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Peace Education is Needed More Than Ever

By Jean Paul Peretz

Mexico had been largely spared the phenomenon of school shootings that has plagued the US. But the recent tragedy in Monterrey, where a 15-year-old shot and killed a teacher and two other students before killing himself, has sensitized educators in Mexico.

Community
Peace Education Program presentation
“Peace Education Is Needed More Than Ever”
Mon, Feb 13, 1:30pm
St Paul’s Church
Cardo 6, Centro
Free
More info: 152 2151 or -mail pepsanmiguel@gmail.com

One of the best ways to reduce violence and avoid this kind of tragedy is for people to find their own value and contentment within themselves. The Peace Education Program (PEP) has begun making a difference in San Miguel, rekindling hope and peace, which too many people have lost along the way.

Started in 2007 in a prison in San Antonio, TX, the Peace Education Program is now being offered in 73 countries and 27 languages. Last year, more than 9,000 people attended PEP in colleges, universities, adult education programs, community centers, hospices, parolee and correctional facilities, retirement communities, nursing homes, and veteran and youth groups.

In San Miguel, PEP volunteers have presented it to inmates at the local prison, the police force, patients at a drug rehab clinic, teachers at Fuego Nuevo secondary school, and students at ITSES.

After the Monterrey incident, Lic. Javier Arteaga, legal Director of the Instituto San Miguelense (ITSES), was understandably very concerned about the praise being expressed for the shooter on social media. He worried that it was a sign of a very disturbing trend.

Arteaga (also Director of RED, an association of 13 San Miguel university-level schools) and the leaders of these institutions have decided to respond to the threat of violence and degradation of values by offering students and teachers a different perspective—the perspective that peace is really possible and already exists inside of each one of us.

Through video segments and personal expressions, PEP helps participants discover their own inner resources—innate tools for living such as inner strength, choice, and hope—and the possibility of personal peace.

PEP has a long list of successes around the world, including its positive impact on gang members in Ibarra, Ecuador, who participated in the program after several young people died in gang wars. After attending, local gang members laid down weapons and walked in the annual Christmas parade carrying a sign that read, “Peace is not only possible, it is inevitable.”

In Soweto, South Africa, the notorious apartheid era township, 20 programs started by a single enthusiastic volunteer are happening each week.

A presentation about PEP will take place Monday, February 13, 1:30pm at St Paul’s Church, Cardo 6. This presentation is sponsored by the Rural Education Institute, a nonprofit group in San Miguel that helps with education in the campo. The Rural Education Institute trains young interns from around the world to go to our two community centers of Don Diego and LaPalma to help youth in an afterschool program with Spanish literacy, English, and computer training.

The introductory presentation is open to everyone. There will be an opportunity for interested people to register for PEP immediately following the presentation. Both the presentation and PEP are free of charge.

For more information:

Rural Education Institute of Mexico: ruraledmexico.org

Peace Education Program: trprf.org

 

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