Partnerships for Peace in Costa Rica

Info Session: Click on the link here to listen to the Info. Session from Friday, September 30

Course Overview

A primary goal of the Partnerships for Peace program is to provide a curriculum where cultivating a culture of peace is at the center of discussion. 

The curriculum for the Peace & the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Action course will be focused on MIIS’ 3 pillars of peace & security, sustainability, language skills and intercultural communication as well as specific UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Fall 2022: Participants will receive an introduction to “peace linguistics” in both target languages (Spanish and English), as well as other preparatory reading and content associated with the immersive-learning experience. 

J-term Experience in Costa Rica: Participants will observe first-hand how different organizations are attending to challenges related to specified SDGs during on-site visits in Costa Rica.  Students will collect in-situ data, conduct interviews, and compile their notes, journal entries for their final deliverable during the spring showcase. 

Spring 2023: Students will collate their observations and discoveries into a final presentation for a Partnerships for Peace showcase for the MIIS community at large. 

Content: Students will research, discuss, and present on sustainable development through the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and SDG Knowledge Platform: (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs).  Attention will be given to specific actions and initiatives that are working on specific SDGs. See the itinerary for SDGs to be covered during our immersive learning experience in Costa Rica.  Students will benefit from direct contact with experts in the field of peace studies and sustainable development.

Key Dates

Who: All MIIS graduate students, alumni, and Middlebury community members are welcome regardless of language level.

Pre-Departure 1: Friday, November 18 (1:30-3:00pm PT) Zoom or MG 102

Pre-Departure 2: Friday, December 9 (12-2pm PT) Zoom or MG 102

Duration: 2-week immersion course in Costa Rica

When: January 9-21, 2023 

Deposit Deadline: Nov. 15

Remainder of Program Fee Due: Dec. 1

Program Fee: $3225 (includes speaker and partner fees, double-occupancy lodging, local transportation, breakfast, and 11 meals)

Course Credit: 2 or 4 credits, pass/fail (audit and no credit options available)

Financial Aid: Students taking the program for academic credit may request Federal loans to cover the cost of travel and program fee. Email  miisfinaid@middlebury.edu for more information.

Experiential Learning Funding: Apply for a Tier 3 $1,000 USD experiential learning (EL) award. This funding is only available to current MIIS students. MIIS students can receive one EL award per academic year.

Group Size: There is an 18-person cap for this program. This allows the group to connect more closely with site visit hosts and each other.

Conflict Transformation Focus

  1. Peace & Security:  As a result of taking this course, students will be able to:
    1. Engage in discourse that is peace-centered;
    2. Understand the importance of peace linguistics;
    3. Apply theories of “positive peace” to real-world contexts;
    4. Observe how Costa Rica has prioritized peace as a fundamental principle at the national, regional and international levels; 
    5. Appreciate the correlation between democracy and peace in Costa Rica.
  1. Sustainability & Climate Change: As a result of taking this course, students will be able to:
    1. Become familiar with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and see how specific organizations in Costa Rica are addressing specific related challenges;
    2. Observe how centering ecology, conservation, and other policies supporting the environment are contributing to creating more sustainable and resilient communities in Costa Rica;
    3. Demonstrate how Costa Rica has become a global leader in the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable development, and eco-tourism.
  1. Language & Intercultural Communication: As a result of taking this course, students will be able to:
    1. Increase their ability to communicate in a bilingual context (where both Spanish and English are spoken); 
    2. Increase their proficiency in Spanish if the student has Spanish as the language of study.  (Students with an LOS of English will also benefit from an introduction to Spanish);
    3. Familiarize themselves with key terms (in both Spanish & English) related to peace linguistics, peace studies, and the SDGs;
    4. Develop intercultural communication skills between the two cultures (US and Costa Rica).

Additional Learning Goals

Professional Skills: As a result of taking this course, students will be able to: 

  1. Cultivate an understanding of how different organizations (in Costa Rica) are responding to the needs of their constituents;
  2. Develop skills to work with multiple stakeholders (other participants, facilitators, and guest lecturers);
  3. Develop on site research skills—gathering in situ data, interviews, and observations from site visits and guest speakers. 

Methodology/ Rationale:  We believe it is essential to: 

  1. Cultivate a “culture of peace” by shifting the language, tone, and attitude of the conversation.
  2. Introduce “positive peace” and other core concepts to infuse optimism in the discourse on human development. 
  3. Promote the concept and practice of peaceful co-existence in diverse and inclusive societies. 

Criteria for Participants:

  1. Be prepared to participate fully in all aspects of the course;
  2. Engage with experts and providers at specific site visits;
  3. Approach learning with an open mind; 
  4. Be prepared to have the majority of the on-site content presented in Spanish (with interpretation as needed—for lower-level Spanish learners and participants whose second language is English).

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