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Pathways of Peace: WPDI Starts Training 315 Students in Tijuana About Conflict Resolution

This month, the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) started training 315 students in four middle schools across Tijuana in Conflict Resolution Education (CRE). Through this effort, we plan to help them become active citizens who can address tension and conflict in their communities.

The program began in early October and specifically targets middle school students under the assumption that they are at a critical age when their value systems are still being shaped. With that in mind, our expert trainers will teach the students – over a three-month period - about attitudes and behaviors conducive to dialogue and non-violence. The program has already proved to be remarkably successful in Mexico, the United States, Uganda, and South Sudan; so successful, in fact, that it has become a fully-incorporated aspect in all our training regimens. 

Our work in these countries has led us to realize that promoting peace and reconciliation must be a bottom-up, grassroots process. Young people are key stakeholders in this process; not just because they are the citizens of tomorrow, but also because they can be agents of peace as of today. CRE are imperative in this regard: courses can have a transformative impact on relations among students, with teachers, and school personnel more widely. 

The current round of WPDI’s CRE program in Tijuana spans four middle schools: Baraquiel Fimbres Durazo, Profr. Ricardo Vejan Zuniga, Domingo Carballo Felix, and Alfredo Green Gonzales . So far, students have covered the core aspects of peace and mediation and how the latter can be used as a tool to resolve conflicts. Although they are only in fifth and sixth grades, all students have displayed tremendous positivity and an acumen for the training so far. We think these early signs show that they will become effective peacemakers within their respective schools.

WPDI staff look forward to working with the students in the coming months. We know that, as they keep learning values, attitudes and behavior of peace, they will continue to grow and bring peace to their communities.