10 October 2018

University of San Simón highlights the need for positive values on the International Day of Peace

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), as part of its continuous outreach efforts about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), shares this story related to Goal 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, submitted by the University of San Simón, a UNAI member institution located in Bolivia.

10 October 2018 - The University of San Simón or Universidad Mayor de San Simón - UMSS (Bolivia), a member institution of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), and in particular its International Affairs Office, held a wide range of activities to celebrate the International Day of Peace, an observance created by the United Nations General Assembly devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Resolution 36/67 also invited "peoples and individuals to commemorate in an appropriate manner" this Day "especially through all means of education". 

The activities were carried out at the university under the theme Awareness for a culture of peace. This concept has been worked with different approaches in the various teaching, research and extension programs at the university. Such approaches were presented by teams organized in tents that were placed for the occasion. Students themselves talked about the definition of peace, understood as the absence of violence that tends to weaken as challenges arise such as poverty, climate change, social inequities and environmental deterioration.

According to the Directorate of Scientific and Technological Research, peace is an ideal social situation, that depends on the existence of positive values. The University’s Graduate School, emphasized the contribution of postgraduate programs to this end and the Directorate of Academic Planning established that the construction of those values constitutes one of the strategic objectives of the academic model of the institution as a whole. In the experience of the Directorate of Social Interaction, the construction of these values entails other actions.

They argue that these values can be built with education projects at the community level covering racial discrimination, gender violence, unemployment, and environmental pollution. Such problems actually affect a large portion of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities in the metropolitan region of Kanata (Cochabamba). Finally, the Directorate of Student Welfare talked about the relationship between peace and democratic values and how important is the respect for cultural and ideological diversity not only in general terms but within the university itself.

A key aspect during the day was the minute of silence observed during the performance made by the band of the 7th Division of the Bolivian Army. It implied the suspension of all the activities on campus and was assumed by faculty and students alike, as a commitment of respect to the positive values that are being built within the framework of the International Day of Peace. Overall, the activities were actively promoted through social media and were broadcast by radio and television so to instill the concept of peace in the social imaginary of the region.