International Seminar Lima
Participation at Country level - Immersion experience
Finally, after a long wait due to the pandemic, we were able to make the trip to Peru. Due to the visa difficulties experienced for the trip to New York, it was now decided that the countries that had not been able to participate would participate with a larger number of people, after meeting all the expected numbers of the other partners. The criterion of proximity was also taken into account, as had happened on the other two occasions: in the case of Madrid, with a greater number of people from Portugal and Italy, and in the case of New York, with Chicago and Miami. In this case, the groups from Bolivia and Peru were more representative. Thus, the group was made up of 49 participants.
In order to “Approach the reality of Peru today” we had three round tables:
The first table took place immediately after the opening and took a look at Peru from outside to inside Peru in the global panorama. It began with the contribution of Ana Huerta – Representative of EDIW-Youth – Student of International Relations at the Instituto de Empresa, Madrid – with a perspective of Peru from the Middle East where she had spent a period of her studies. He was followed by José Luis Arteaga Cespedes from the Delegation of the European Union in Peru (EEAS-LIMA) Programme Manager, responsible for the Erasmus+ programme. Relations with Universities-Lima, from the perspective of Europe and then two perspectives from the International Relations Directorates of two of its universities: Lauren De Veau- Directorate of Institutional Relations, Antonio Ruiz de Montoya University, Lima and Celinda Acosta Galli- Head of the Institutional Image and PR Office, San Martin de Porres University, Lima. The look at Peru ended with Professor Mercedes Giesecke, Coordination of the Master’s Degree in Anthropology, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima.
The second round table was held at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Perú. Peru – Perspectives from different areas – Participation and contributions from different professions and where the following professors and specialists offered their perspective: Dr. Gino Costa on Ethics in the socio-political reality of Peru, Dr. Sheyla Blumen; Socio-emotional situation of the Peruvian population at this time (with greater incidence in the young population) Dr. César Uribe: Situation of Education in Peru Mag. Nicolás Barrientos: The Role of the Media in Peru – and the Government’s Attitude towards them and Peruvian women in the construction of citizenship and democracy. Fortunately, the experts were able to give their time so that they were able to talk at length about a barrage of questions from the young people who seemed insatiable in their desire to participate and understand the reality of the country. The third round table took place in Villa Salvador on “A constructive example of political participation” with the participation of people whose words came from a lived experience that gave them authority: Noemí Soto: “The fundamental role of the “villain” woman in the struggles that have forged this great people” (María Elena Moyano). Julia Quispe Condo: “Testimony as a woman, working mother, fighter and social leader, in Villa” Antonio Palomino: “Lay commitment to the service of the community” Lucía Peña: “Commitment and young leadership in Villa el Salvador ” and particularly Michel Azcueta.” He also gave the group his publications as a gift.
Politics, education, media and power
In Peru, as in other countries, economic and social activities have certain characteristic features that make it possible to predict events. However, with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, these characteristics were altered, testing not only the resilience of the country’s economy, but also the way in which its inhabitants cope with these circumstances. On 15 March 2020, the Executive Branch issued Supreme Decree N° 044-2020-PCM, which declared a “State of National Emergency due to the serious circumstances affecting the life of the Nation as a result of
the COVID-19 outbreak.” This measure marked a turning point in people’s quality of life, which was reflected in the socio-emotional state of Peruvian citizens. In this context, the country was going through a period of economic growth, which allowed, to a certain extent, to counteract the impact of the pandemic on the market and trade. However, we noted that the direct effect was on the citizen, mainly due to social distancing measures, not seeing family members, not being able to meet with the family as usual on Sundays, not leaving the house, losing their jobs, etc., all of this added to the irrecoverable loss of family members due to COVID-19, plunged the Peruvian population into a deep sadness, which made it clear that the citizen was not emotionally well. Nevertheless, the key to success in coping with this complicated situation was unity. The family nucleus played a relevant role in looking after the emotional health of its members, some say that they became more sensitive; from my point of view, I believe that we became stronger, since I now perceive a greater predisposition to help others, in a way, the gap of indifference was shortened, although it is still present
among us, silently, like the virus.
On the other hand, with regard to ethics as a pillar of Peruvian politics, as a country we still have a lot of work to do. Corruption is present in all spheres of society and it seems that it is most clearly rooted in politics; unfortunately, the people’s representatives profit at the expense of the population. The costs of corruption are very high, ethics fail to converge with politics, because there is no solid basis in ethics in our country, not to say that there are no ethical people, but that unfortunately people who come to power often lack such training.
In this sense, the media are subject to the power groups that move the country’s economy, they are sounding boards that respond to certain interests, they sell smoke and mirrors when they provide information. For this reason, quality education is of vital importance, where self-critical citizens are formed, with the capacity to think for themselves and not follow what the majority believes to be correct. In this sense, if a country wants progress and development for its inhabitants, it must strengthen education at all levels.
Interculturality and coexistence: 11 nationalities
We live in a diverse and plural globalized society, of dialogues and interactions between the local and the global, between the in-person and the virtual, of cultural exchanges and digital interrelationships… and all this is what could be perceived and experienced in the international microcosm of the Youth Act project. 48 participants of 11 nationalities – Peru, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland – lived together in harmony, interaction, dialogue and debate for 10 days in a country and a culture that was strange and foreign to almost everyone. The intercultural coexistence generated a space of reciprocal learning for the participants and the different cultures, a relationship of tolerance and equality between people, the establishment of social norms for common coexistence, and the generation of new tools for conflict resolution. Throughout this experience we have observed that most of the young people were on an equal footing as they were all in a foreign country, with the exception of the 9 participants from Peru, who were also in charge of the reception and organisation of the necessary infrastructure. This created a multicultural space and fostered a positive attitude in the young people towards cultural diversity and learning. In this way, non-discriminatory relationships were established, based on respect and tolerance, which favored overcoming the passive attitude of acceptance of difference, in order to achieve understanding of the other. Moreover, we could affirm that all this brought us a real cultural enrichment. In short, interculturality implies dialogue, understanding and encounter. Undoubtedly, each day of the experience was a challenge, but above all an opportunity for the young people to learn globalization and participation, to put into practice tolerance, understanding, inclusion, to develop basic and intercultural modes of communication, to learn – and for some of them to exercise – leadership based on ethics, service and the common good… and to learn or develop a host of skills to exercise the participatory and responsible citizenship to which they are called, in intercultural places and environments committed to equality, the recognition of diversity and the promotion of positive and inclusive interaction.
Cultural events as a complement to learning: The Sanctuary of Pachacamac and the Place of Memory
Cultural events have a special magic about them. Learning is breathed, it is in the air, and the whole universe is an immense classroom where we acquire valuable learning that we apply, consciously or unconsciously, throughout our lives. Artistic activities are generators of knowledge because of their interdisciplinary dynamics, intensity and technique to apply it.
Thus, throughout the days of the Seminar-immersion in Lima, the creation of this type of spaces for learning and knowledge generation was always present. We mention two relevant cultural events in which the young people participated immersively:
The sanctuary of Pachacamac, an archaeological site located on the banks of the Lurín River, very close to the Pacific Ocean and which was the main place of worship of the god Pachacamac, to whom the creation of the universe was attributed. Its architectural structures, such as the pyramids with ramp, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon, and the remains of walls, were erected by the Lima, Wari and Inca cultures
from 200 AD to 1533 AD. The sanctuary has a museum that houses an impressive collection of more than 6,500 pre-Hispanic pieces, offerings and other objects, made of ceramics, wood, metal and textiles. One of the emblematic pieces of the museum, which won the admiration and all the cameras of the mobile phones, is the idol of Pachacamac.
There we also met Maria Rostworowski, a Peruvian historian and social researcher, famous for her studies on the pre-Hispanic cultures of Peru and the Inca Empire.
Immersing oneself in this part of Peruvian history surely placed the visitors in another perspective and dimension of intercultural understanding.
The Place of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion (LUM): near the sea in Miraflores, and embedded in a cliff, the three-storey concrete-coloured building, which won an architectural award, is a museum and memorial space dedicated to the victims of the period of terrorism experienced in Peru between 1980 and 2000, during which the terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso and the revolutionary movement Tupac Amaru
confronted the Peruvian state: 69,000 victims of the internal armed conflict, 75% of whom were Quechua- speaking. The center has 69,000 victims of the internal armed conflict, 75% of whom were Quechua- speaking. Its Documentation and Research Centre houses thousands of digitized testimonies and documents from the period of violence and research on human rights issues.
The exhibition really seeks to lead to public reflection and induce feelings in the face of this tragedy that Peru experienced. To walk through a place inhabited by horror leads not only to reflection but also, perhaps, to a form of social commitment.
Spaces of memory such as this one, also present in other Latin American countries that suffered military dictatorships, and claims for human rights by the victim’s families, seem to challenge the rewriting of history and deserve to be visited from a perspective of constructing syntheses and offering alternative proposals for peace. On the other hand, and paradoxically, visiting the LUM moves us as spectators, as it refers to the idea of art
and beauty, as the place is suggestive, pleasant and interactive. It offers an interesting work made from the plastic arts, literature and audiovisual production. Because the arts, including creative popular manifestations, also help the knowledge of other cultures, enriching human beings to a great extent. Artistic activities are generators of knowledge because of their interdisciplinary dynamics and their intensity, and they have the capacity to propose synthetic formulas to capture and apprehend a reality and a historical moment.
Spaces of memory such as this one, also present in other Latin American countries that suffered military dictatorships, and claims for human rights by the victims’families, seem to challenge the rewriting of history and deserve to be visited from a perspective of constructing syntheses and offering alternative proposals for peace.
On the other hand, and paradoxically, visiting the LUM moves us as spectators, as it refers to the idea of art and beauty, as the place is suggestive, pleasant and interactive. It offers an interesting work made from the plastic arts, literature and audiovisual production. Because the arts, including creative popular manifestations, also help the knowledge of other cultures, enriching human beings to a great extent.
Artistic activities are generators of knowledge because of their interdisciplinary dynamics and their intensity, and they have the capacity to propose synthetic formulas to capture and apprehend a reality and a historical moment.
Thus, we would say that culture is an escape route for channelling emotions and discovering realities we were unaware of, and perhaps for young people it is an open door to better understand the world, its history and its evolution through time, to increase
their creativity and critical capacity, and for different forms of expression, knowledge construction, commitment and participation in society.
Leadership training for the common goo
One of the pending tasks was the joint reflection on leadership and its role in participation. This was combined with knowledge about a secondary school to complete the vision of education in Peru. Thus, the case study of the Isabel Flores de Oliva School in Lima was chosen.
The Isabel Flores de Oliva School is an educational centre founded in 1950, located in the city of Lima, which has its own pedagogical style inspired by the educational proposal of San Pedro Poveda, whose basic principles include the educational task as a process of humanisation and education understood as a means for social change.
The visit of the Youth-Act young people to this school gave them an interesting insight into education in Peru, as well as the possibility to experience the welcome of the teachers and the students themselves, who in small groups guided the visitors and explained the school from their understanding. Their presentation of the different zones and areas of the school, with their corresponding explanations, and exercising their social skills, made clear the task of leadership in the service of others. This type of transformational leadership, i.e. oriented beyond self-interest, raises the level of awareness and purpose of the whole group or team in relation to a shared project. And this is configured in the mission-vision of the Centre, which expresses the desire to form autonomous, critical, creative, reflective, open to dialogue and to what is different, committed and supportive people. An active and participatory methodology that energizes educational processes and the collective construction of knowledge to transform reality, thus forming an ethical and democratic citizenship. This vision understands education as a humanisation process that places the person at the center of its organizational pedagogy.
In a competitive and global labor market, and now more than ever, in a context of information manipulation and post-truth, violence and armed conflicts, the teaching of skills such as ethical leadership, solidarity and oriented to the common good, whether at school, university, home or municipality, should be a priority in any educational programme.
And after all that, what are the learnings that remain
Every evening the group experienced a privileged time of reflection on their own learning, which would later be reflected in the YOUTHPASS: a tool for the recognition of competences and non-formal learning created by the European Commission for the recognition and validation of non-formal learning in the framework of Erasmus+ and Youth in Action projects. This reflection for the Youthpass allowed the participants to learn how to learn and to be aware of what they have learned and to show it to others, in order to favour the recognition and visibility of their work. They also understood that it was a good tool for employment but they also discovered that it is a tool that:
• Converts theory to practice as proper of non formal educational Facilitates reflection on personal learning. It shows a series of skills that are only learned in non- formal education. It is understandable for anyone from any field of study or professional. It allows to demonstrate the acquired competences. It favors turning theory into practice as is typical of non-formal education
The young people of the Youth Act! project have learned to recognise competences and attitudes and to reflect on a wide range of competences exercised, developed or learned during the days in Lima, New York or Madrid, but beyond these days there are the months and three years of work on oral and interpersonal communication skills, reflective, critical and creative thinking, teamwork, conflict resolution, adaptability, volunteering and on other decisive Youth-Act! competences such as participation, leadership and interculturality.