Practicum in Costa Rica

The Practicum on Experiential Peacebuilding (“Practicum”) is designed for working professionals and students who seek to get out of the classroom to apply and advance their leadership, empathy and conflict resolution skills. The 10-day expedition-based course combines a unique wilderness experience with experiential learning techniques in a multi-cultural environment.

GOAL 1: Cultivate compassionate leaders who are committed to sustainable change across divides
GOAL 2: Advance leaders’ skills in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and conflict transformation
GOAL 3: Foster connection to and respect for the environment
GOAL 4: Create and strengthen active networks of peacebuilders

The Need

One of the most critical findings of the 2010 Report of The United States Institute of Peace on the topic of graduate education in peace and conflict was the need for field experience and applied skills in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

Participants’ Experiences

The first step was linking arms. In that position, in a circle with elbows hooked into each other, it was impossible not to face the people you were standing with. At the Practicum for Experiential Peacebuilding, this exercise in reflection happened once the miles of the day were behind us, and we were sitting down to eat either in a shelter we had built together or in the warmth of a generous homestay. Continue reading

The task at hand was to step backward off the edge of the waterfall and gracefully, crab-like, skitter down to the river and rocks below.  Belayed from above, water raging over under everywhere, I assure you I did not go gentle down that good waterfall.  Rather, I was like Dylan Thomas on a bender: crashing, hurtling, twisting into and against rock and water.  Continue reading

Peacebuilders from around the world sat quietly gathered around a stove, centered in Casa de Lopez. Lucky, the one-eyed, deaf dog, snuck in from outside, as gentle raindrops signed an imminent storm approaching. Headlamps shone far through windowless gaps into majestic darkness only the rainforest can produce. A peacebuilder asked, “What is the secret to your happiness?” Continue reading

Carrying my backpack and getting rained on for several hours really did work on my tenacity and adaptability. Hiking the steep terrain in the magnificent forest, I found myself meditating on was how the journey towards peace behaved like the terrain, with its promising moments and painful seasons, yet reassuring along the way. Continue reading