Costa Ricans take pride in their country’s reputation as a peaceful nation, with more than half a century without a standing army or other defense arrangement since 1948. Current President Oscar Arias played a fundamental role in the Central American Peace Plan in the 1980s, for which he is best known throughout the Americas as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Located within a region historically wrought with social and political conflict, Costa Rica is internationally regarded as a peaceful, prosperous country.
As such, Costa Rica is home to the United Nations’ chartered University for Peace, where hundreds of international students graduate each year from prestigious programs including Sustainable Development, Conflict Resolution, Peace Education and International Peace Studies. In 1997, Costa Rica passed a law that requires peace education is offered in every classroom. In September 2009, the Costa Rican government will host the annual international Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace, the first government in the world to host a Summit of this kind.
It is in this national framework of peace that Conflict Resolution Education and Peace Education are received openly in the school system and within the highest levels of government. The Academy for Peace has been instrumental in bringing about a workable curriculum for Peace Education in the Costa Rican school system, as well as establishing legislature to set up significant peace infrastructure within the Costa Rican government. Currently, the Academy for Peace works with 13 schools in the county of Santa Ana, teaching the practice of BePeace, which fulfills the peace education law. With the support of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Education, the Santa Ana BePeace model will be replicated in the public school system throughout the country, strengthening this culture of peace and ensuring that this peace skill is passed on from generation to generation.