Ecoversities Micro-gathering for Learning and Peace in Costa Rica: Abeja Andina Polinizando Territorios Ticos

Abeja andina, polinizando territorios ticos - Reporte de Polinización en Costa Rica en Febrero 2024

por Andrea González Andino 

A mediados de Febrero nos juntamos en Costa Rica con un grupo de personas tejidas dentro de Ecoversidades, la excusa para compartir sueños, proyectos, ideas y formas en las que cada unx desde su espacio está reimaginando la educación superior. Estuvimos con Stephanie Knox, Sierra Allen, Maura Stephens, Eileen Walz, Benya Basseches, George Sapio.

La Universidad de la Paz, o U Peace University fue nuestra primera parada. Gracias a la invitación y gestión de Stephanie Knox, docente de la Universidad, compartimos dos tardes con invitados externos y alumnos de la Universidad sobre Ecoversidades. En los encuentros compartimos sobre la intención que encontramos en la red, las formas en la que compartimos y el recordatorio de la parte relacional como el corazón que nos mantiene latiendo. 

Logramos que en distintos formatos y ubicaciones, nos juntemos a compartir nuestras acciones para reimaginar la educación. Practicas con arte y pedagogía con la naturaleza, activismo político, permacultura, ALCs, andinismo, planificación curricular, imaginación y conversaciones diversas marcaron el tiempo juntxs. 

“Tomorrow we will close our time together, which I sense will be another beginning that I cannot fully see yet. Planting seeds of ecoversal space at UPEACE, seeds for unschooling and self-directed learning in Costa Rica, seeds of friendship and relationship that we will continue to water and grow, like the unwieldy tropical vegetation we are surrounded by and breathing with. As one of our friends said yesterday, “Ecoversities is an excuse for us to get together,” and I love this excuse, and am so grateful for the Alliance for having brought us together.”

—Stephanie Knox Steiner, How Do You End Things, Enchantable Substack

La Alianza Ecoversidades, por las distintas acciones y actividades nos ha permitido conocer a personas de distintos territorios donde resuena el desaprender – el reclamar saberes – re-imaginar una educación al servicio de la vida, las espiritualidades y ecologías. 

Stephanie comparte sobre el encuentro:

“I will say that one very beautiful emergence from the gathering is dreaming of a forest unschool with Daniel Stee and some of my students who will stay in CR (and Daphne! 🙂 we have had a couple of dreaming sessions and will continue when I return from my current trip to the US 

For me, it was so beautiful to host part of the micro gathering at Upeace and infuse the campus with ecoversal energies 🙂✨ I feel such a great sense of solidaridad with mis compas de la alianza. Would love love love to see more gatherings in CR and will support in any way that I can!” 

Antes de ir al encuentro me preguntaba ¿Qué significa la paz? ¿Qué se puede enseñar en espacios donde se aprende de paz?

En ciertos territorios latinoamericanos donde la paz es una negociación diaria, como Colombia, México y ahora Ecuador, la paz es una práctica, un camino y una gran pregunta. Las iniciativas que surgen por el mundo alientan a una búsqueda única y conjunta de paz. A Costa Rica la dicen “la Suiza de latinoamerica”, no solo por el costo de la vida, también por la seguridad y la tranquilidad en la que el territorio se ha construido. Como en todo lugar, esta realidad va cambiando, pero decisiones como no tener militares o limitar el control por la fuerza son indicios de un territorio distinto y quizás más tranquilo. 

La Universidad de la Paz es la Universidad de las Naciones Unidas y llama a estudiar a la paz desde la educación, las leyes, los vínculos internacional, entre otras ramas. ¿Qué nos refleja a nosotrxs cómo Ecoversities pensando en la paz? ¿Qué nos dice cada territorio en el que habitamos sobre este aprendizaje? ¿Qué camino encontramos? 

Como siempre, las aventuras del aprendizaje y nos traen más preguntas y más caminos para descubrir. Siempre agradecidxs por la posibilidad de encontrar personas maravillosas por cada rincón del planeta que están reimaginándolo todo. 

Aquí comparto un texto de Maura: 

I have been to the campus of la Universidad para la Paz many times before, as I live in the area, was accepted into the doctoral program there some years ago, and have taught there as well. I have felt the spirit of the university being somewhat zapped over those years, as it now feels like a shell of its former self. Some might blame Covid for this, but I believe it is more of a systemic disease. 

I was excited to infuse the Ecoversities spirit that I already knew is embodied in people like Andrea, Sierra, Eileen, and my friend Stephanie (who teaches at the university). I was not disappointed. The small group of us who spent a memorable day at the university in conversation, deep sharing, and lively learning-play with people from both the University for Peace – students, staff, and faculty – along with the Ecoversities folks, was really magical. After introductions we did some theater games and some “speed deep dating” — always a great way of getting to know someone in a hurry. There were people who had never heard of Ecoversities in our group, and it was a great way to give them a little bit of a primer on our work, as well as to start building new relationships. 

Stephanie Knox Steiner was a lovely and welcoming host. It was a rich and beautiful afternoon altogether. Plus, we mingled with students from the university at their cafeteria during lunchtime. 

From there, we drove to Barbacoas de Puriscal de San Jose, which is where I live with my husband, George Sapio, at la Casa de la Luna Feliz. We were excited to welcome the group of Ecoversities stalwarts to our home in the mountains. The next few days were full of group and one-on-one conversations, intimate listening, and sharing, games, meal sharing, birdwatching, meditating, exercising, walking, and garden appreciating. Daniel and Hyon (long-time Costa Rica residents from Canada and S. Korea, respectively), had joined us at UPaz and for one of the days in Puriscal as well, lending their ideas and creativity including a wonderful exercise Hyon introduced that blended human artistry and Nature.

George and I were also fortunate to have been able to pick up Albert from the airport and drive him a few hours to Sierra’s home in Providencia de Dota, giving us time for deep introductions. In Providencia we spent another packed, fulfilling day in another Ecoversities space, meeting local Costa Rican youth, peers, and families. 

As a several-times-migrant, I found the new connections with people from different countries, diverse backgrounds, and several generations to be further enriching and eye-opening. Although I’d worked with several of them (Sierra, Andre, and Albert especially) before, I had not met others 

This weeklong immersion was the beginning of what I hope will be long, profound friendships and collegiality as I continue to learn and become a better ambassador for Ecoversities and the eclectic offerings we all bring to these circles.

I’m not sure that we had enough time to infuse the University for Peace with Ecoversities’ energy and ethos, but we have made a start and will continue partnering whenever possible.

Maura Stephens, Ireland/USA/Costa Rica

PD: Casa de la Luna Feliz, la casa de Maura y George es un espacio que recibe activistas cansades para mimarlos y cuidar de ellxs. Es un espacio de compartir, de aprendizaje, desaprendizaje. Si se dudaba que era una Ecoversidad, aquí hay una foto oficializando su estado ecoversitario.

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