Peacebuilding in Mexico: ​Field Based Course

The Trans-Border Institute offers two opportunities for students to work and study with border communities in crisis.

Practicum in Applied Peace Education in Mexico

How can universities teach peacebuilding to people in dangerous situations without resorting to hand-wringing paternalism or simply using other people's misfortunes as teachable material? This is the guiding question behind the field-based practicum: "Teaching Applied Peace Education in Mexico." Students in the practicum serve as facilitators for the Trans-Border Institute's "diplomado" [certificate program] in Applied Peace Education, given in collaboration with local educational institutions and civil society organizations in the areas of Mexico most affected by the drug war. The program is designed for the leaders of non-governmental organizations, civil servants and local university students interested in building sustainable peace in Mexico.

The USD student facilitators travel to Mexico with TBI staff and attend the seminars, where they learn a broad interdisciplinary curriculum in Applied Peace Education along with the local participants. The curriculum presents seven interconnected paths to sustainable peace: human rights, citizenship, history and memory, conflict resolution, social innovation, digital technology and ecology. The student facilitators lead group exercises and discussions that reinforce the course material and assess its local relevance. In weekly meetings between each seminar, the student facilitators help TBI staff to tailor the material to local demands, to design and redesign the group exercises to maximize their effectiveness, and hone their own skills as discussion leaders and facilitators.

Each diplomado program carries out a collaborative or "hive model" research project, where TBI leverages the local insight, experience and connections of the seminar participants to produce useful knowledge about the most pressing local problems of peace and justice. The student facilitators participate in the design, implementation, and analysis of the research project and produce a final report for publication in collaboration with TBI. In the process, the student facilitators receive formal training in conducting ethical and effective interview-based research and intensive mentoring from TBI staff. Pre-requisites: 60 credit hours complete + excellent Spanish proficiency.

Listen to a student in the Master's in Peace and Justice program describe her experience in the field based course.

Field Based Practicum: 
The Impact of Armed Conflict and Violence in the San Diego-Tijuana Region

There hasn't been a war anywhere near the San Diego-Tijuana region since the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), and the region has never been the focal point of a significant armed conflict. And yet, war and violence abroad have shaped the development and character of the San Diego-Tijuana region perhaps more than anywhere else in North America. Much of the infrastructure, the most important industries, and the largest migrations of people to the region have been instigated and sustained by armed conflict abroad. The region has also born a disproportionate share of the human cost and after-effects of war, both personal and social. Over the last decade, in particular, the San-Diego Tijuana region has become home to an intense and diverse concentration of witnesses and survivors of conflict and violence abroad — returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan; refugees from the wars in Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa; and asylum seekers fleeing chronic violence in Mexico and Central America. Unfortunately, the human costs and cross-border implications of this legacy are seldom acknowledged. Indeed, the selective recognition of the impact of armed conflict on our region exacerbates many of our most intractable political controversies and social divides, from immigration and border enforcement, to chronic homelessness, racial profiling and battles over school curricula.

How can we use the tools of peacebuilding and human rights to ameliorate the impact of armed conflict and violence abroad here at home? How can we mobilize a richer understanding of the impact of armed conflict on our region to build a more peaceful and equitable society? These are the core questions behind TBI's applied peace seminars on the impact of armed conflict and violence in the San Diego-Tijuana region.

Students from the Master's in Peace and Justice program who participate in the practicum serve as facilitators for the Trans-Border Institute's seminars in Applied Peace Education, given in collaboration with local immigrants' rights, refugee services, and veterans' organizations. The seminars are designed to help the participants:

  1. measure the impact of armed conflict in the region.
  2. create new networks of solidarity and mutual assistance among different kinds of survivors of violence.
  3. design more effective policy solutions to the most pressing regional problems caused by global armed conflict.

The students from the master's in peace and justice program attend the seminars, where they learn a broad interdisciplinary curriculum in Applied Peace Education alongside the local participants. The curriculum presents seven interconnected paths to sustainable peace: human rights, citizenship, history and memory, conflict resolution, social innovation, digital technology and ecology, tailored the particular audience. The student facilitators lead group exercises and discussions that reinforce the course material and assess its local relevance. In weekly meetings between each seminar, the student facilitators help TBI staff to tailor the material to local demands, to design and redesign the group exercises to maximize their effectiveness, and hone their own skills as discussion leaders and facilitators.

The participants in the program will carry out a collaborative or "hive model" research project, where TBI leverages the local insight, experience, and connections of the seminar participants to produce useful knowledge about the most pressing local problems of peace and justice. The student facilitators participate in the design, implementation, and analysis of the research project and produce a final report for publication in collaboration with TBI. In the process, the student facilitators receive formal training in conducting ethical and effective interview-based research and intensive mentoring from TBI staff.

Trans-Border Institute

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Phone: (619) 260-7919
Fax: (619) 849-8123
transborder@sandiego.edu

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KIPJ Room 126
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110