"The Role of the Public University in the Construction of Peace and Human Rights" - Dr. María Eugenia Pareja Tejada
Thank you very much. A cordial greeting to all of you, the brotherly people of Paraguay, who opened the doors and gave us all this affection, received us by erasing the differences and opening borders, which I believe is what interests the citizens of the world, which are interested in our peoples.
Well, I have here the work of my colleagues, female dean, female Vice Dean (who is present here), our Director of Tourism career, our companion Adviser to the President, Waldo Albarracín, responsible and a man who was defender of the people, today an academic who is carrying out this university, and therefore, as a defender of human rights, this university so beautiful, so big, is taking that space.
The Greater University of San Andrés (the largest university in my country) has 80,000 students in 13 colleges, with 56 majors. It was created in 1830 with all the religious vision as it was raised at that time, with studies of theology, and little by little it became a space of constant struggles, especially in those times when we had so many dictatorships and presidents who changed at every moment .
From 1936 the University became an autonomous university; and something that is very important, a university where you have university autonomy; you have the student-teacher co-government: where we make the decisions 50/50; our university counselors; and a university with a lot, we would point out, research work; and a high degree of training at the postdoctoral level: 80% of our teachers already have masters and doctorates.
Therefore, in a country that until some time seemed invisible, today - in the academic field - we are growing and growing constantly.
In this context, something that I think is important to point out is that it is not just having a speech about peace or a thing to do; but peace is a daily construction, it is a provocation, it is something that has to beat in us for this provocation to become concrete actions as everything is in life.
While life is wonderful, we live in a world that suffers. The jungles, the forests, the rivers, the seas, the mountains are dying. The system does not give more, there is an exhaustion of historical possibilities.
It requires a knowledge - and this is important - that does not mutilate, a knowledge about the universe, life, earth, human, the subject transferred by language, by the so-called (psychoanalytically) order of the “great other."
The world today is seen as a pond full of energy. There is the possibility of dominating the natural energies of the physical world, dominating industrial development, but the mere technocratic vision ignores life, ignores this human, this being that builds, makes science, makes art, makes culture.
Things, today, are disposable instruments; there are real risks that threaten the survival of human life; clear evidence is the invasion of ecological spaces by purely mercantilist interests, depletion of natural resources, war, loss of ability to live with species, pollution.
The human is not a foreign and independent being of nature, but participant in that dynamic and creative process in permanent transformation; it ceases to be a passive spectator of the eternal and immutable laws and destiny that is written in them.
The experience of the world is shaped by the activity of the subject endowed with a body, a sensibility, a language, a history, a mode of interaction in the world where he is not alone but in community with others.
In this context, everything is marketed based on the logic of the market, characterized by consumption; and this increases the emptiness, the lack, the loneliness in which immense groups live that inhabit the Earth. Poverty, inequality, violence, confrontation, is exacerbated day by day; Individualism is now firmly reaffirmed.
We live under an automation of financial activities with speculative character and of short-term benefit against the general interest.
Knowledge at present comes from the powers that developed in the so-called techno-science; Many times destructive powers, degradation, manipulation of humans.
Therefore, there is an inextricable relationship between scientific activity, political management and socio cultural life. It requires a knowledge, therefore, that link between - that there is a link between education, citizenship, political practices. It involves merging education reform and politics; Therefore, to form an education that sees the fundamental problems that humanity suffers. Forming people for life, dealing with the technological revolution, forging a thinking that enables subjects to dignify life, humanity.
Knowledge, therefore, is seen as a network in permanent growth, articulation and reconfiguration; thinking in networks, the possibility of taking into account the high degree of interconnections of phenomena, establishing knowledge paths that consider the various forms of human experience and their multiple articulations.
The subject is both weaver and part of the plot: it configures the world and gives it meaning. For it is essential ethics, as it is considered as a deployment of a mode of existence to a way of producing in the world, so it is the ethics of non-exclusion, peace and respect.
The university should not go in favor of exclusive structures under the tendencies of professionalization, which is seen as a mere economic investment; Therefore, academic excellence should not be placed solely and exclusively at the service of the market, but at the service of society as such, from a transdisciplinary perspective.
Education is a concept in service to the human, to open the critic to what dehumanizes; Therefore, education is a political process. And while the future is unpredictable, we must seek to live in a world free of discrimination, based on respect, peace, justice, dignity, equality and solidarity.
Our education must eliminate the predator, it must ignore the strictly economist cult of productivity and profitability, shed what they always made us believe, which is historical inevitability (that things are done and we must march towards that).
Thus, in this context, we set to work, to put into action that which is knowledge. We live in an age that science is only considered as Foucault would call it: Biopolitics, where the number, the data is what matters: "the patient on bed number five," "prisoner number three," which has dehumanized us little by little, similarly in the schooling, and the human part has been lost.
In countries like mine, as in Ecuador, I see that the cities of knowledge only open up for what is mathematics, physics, chemistry. And the humanistic, and the social, where does it leave it? Are we not the builders of mathematics, physics, chemistry? Do we not take possession of the world, build, do, fail, grow?
And this is how we have put ourselves on a First World Congress of Colleges of Humanities and Educational Sciences; a congress where we have positioned ourselves as a defense of what "human" means; as a defense of that which is to create our history and to create it in function of peace, and this is not only understood like that state of homeostasis.
Peace is important, peace before that which afflicts us as humans, which is the emptiness in which humanity lives together. That emptiness that we try to fill it with the most important sublimations like science, like art; as the cause of suffering, which is the expiration of the body, where religion comes to be a promise. That is what we are and we are building and we are creating and filling this emptiness in which we live. Very interesting because the Congress in two years will be in Brazil, and so we will build what is being lost every day.
On the other hand, I want to point out that if we talk, we live ... we were in Santa Cruz last year - already in this space - and we have built our first ... the formation of the first intergenerational activists for peace.
And it is seen that to enter the peace we must enter as children. And how do we do it if not through art? We go to schools; and ask them to draw a picture of what it means; how they understand peace. Of course, there is a confusion: La Paz, Bolivia, peace, right? Then the peace that we are coming from is the perspective of love; of important things.
Then, the children have a contest and choose the best drawings that people consider best represents a meaning of that; and therefore, it is incorporated in the main poster of the Activists for Peace, that through the Mayor's office is pasted in all the specified places and murals.
The teenager, what do they do? They like graffiti; Therefore, they have also opened spaces for them to create a graffiti and the winners can also be the representatives of the Activists for Peace.
In the university, we have opened projects that are intergenerational: teachers and students who present a project; and the Humanities faculty supports them in carrying out the projects, both students and teachers.
We have also considered that the older adult has to go tell their stories, their life, their joy, promoting what peace is. But we have not stayed there, we are seeing vulnerable groups. So we have peace activists in prisons - look how important - in the place where violence is generally believed to be exacerbated; in prisons and in another vulnerable place - also extremely important - which are psychiatric wards, where we also have our Activists for Peace. And this has been putting forth the effort.
Therefore, we also have as human rights our children's circles, our children, children of students, women and men go and (to study) leave their children in our circle. But that circle changes the perspective; it is not this circle that only supports in psychomotor development, but the history career goes and tells the story of Bolivia in short stories; the literary people go and read poetry, stories- literary and high level-to children; the career of tourism leads them to give - to know our La Paz, to know, through training; we are creating intergenerational relationships.
We also have the creation of training of seniors as chefs, because that is what they want, attention in university dining rooms; in fashion design, to put high level university stores, with support from Italy, for example, for fashion design; and also with plane modeling; with psychomotor development for the older adult supported in the clinics, but with a difference: the older adult in the first courses is included in regular university courses; that is, there is that work that children have with adults.
We also have this integration of people with disabilities. I do not know if the word "inclusion" should be used today; because inclusion has a reference group that is: the normal, the healthy, the young - I do not know, those who are in more developed countries, empires and everything that has appeared; and that "inclusion" implies entering that space as marking the difference.
The person with the disability is supported from the moment of entry: with the zero course, teachers are motivated ... but with the place of respect as a human being; with the place of respect for that being who has blood running through their veins, who has affections, who has gaps, who has love, who fails at love, and all that; and not see the difference in the superior group that has to be "included.”
Therefore, we have erased words of "inclusions," but of respect. They are students with all rights. They have - we all have - some level of disability; but there enters the space for respect.
On the other hand, we have erased - because they do not like them, the older adults - the "older adult" because it is chronological; and they themselves have said: "it is the golden age"; and it is our golden age for them.
Nor have we come to see the fact that there are differences between people who may be homosexual, among people of vulnerability, but rather the ability to rise; and we no longer speak of violence, we speak of peace and love.
We have achieved many results, there are some more (but I have already finished), which are leading us to this construction of respect between interculturality, respect for the human being, and active search - with concrete facts - in the construction of peace.
Thank you very much.