For the 10th year, Costa Rica will celebrate the World Season for Nonviolence, a universal observance of peace actions and thought. The season began Jan. 30 and will last through April 4, spanning the anniversaries of the deaths of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., both leading advocates of nonviolence to achieve social change.
Building a culture of peace is this year’s theme. The season focuses on peace activities, which can be organized programs or individual actions, and can be public events or personal means of achieving peace through meditation, prayer or discussion groups.
Activities should be designed to promote and strengthen good values and attitudes such as respect for life and human dignity, justice, solidarity and tolerance within the family, the community, the country or the world. Everyone is invited to take some action for a nonviolent future.
Various studies show that violence is the foundation for the biggest problems in the world, according to a statement by Dulce Umanzor, coordinator of this year’s season.
“Here in Costa Rica, the usual solution given is more police and stiffer sentences, which are repressive answers to violence,” she said. “Yet much of the blame for a violent society is laid to a loss of values, and the solution is in recuperating our values.”
For this reason, the aim of the season’s activities is to create an awareness of the principals and practices of nonviolence as a way of recuperating values and reducing violence. Participating groups include government, religious, volunteer and nonaligned organizations and people.
The World Season for Nonviolence is an initiative of the United Nations. In Costa Rica, the season concludes with an awards ceremony for “builders of peace,” people or organizations that practice or promote positive values.
To participate or find out more, contact Umanzor at 258-6133 or [email protected].