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Where We Are
  Costa Rica


Frequently Asked Questions

What is needed to meet this challenge?

As Dr. Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize winner from Costa Rica, said in the April 11 issue of The Tico Times, “Peace is not a dream, it’s an arduous task. We must start by finding peaceful solutions to everyday conflicts with the people around us. Peace does not begin with the other person, it begins within each and every one of us.”

For peace to begin with each Costa Rican, highly effective methods of teaching social and emotional skills must be integrated on a daily basis into classrooms in the schools. The two social and emotional skills that are essential in achieving non-violence are:

1. Feeling peace (emotional skill)

2. Communicating peace (social skill)

The most effective, scientifically-validated method of “feeling peace” is called Freeze Framer®, developed by the Institute of HeartMath. This is a software program with a finger sensor for monitoring heart rhythms that teaches children in 6-10 sessions how to align the activity of the brain and the heart. As a result, students improve emotional stability, impulse control, anger management and academic test scores. Through this cutting-edge technology, it is now possible to teach “emotional peace” in public schools.

The most effective method of “communicating peace” is Nonviolent Communicationsm (NVC), developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. He founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) in 1984, which now provides training in over 30 countries. Funded by UNESCO, the CNVC team in Yugoslavia has trained tens of thousands of students and teachers. In Israel, 40 schools have received NVC where the director of the Ministry of Education’s National Program for the Prevention of Violence is an NVC trainer. This method has stood the test of time and cross-cultural effectiveness.

Both of these methods have already been fully proven and, if they were implemented in Costa Rica’s public school system, violence would immediately decrease in the schools and, over time, in the entire country.

How could this social and emotional learning program for peace be implemented?

Rita Marie Johnson, founding Director of the Rasur Foundation in Costa Rica, is proposing a “Peace Army” for Costa Rica as follows:

  • Train an “army” of trainers in the two skills of “feeling peace” and “communicating peace”.
  • The trainers will then be assigned to schools, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, where they will train teachers and provide follow-up support. The teachers will teach the children the two skills.
  • As already agreed with the Education Department of the National University, their team would objectively evaluate the program through pre and post assessments in the schools.


Who in Costa Rica has endorsed Dr. Johnson’s work through the Rasur Foundation?

  • Asesora Nacional de Educación Académica
  • Associación de Empresarios para El Desarrollo (AED), associated with United Way International
  • United Nations University for Peace
  • The Ministry of Culture in 2002 through sponsorship of the musical Rasur (an adaptation of the poem by Roberto Brenes Mesen), a national decree of Rasur as a cultural event of national interest and a special presentation to Dr. Johnson at the premiere
  • Dr. Guillermo Vargas, former Minister of Education of Costa Rica (verbal endorsement)

Who has already agreed to participate as partners in this social and emotional learning program?

  • The Arias Foundation with the endorsement of Dr. Oscar Arias, Nobel peace prize winner from Costa Rica
  • College of Education, National University of Costa Rica
  • Institute of HeartMath, a nonprofit research and education organization founded in 1991 in the US, now identified as the leader in studying the physiological mechanisms by which the heart communicates with the brain. They can also get computers donated so the Freeze Framer software can be utilized in Costa Rican schools.
  • Sura Hart, NVC trainer from the United States and author of The Compassionate Classroom
  • Center for Nonviolent Communication, an international nonprofit organization with over 100 certified trainers


When did this program begin?

A volunteer training program began on October 3, 2004 to prepare volunteers for working in a pilot project.

A pilot project in the Escuela de Excelencia Elías Jimenéz Castro began on February 6, 2004. With the full support of Director Carlos Corales, fourteen teachers have committed to participate in nine training days, one per month for nine months. They will also participate in weekly coaching and practice sessions.

After demonstrating results, and starting a grassroots movement, with this pilot project, the Peace Army will move forward to fulfill the vision of Costa Rica becoming the first country in the world to successfully raise a generation of skilled peacemakers. In order for this vision to be realized, financial support is needed for salaries for trainers and for the materials needed to teach the two methods of “feeling peace” and “speaking peace”.

Q: What is the Peace Army of Costa Rica? ¿Qué es el Ejército de Paz de Costa Rica?

A: We are a non-profit organization registered in Costa Rica that is working to train the skills of feeling and speaking peace to all who are willing to learn them. Our focus is mainly this program's implementation in Costa Rican schools. To read more about the Peace Army, click here (www.peacearmyofcostarica.info/aboutus/)

Somos un organización sin fines de lucro, inscrita en Costa Rica que está enseñando los herrimientos de sintiendo y hablando paz a todos que quieren aprenderlos. Nuestro foco está en la implementación de ese programa en la país de Costa Rica. Para leer más sobre el Ejército de Paz, haga clic aquí (www.peacearmyofcostarica.info/esp/aboutus...?)

Q: Why did you name your project the Peace "Army"? ¿Por qué se llama el "Ejército" de Paz?

A: Traditionally, an army acts to overpower through violence--the Peace Army is acting to empower the people of Costa Rica (a country that abolished its army over fifty years ago) by giving them tools that allow them to "feel peace" and "speak peace." To read more about the tools taught by the Peace Army, click here (www.peacearmyofcostarica.info/methods/) To read more about Costa Rica, click here (we do have a page for that, right?)

Tradicionalmente, un ejército actúa usando su poder para ---. Nuestro "ejército" trabaja para desarrollar el poder en cada persona a través de enseñar a ellos como "sentir paz" y "hablar paz." Nuestro trabajo está principalmente en las escuelas de Costa Rica (un país que aboló su ejército militar hasta más de 50 años). Para saber más de los métodos del Ejército de Paz, haga clic aquí Para saber más sobre la herencía de paz que tiene Costa Rica, haga clic aquí

Q: How can I help support the Peace Army? ¿Como puedo apoyar al Ejército de Paz?

A: There are many ways in which we could use your help. Here are a few of the ways that you could participate: -Donate professional services (e.g. legal help with setting up our organization as a 501c3 in the U.S.) -Tell your friends about the Peace Army, and help spread peace consciousness throughout the world -Volunteer to help in one of our monthly teacher trainings -Become a Peace Investor -Donate equipment or software For more information on contributing to the Peace Army, please click here

Hay muchas maneras en que usted nos puede apoyar. Aquí están algunos maneras en que usted puede participar: -Donar servicios profesionales (por ejémplo: traducción de íngles a español, y a veces, español a íngles) -Hablar con sus amigos sobre los proyectos del Ejército de Paz, y esparza la conciencia de paz a través del mundo. -Ofrecerse para ayudar con logísticas en los instrucciones para maestros, que hacemos cada mes. -Ser un Inverstionista de Paz -Donar equipo o software Para más información sobre como se puede contribuir al Ejército de Paz, haga clic aquí

Q: How do you know that the methods work? ¿Como sabe que sus métodos funcionan?

A: The two methods we use, Freeze-Framer and Nonviolent Communication, have been shown through scientific and statistical research to be effective. Freeze-Framer (developed by the Institute of HeartMath), the tool we teach for "feeling peace," is now actively used in Fortune 500 corporations, hospitals, and in hundreds of schools worldwide. It's applications vary from anger and stress management, to increasing work productivity, to improving the treatment of ADHD patients. For more information on Freeze-Framer, visit the Institute of HeartMath at www.heartmath.org Nonviolent Communication(NVC), the tool we teach for "speaking peace," has been taught for over 40 years in over 30 countries, and has been shown as a form of communication that crosses cultural barriers. There are currently numerous projects around the world bringing NVC into schools, workplaces, and to law enforcement in order to create a peaceful and fulfilled ambience. For more information on Nonviolent Communication, visit the Center for Nonviolent Communication at www.cnvc.org

For more information on the way that we use these methods, brief descriptions of what their functions are, and documentation on their effectiveness, click here

Los dos métodos que usamos, Cambio de Corazón y Comunicación no Violenta, han sido mostrado a ser efectivos a través de unos investigaciones científicos y estadísticos. Cambio de Corazón (desarrollado por el Institute of HeartMath), la herrimienta que enseñamos para "sintiendo paz," está usado en corporaciónes de Fortune 500, hospitales, y en cienes de escuelas por todo el mundo. Sus aplicaciónes varía del controlando de ira y tensión, a productividad en trabajo, y tambien a mejorar el recuperación de pacientes con ADHD. Para más información sobre Cambio de Corazón, visita al Institute of HeartMath en www.heartmath.org Comunicación no Violenta (CNV), la herramienta que enseñamos para "hablando paz," ha side enseñado por más de 40 años en más de 30 países, y ha sido mostrado como una forma de comunicación que rompe barreras culturales. Hoy en día, hay varios proyectos por todo el mundo, trayendo CNV a esculas, lugares de trabajo, y a la policía para crear un ambiente de paz. Para más información sobre Comunicación no Violenta, visita al Center for Nonviolent Communication a www.cnvc.org

Para más información sobre la manera en que usamos estos métodos, descripciones breves de que los funciones de los son, y documentación de sus efectividades, haga clic aquí

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