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Central American Region Holds Webinar to Commemorate UN International Day of Peace

Costa Rica—On September 21, 2020, UPF-Central America and the Caribbean held a webinar with the theme "International Day of Peace: Let's Realize a World of Sustainable Peace With Mutual Interdependence." The panelists included leaders of nations and members of the IAPP, IAAP and IAPD who approached their presentations from their experience and areas of work. The conference had 133 attendees from 17 countries.

The moderator was Agustín Jarquín Anaya, congressman of the National Assembly of Nicaragua (2001–2013), who opened by saying,

Friends, welcome to this forum organized by UPF to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace. Without a doubt, we all need to face the great challenges of our time. We will be having a series of lectures with a group of respected panelists with great experience, but above all with a genuine vocation for service, who will help us make the best decisions for our countries and our region to become a region of peace.

Dr. Charles S. Yang (Regional Chair, UPF Central America and the Caribbean) shared a few words of welcome along with a report on UPF activities during the last nine months. He expressed his gratitude to Dr. Cabrera who, on behalf of the Central America Integration System (SICA), honors us with his participation. He said,

I will never forget when Dr. Vinicio Cerezo welcomed us to his office when we visited Guatemala, we are also very honored to have such a great group of panelists from different areas and nations. I wish to share the meaning of this International Day of Peace. As you recall, this day was established in 1981; two decades later the UN General Assembly declared it a day dedicated to strengthening the ideals of peace by observing 24 hours of nonviolence and ceasefire. This day calls all nations and the entire world to maintain peace and its promotion through education and programs that commemorate this day and strengthen these ideals. This year it is very clear that to celebrate it, we realize that we do not have enemies among us but that this common enemy is the coronavirus, which threatens our security and the lives of each one of us and the whole world.

Dr. Jorge Cabrera (Advisor to the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System) shared some words of welcome and said,

First of all, I bring a cordial greeting from the secretary general of the Central American Integration System (SICA) Dr. Vinicio Cerezo and former president of Guatemala (1986–1990). It is an honor for us to be here with all of you to celebrate the International Day of Peace, knowing that for there to be peace there must be development, equitable development, with justice, with equity, with respect for human rights. This peace must extend to peace with nature, on which all life depends.

The commitment and work of the secretary general and of the entire institutional framework of SICA is with the hope that in Central America there is a new start with a different vision in which sustainable development and human beings will once again be the central and paramount object of development efforts. Of course, this must be under a scheme of caring for nature, respecting the environment, attending to the global priorities of climate change, food security, risk management, and believing that only with joint effort united under a single purpose we will achieve the future and the present that we all deserve.

Dr. Ricardo Acevedo Peralta (Former president of the Central American Court of Justice, former chancellor of El Salvador and negotiator of the Esquipulas Accords for Peace in the Central American region):

We discovered that the entire region of Central America, a region of about 60 million inhabitants with an area of 522,760 km, shares a history and some common events that make it a uniform and unique region. In that sense Central America would have to seek a peculiar and comprehensive peace. During the work of the Esquipulas II Accords for Peace, at the initiative of the presidents of the region, we came to understand with complete clarity that peace is not the simple cessation of bullets and the silence of cannons.

The fact is that human beings have been abandoned to their own fate. We Central Americans understood that everything that had happened to us is due to the lack of equality, lack of social justice, lack of equity and lack of respect for human rights. Therefore, if these factors are not resolved, we cannot solve ancestral wars and anyone born in Central America would find a reality just the way it was before. Therefore, peace is not the absence of bullets.

Hon. Lorelly Trejos Salas (Congresswoman of the National Assembly of Costa Rica, 2014–2018):

The family plays a fundamental role since it is within it that we learn—or should learn—the true meaning of peace. The nuclear family is basic and essential for the free development of the personality of the individuals that comprise it. There we learn to socialize, dialogue, live together and educate ourselves, obey, respect, share and be responsible; express affection, feelings and emotions; be in solidarity, have compassion for others, and solve problems peacefully without resorting to violence.

Our families have been affected by the growing social breakdown that has led to aggressive, violent and disintegrated families. In the adolescent world, violence has grown. Phenomena such as bullying, bad anger management, aggression towards the other in the face of frustration and so forth are explosive ingredients for social violence, so we must work with tools and techniques that promote and stimulate the peaceful solution of conflicts in search of peace”.

Claudia Argüello (First Nicaraguan educator to be part of the National Geographic Educator Certification Program):

Educational centers should be a place where the voice of children is heard, where they are part of the learning process, where they are invited to recognize the importance of facing conflict and to trust their community to find possible solutions together.

They should be a place where children are invited to recognize their emotions and not be afraid of changes; where they discover new ways in which many are benefited because if I'm okay, you're okay.

They should be a place where children find and adapt solutions to current problems in their environment; where we all learn in different ways because we are all different: a place where, we all become agents of change.

Pastor Samuel Regalado Rivas (Hosanna Church of the Assemblies of God):

Religious leaders can contribute to the culture of peace,living in peace”, and aiming our efforts so that our parishioners and relatives live in the same way: in peace.

It is also important to consider that peace is not a matter for one person or for a few. We must build peace together. By doing this, we will be able to develop new capacities, acquire new skills and build character within the framework of universal human values, which help us to live in a culture of "justice and strong and lasting peace." James the Apostle emphasizes in his universal epistle (James 3:18): The fruit of justice is sown in peace for those who make peace.

Maritza Jorge Morel (Journalist, with more than 25 years in television and social media and in local and international radio stations)

There are those who narrate the facts as they see them, and there are those who minimize or maximize depending on what the director of the media has asked of them. We know that each media has its line: To attack or defend commercially or politically any other sector.

You as journalist have to discover and follow that line, if the owners do not clarify it to you when entering any media company, because you have to follow that line or leave the position. And that's where the press gets lost”

No more violent music, no more bloody news, no more morbid politics and business rigged into communication.

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