethnolingüístic Hierarchy of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (Norwood, 1985) CREOLES (English/Creole, Spanish) MESTIZOS (Spanish) MISKITOES (Miskitu) RAMAS (Creole, Rama) GARIFUNAS (Creole, Garífuna) SUMU-MAYANGNAS (Panamahka, Twahka, Ulwa)
Hierarchy of Multilingualism on the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (based on Norwood, 1985). Ethnic identification Languages required to speak Mestizos: Spanish Creoles: English/Creole Spanish Miskitoes: Miskitu Spanish Creole/English Sumo-Maya: Sumu Miskitu Spanish (Creole/English)
Law of Autonomy and the University • In 1987 the Law of Autonomy (Law No. 28) was approved by the National Assembly • Law 28 granted the Coast the right to education in their own languages, their own system of health and the sustainable exploitation of their natural resources • Higher education became a need in the context of the new law; the human resources needed to enhance development and consolidate the process of Autonomy had to be trained
Siuna Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) Bluefields Nueva Guinea Establishment of URACCAN in: FourCampuses SixExtension programs • Rosita • Bonanza • Waslala • Waspam • Pearl Lagoon Basin • Desembocadura de Río Grande
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGIONS OF THE NICARAGUAN CARIBBEAN COAST URACCAN University Campuses
Why four campuses? • To avoid brain drain of human resources from the communities and from the country • To be accessible to as many people as possible in the Autonomous Regions • Because people in the communities do not have the resources to come to the University; the University has to come to them • Because distances within the Regions are far and complex and communication is difficult
URACCAN: An Intercultural University URACCAN is defined as “the Intercultural University of the indigenous peoples and ethnic communities of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast that contributes to strengthening of Regional Autonomy by accompanying processes of self-development, multiethnic unity and integral training of the men and women in the Region”. Intercultural
Interculturality must be: a process of dialogue whereby mutual knowledge between cultures leads to understanding, respect, harmony, solidarity and fair exchange recognition of the other within the framework of diversity a process based on intention and good will a political decision based on a state of awarenesss a commitment of human beings to help erradicate social unjustice the practice of democracy between peoples and cultures THE BUILDING OF ROOM AND OPPORTUNITIES, SO THAT THE RIGHTS OF AUTONOMY CAN BE FULLY EXERCISED Interculturality: a dialogue between/within cultures
As pointed out by Fornet-Betancourt (2000), “the most important thing, as we speak of interculturality, are the factual conditions of the dialogue.” He goes on to suggests that “we must take into account the historical context in which the dialogue takes place”. “Do not start by the dialogue itself- he contends -but rather by the question about the conditions of the dialogue...” “We must demand that the dialogue of the cultures be from the start a dialogue about social, economic and political factors that currently condition the fair exchange between the different cultures of humankind” . What about the conditions of the dialogue?
Basic principles of URACCAN • The University must reach the communities- where the men and women that make the local decisions live; to achieve this goal, a de-centralized model of education is required • It should make education available for all those who aspire to it • It must contribute to the strengthening of identity, while promoting unity between the different societies • It must become a Community University of Public Service
To contribute to the strengthening of Autonomy by training the human resources in the Region and for the Region; by making room for the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to preserve our natural resources while promoting sustainability; and creating local capacity so that the full exercise of our human, indigenous and autonomic rights can be fulfilled. Mission of URACCAN
Visión de URACCAN Our Vision is to be “The intercultural University of the Indigenous peoples and ethnic communities of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast that contributes to the consolidation of Autonomy, through processes of self-development, local capacity building and the integral formation of Coast men and women”.
IPILC: Promotes linguistics research and revitalization of culture; supports the regional Councils in promoting language policies IREMADES: Deals with preservation and sustainable development of natural resources and the promotion of environmental policies IMTRADEC: Has to do with traditional medicine and community development IEPA: Promotes Autonomy particularly in the context of Indigenous rights ICI : The Institute of Intercultural Communication CEIIM: The Center of Studies of Multiethnic and Indigenous Women CISA: The Socio-Environmental Research Center Institutes and Research Centers of URACCAN
Objectives Provide new opportunities to higher education for young men and women in the communities who didn’t have access to a high school education Develop leadership and local capacity that will stay in the communities as better-qualified human resources Help improve the conditions of living of the communities involved Help find alternatives to the situation of poverty and marginalization Increase the coverage of URACCAN in the communities Community Schools of Leadership: the cases of the Pearl Lagoon Basin and Bilwi
Objetives of the SEAR (Continued) • To promote gender equity • To promote a culture of peace and to erradicate violence in human relationships • To contribute to the full exercise of the rights of children and adolescents
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK • Autonomy • Interculturality • Equity • Pertinence • Quality • Solidarity
Legal framework of the SEAR at national level • The Political Constitution (1985; 1995; 2000) • The Law of Autonomy (1987) • Decree of Law 571 (1980)- pertaining the education in the mother languages of the Communities of the Atlantic Coast • National Plan of Education(2002) • Law of Languages No. 162 (1993) General Law of Education (2006)
Legal framework of the SEAR at international level • Declaration of the United Nations about Indigenous Peoples (1994) • Declaration of Indigenous Peoples - Organization of American States • Agreement 169 of the International Labor Organization • Resolutions and Recommendations of the Interamerican System of the Organization of American States
Progress and Drawbacks in the Process of Decentralization of the SEAR • Letter of Intention between Regional Authorities and Ministry of Education signed (2003) • Joint Commissions established and dialogue initiated (2004); dialogue characterize by frequent interruptions as of today • Executive Structures for decentralized SEAR at regional and municipal level agreed upon, but not 100% completed • SEAR support structures (CERs, CEMs, CECs) in permanent process of consolidation • General Law of Education passed by National Assembly (2006) • Decentralization agreement not signed;process not fully completed