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Hannia Corrales

B.A. in education, B.A. in administration, M.A. in human rights and peace education.  Hannia works at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica. 

Interviewed and translated by Kate Duvall

April 2013

First of all, peace is something that is found internally. It is not the absence of violence or war, but rather the consciousness of people. This happens when people are willing to take a look at their own lives. We are all children of God and we all need to be conscious of what we are doing here and now. If you live in a country that has poverty— children who do not have food to eat, people who do not have homes, a society that generally lacks access to education— it does not matter whether or not you have a military, you are not a peaceful country. As humans we must evolve to reach better humanity.

 I wanted to get a degree in peace studies because peace is what the world needs more of.  The subject of peace touches all aspects of life; this is why we should instill peace as a trait in adults and children. The way in which we can create peace is through education. Our current education system is not doing enough to promote peace. Students need to be taught the normal things that one learns in school, like basic math, but they also need to be taught what it means to be a human. They need to be taught what it means to share in the responsibility of being human. That is the only way to create peace— create a community of conscious citizens. Creating this community involves teaching peace to younger generations, but it also involves teaching peace to our current generations. Adults are the ones murdering people in the streets, throwing garbage wherever they want, and failing to provide food for their children. These are the things within a society that drives away peace. If we educate adults, they can live with peace in their hearts and teach that lifestyle to their children. If we just educate children, but not adults, those children may grow up in homes that lack peace, which prevents the children from ever truly understanding what a lifestyle of peace is. Thus, the cycle would continue. Peace must start now, with those who are in a position to make a change. People adopt “monkey see, monkey do” attitudes. Once the adults start making changes, others will follow.

  Peace is almost impossible to actually define, as it can mean something different to every person—it depends on his or her own environment, or current situation. It is hard to explain to a child who has grown up among the devastation of war what peace is. Yet, we must always try to teach people about internal peace. As Gandhi said we must, “Be the change we wish to see in the world.” Every day, I work to promote peace by maintaining a sense of inner peace in myself. I try to take that inner peace and project it on the world. That is what we all must seek to do. It is the only way that we will create a peaceful world.

 The most important things in life are health, peace, and love.