Vivian González Trejos | Table 2 - Educational Session, CUMIPAZ 2017

Vivian González Trejos | Table 2 - Educational Session, CUMIPAZ 2017

Good morning… between good morning and good afternoon. Very nice to be with you, thank you very much. Part of what we have and the obligation to present today, is a different view on the concept of education: new models, new ways of seeing education.

The Magister University has been dedicated to since…  it’s almost 40 years old, its last years to turn the ship’s rudder; and if we were going to the north, we decided to turn it completely: 180 degrees to the south. Take a private university, which is a rare condition like this one, and turn it into a university with a very strong social platform.

The Magister University has been dedicated in this last time to work with social programs, with indigenous programs, programs for older adults, programs on the subject of drug addiction, on the issue of the indigent, on the subject of disability, on the subject of elders; and all of them have a single concept, which is the multilateral transfer of knowledge. And we have a very particular idea, which is the multilateral transfer of knowledge under a gyroscopic vision: the man inside a balloon, and any element that he touches is going to be interconnected by all its areas.

Here we have the presentation of an indigenous cacique of Costa Rica, the previous one of 104 years died, and we have also been working with him for a long time.

The university has been based on three fundamental pillars:

  • Social responsibility,

  • environmental responsibility

  • and the humanization of technologies.

Technology according to the human being; social responsibility truly lived in a practical way; and environmental responsibility as part of the social part, translating all the elements.

Well, here we have one of our programs with which we have been able to advance. Something important for us to know: many people do not advance because they say they do not have resources; then let’s use that and say: “Since we do not have resources, everything becomes a single element.” For us to say: “Well, the Magister University does not have the capacity to have a laboratory; therefore, we convert it all into a laboratory.” It is a maximum of profitability, maximum use of resources.

Therefore, here we have international volunteers, today we have 55 international volunteers from 22 countries, working with us in the social programs of the university.

Here we have the mission of the International Cooperation Program, it is to articulate projects; and the vision is to develop those projects.

Here we see, for example, volunteers from Germany, Belgium, Venezuela working with us, all of them professionals. Here we can see the eight programs with which we are working, all of which are transposed into a single element.

Entering the mountains: we, every Friday, 5:00 in the afternoon, put on our rubber boots, from the rector to any other person, we walk to the mountains; and instead of the indigenous people coming to us, we go to the indigenous people to do knowledge transfer.

Here we are entering the area of Cabécar and we began to develop a timeline where we began to show the integral participation of the professionals in the different areas: lawyers, graduates in engineering, the different fields. Below to the left, we can see 24 territories that Costa Rica has, 104,000 indigenous people, eight ethnic groups, where they are exchanging with UNICEF, they are exchanging with the International Red Cross, and embassy meetings, town hall meetings; in constant activity in relation to the indigenous people and the transfer of knowledge.

Selfishly we thought about the past, that we came to do bilateral transfer of knowledge; which can never be true; that is why we speak of multilateral transfer of knowledge, totally permeable to receive knowledge among international volunteers; them with us, we with the indigenous, the indigenous towards us.

Venancio Montezuma (the one with the microphone), a Guaimí Indian, first graduate, like us, we can not reach the professional part in its vast majority because we started to develop technical programs to reach them. However, we have professionals with Masters in Educational Administration, systems engineers, teaching English; and each time more and more come with their own companions, they are the ones who have been responsible for bringing them. The money that we had ready to use in advertising we gave back and we used it in the social plan.

So it is a university that operates with a low profile. Why a low profile? Because what we do is solidify a platform to be able to sustain social projects. Here we have systems engineers, like Gustavo Garbanzo, who is a creator, works with high performance computers and high data volumes, developing for the indigenous project; we have students from Italy, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc.; we have, for example, Francisco Arce, developing in Oracle different computer projects.

Here, these bottles that we see there, bottles of water, are in the search and development of projects that allow self-sustainability from the inside out. That is, at the moment we are doing knowledge transfer, that knowledge is emptied into projects; then, if we give them first aid: it empties into projects; if we give them alternative resolution of conflicts: it is emptied into a project; if we give them finance: it is emptied into the project.

So, “accounting, how much does it cost to do this?”; and so they go on the road turning it into something very practical, as our colleague says. Well, here are the entries, and they are more and more each time, and using such elementary things as the SpiderNet so that we learn that the language barrier, the language barrier does not exist.

We had some girls from China teaching Powerpoint in Chinese to the indigenous people in the mountains, because we forbid that we speak Spanish, English or anything else: Chinese; and none knew Chinese more than Chinese. And they learned Powerpoint; and they learned how to send an email and paste the Excel, then the language barrier does not exist.

The formality is so high that the election plan is also made, the brochures are made, we follow up on it; the brochures are updated as we progress and also receiving knowledge of them.

So we, one of the first modules that we give you is Basic First Aid. Why? Because we need you to help us with any eventuality anywhere we are. A second module that is given is Alternative Resolution of Conflicts, so that they themselves learn how to resolve their conflicts before they reach a court.

Another module given to them is Formation of trainers to help us replicate and enter the areas where we can not be entering; and from now on, we continue with an administrative concept: finance, marketing, computation. There are places where we do not have a way to give computation: because they have appeared to us, sent by the same God, machines that are moved by water and solar energy, and when we come to realization, we are teaching on the mountain; and even one of the projects that we have programmed is to make an Internet Café in the middle of the mountain, where there is neither light nor other conditions.

On your right you can see, for example, a card, that's part of the projects… we’ll see it right now. That label that you see on this side is because there is also an idea that you can work with virtual water without moving the water from where it is, making international agreements for the free trait, so that they can, with friendly countries, be able to have self-sustainability, that have their own income for the different projects they are managing.

Well, here we have a Venezuelan helping us to give the First Aid class, that is the distribution of the indigenous people in our country: 8 ethnic groups, as I was saying. We rely on two fundamental principles of the Chinese proverb, which is the fishing rod (which I know we all know) and the other that is the stone soup.

We have told you that there is no free food, everything has to be paid; Then we say to them: “Either you pay in colones (which is our currency in San José) and travel there, or you pay for it when we come here.” Then we offer you a very interesting exchange: “You are going to pay a cup of rice, a cup of beans, a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of coffee for each module that we are going to give you.”

They pay that, we make them a receipt; and if they did not bring the beans, they have a balance and they have to pay it next time; but they have the pride and honor that they are paying for their studies and no one is giving it away to them.

Historical error of our country is that everything has been given away, that is why we have alienated them, they do not walk, they are still the same people with the problems of heart, of feelings, of impossibility; and that’s part of the big change we’re trying to make.

The others, for example the Cabécar, have the problem of access: they pay for it with five steps on the mountain; it means that if a module costs ⏤to say something⏤ 50,000 colones, it means that a tier is worth 10,000 colones; then you have to make the same ratio for the cost of the cup of rice, beans, etc. The important thing is that we put it into the accounting of the project.

Then the CEPI, which is the Continuing Education Program for the Indigenous, we also decided to make it a mission and a vision; the mission is to empower them and the vision is to do the projects together.

And one of the premises, too, that we have, is that the indigenous people are the richest people in the world; richer because they are in contact with nature, we have a respect for that. In other words, if it comes to us ... (I am a crossrocessor, we have had to help in disaster), if disaster strikes, what is left for us? Oil, cement and nothing else. To the indigenous nature, what is left? The animals, the water, the air, their knowledge. So, yes, gentlemen, they are the richest people in the world.

What is the job we are looking for? To close the knowledge gap between the indigenous and the non-indigenous; and I speak of indigenous as one of the great projects that are being worked on.

So, the challenge, then, communication, resources, etc.

  • Then we talk about the first step: Make a transfer from the non-indigenous to the indigenous.

  • Second step: from the indigenous (between pairs) to another indigenous person advancing further inside.

  • Third step: the indigenous who has already interacted with other indigenous people, return knowledge to the non-indigenous so that they bring us and feed us.

  • Fourth step: that we teach other non-indigenous people, as we have progressed and we have knowledge.

So we have developed two major programs: A program that is Administration of Indigenous Organizations, which is the summation of a series of modules, so that these people feel they are managers of their own projects that they will develop; and another program called Indigenous Legal Promoters, so that they may be like lawyers where they are, and solve their… understand about the law in the different fields.

We have the concept of slow release, that is, to handle it with slow absorption. Why? Because many people have wanted to arrive, open, force the knowledge, and to already have pride and put a flower in the buttonhole that “I already formed them.” It is not about that, knowledge has to be given with low profile, with a solid platform, slowly; for the person to digest it slowly, check it, prove it, reject it and return it.

After this… Well, the CONAI in Costa Rica, the National Commission of Indigenous Affairs, is the official entity, we made an agreement with them in 2007. However, that kind of organism are politicized, then we have to give spaces for the policy to stabilize; but, meanwhile, you have to continue working parallel to politics, politics can not delay the development of the human being.

This is crossing the rivers. To get where we’re going we have to cross rivers, we have to cross mountains, the natural part of where the indigenous populations are; there we have French, Germans, Brazilians, Spaniards, working and accompanying us.

What does a German, a Brazilian, have to do with working with the Costa Rican indigenous people? We are all different, but when it comes to knowledge we are all the same. See the difference between these fingers, we just put our hands down and we are saying that knowledge is the same; they take away the investiture, they take away our gold spectacles, the rings, and the only thing that remains permanent is knowledge.

There we are crossing extremely dangerous places, because we have not cooperated in that the human life is protected in these zones. There we are preparing material to work, we are giving first aid; and here we are negotiating to enter the different indigenous groups.

Here they are in their activities, of the indigenous organizations; and here is one of the vaquianos with whom we entered the first time to begin to know. Again working with them, and this is one of the most enigmatic photos: either we do something now or our original peoples are going to disappear.

Then you can not if you do not organize. So, to our collaborators, to our volunteers, we also have to put a regulation for them; then we have developed a series of documents, of ways of dressing, of ways of acting, of ways of speaking, of ways of understanding them; and we already have, as I say, 22 countries, 55 volunteers, a series of internal regulations and agreements that must also be signed; and they have to start emptying their knowledge of the countries they come from.

So, how we can together, with them, begin to develop projects with their own cosmovision. For example, the chinese helped us develop an international volunteer project; for example, for the brazilians to develop a Supplies for Artisans project, and so on.

Here are some of the projects; and one of the Belgians helped us develop the collection of logos, so that we had the family of logos of all the projects that are being managed; computer scientists, who are very high-level computer scientists, developing platforms in Oracle, in free Software; this other one of the informatics worked with Raspberry Pi that is to be able… wireless network of very low cost to be able to enter the mountains.

Also, future plans… here is the little chinese girl I was telling you about, who gave her Powerpoint without having to use anything else but Chinese. Here we have Belgians, Italians, French entering. This boy that we see here, he is a physicist, but in these projects you have to discover the light of each person; because his his light is photography and it was the contribution he came to make to the project, it is very interesting; and as a result of that a photographic exhibition was made.

These are materials…  this is very interesting. What you see here is a base for raft water bottles (the decorative base); it turns out that the raft is eating it, it is a very light type of tree; but then what happens? Just as we have eaten many times in - or several times in our country the national plate; so, if we start using up the primary resources, at the end of the day they themselves will be in trouble.

Then another of the projects is a balsa nursery. They have their houses in suita, then another of the projects is nurseries of suita. They have jícara for crafts, another of the projects is to make nurseries of suita. Then, before a problem: an opportunity or rather a solution; and before a chaos: an opportunity; we have to see it that way.

The other is… the same thing, look for the solution of the problems. Through international volunteers, surveys have been conducted in Germany, surveys in France, to see the susceptibility of them, to get to work hand in hand with these projects.

This is interesting, because Adidas is also found, Farm of Brazil, there is Gucci, who have internalized the indigenous spirit and have made indigenous fashion. Why not, the indigenous himself, make fashion with their own spirit, with their own sentiment to generate income for their population?

I understand that Ecuador it is quite advanced in this topic, they have internalized it, very interesting; and something important: every human being is free, each human being is independent and he is the one who will decide for his life, he is the one who has to protect his virtues and the virtues of his people; and we are no one to limit it to not having development; he is the one who has to choose how he manages his origin, and that is very important; what he has to have is availability for choice, it is part of what is being worked on here.

That is their fashion. Not this, this is Farm de Brazil and Gucci, but so you see what inspiration is and the owners are not the ones who are appropriating it. As they said yesterday or the other day: Between two countries in South America with the oil issue: they are neighbors and one of them is the one that is intermediating.

The same... postcards, etc., all jobs. These are projects generated at the same time as the teaching that has been given to them. This postcard that you see there is a circle of peace; circles of peace have been made in their own territories, so that they then become a project at the same time.

Parents and children studying together, there is no age limit, there is no sex limit. IT technology projects; mountain taxi projects, that a middle part is to use a helicopter to get in or out, but this is the primary part.

Congress. We wanted to hold the First Indigenous Congress on October 12 and 13, but the environment said: “No. It is not the time yet.” And rain came and the strong winds, etc., so we have to wait. The congress was based on an element: multilateral transfer of knowledge, to publicize the capacity, the permeability of knowledge and how they can easily understand finance or understand the blogging strategies or benchmarking or other things that we talk with them all time.

It is very interesting there, in the projects that are being developed in the agricultural field: chicken of double breast fattening, that is, chicken that no longer exists, which is natural, large chicken. In Costa Rica the chickens are very small now, so we want the indigenous to come to supply what the market is not supplying in a natural way.

On the subject of industry: art supplies, agricultural supplies; on the subject of tourism: indigenous housing; Indigenous gastronomic garden, because they want to demonstrate their culinary skills too, etc .; and others... derived from medicinal plants, etc.

People who have been helping us, also a Hebrew university in Israel, an Arab university in Israel, because peace does not differentiate between the concepts that others do.

And this is very interesting, I'm going to take just one minute for this:


  • Raquel is from United States (Rachel), and she says: “We all ate together as a family in the school kitchen.” That is why it is multilateral knowledge, they left with the knowledge.

  • “One of the best parts was dancing with Nicole and Alison in the kitchen,” because we have children and we have older adults, and we have... working together.

  • Brazil: “Very impressed with the maleco art.”

  • Slovakian: “My feelings for that experience are very positive. For me it was an interesting experience, because I had come earlier to that place (with us it was the second time), but now I felt more involved.”

And like this, everyone. This is a journalist, this is an industrial engineer, this is a Frenchman who works in business management, etc.; and in each one... she is a Puerto Rican. Notice what the Puerto Rican says: “It filled me with great joy and satisfaction to have gone through this great experience, I was able to open my eyes.” And she also talks about the possibility that this is a way to find peace in another comment.

Well, Switzerland, United States; and so each one of them entering the different territories. This one is from Mexico, Samuel helped us to give accounting and it is interesting how you learn to teach accounting by playing. We speak in recreational teaching universities, because it is the same.

Here we are with all of them. And this is interesting (and I will finish here): We did not get into this adventure with zero knowledge. The entire university, all of it, they graduate with mixed research work, as some researchers say: the qualitative and the quantitative working together, then we work for the older adult. The last of the works is to capitalize on the knowledge of the elderly: how do we rescue them so that they does not get lost in time?

Then there are a lot of developments in the indigenous part, the environmental part, disability, etc. The spaces here are limited, but the possibility of doing and developing is simply taking advantage of the 90% that we do not occupy of our mind, is infinite.

Thank you very much.