One final post on the Global Perspectives on Children and the Law class trip to Costa Rica. Days 5 onward included many highlights, as we continued to explore various human rights issues affecting children and adolescents. Particular focus was given to migration and education issues. Highlights included:
- A trip to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, where students got a behind-the-scenes look at the Court and its work (and its innovative ideas when it comes to remedies);
- A visit to Tecnológico de Costa Rica, a university with a wonderful program aimed at increasing access to higher education for indigenous students in Costa Rica (the program, its director, and its students were all amazing; we learned so much and left truly inspired);
- Fascinating lectures from UPEACE faculty Olivia Sylvester (whose work focuses on cultural rights that arise in the context of food and food procurement among indigenous populations) and Miriam Estrada-Castillo (whose wealth of experience provided unique insights into human rights law and the Costa Rican experience);
- A session with an immigration attorney (who provided critical insights on Costa Rican law and the practice of immigration law); and
- One final relaxing day exploring beyond San Jose.
We are grateful to all of the individuals and institutions who gave their time to our program, including especially our partners at the University for Peace Centre for Executive Education.
I never considered before today how the conventional environmental conservation worldview could have negative human rights implications on a population. Today's lecture demonstrated to me the power of understanding another's perspective, and reminded me of what UPeace first taught us in the introductory lecture on day one -- social innovation is creative. Creativity may manifest in the design considered, but also in the process of reaching the design. Creative process many times will require the humility to consider another perspective, or even to change our own. Fittingly, I read today a quote by Rigoberta Menchu Tum displayed on a wall at UPeace, "This world is not going to change unless we are ready to change ourselves." – Chae Mims (JD candidate, GSU Law).
"Global Perspectives on Children and the Law was both eye-opening and captivating. The program had us fully entrenched in all aspects of the cultural and societal issues affecting the rights and well-being of children. The agenda, including various speakers and field-visits, fully encompassed the entire children's rights framework, from children themselves in their home and school environments, to the largest NGO's working in the region and around the world, to the Costa Rican Government itself. We were able to interact with the issues, learn about the practices and programs in place, and innovate new methods to improve and expand child services. I can't express enough how much the group members added to the educational experience. Everyone was big-hearted, forward-thinking, and committed to leaving behind a world better than they found it. Such a group would not have come together had we not noticed those same characteristics in Professor Todres from the start." -- Diego Zorilla (JD candidate, GSU Law)
"On a personal note, seeing how engaged the students were and how they both challenged and supported each other was truly gratifying. Their commitment to the program and longterm to using their legal training to make the world a better place inspires me both in my teaching and in my own work. It was a privilege being part of this program." -- Jonathan Todres (program director)