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  Costa Rica


Staff of the Peace Army

Rita Marie Johnson, founding director of the Rasur Foundation, aims education toward wisdom through social and emotional learning. Rita Marie served the UN University for Peace for over two years, during which time she produced the musical RASUR and wrote a libretto for it based on the original poem by Roberto Brenes Mesen. RASUR was declared a cultural event of national interest in 2002 by the President and was performed at Costa Rica’s largest theatre. Currently she is working to establish a Peace Army in Costa Rica, a proven social and emotional skills-based program to be implemented in schools by an “army” of trained peacebuilders. Her book, The Return of Rasur: The story that offers an answer to education in our time, published in 2000, contains a wealth of inspirational material and insights into the learning process.

Ms. Johnson has worked all her life to help establish a culture of peace. Highlights of her “pro-paz” programs, workshops and conferences initiated in Costa Rica include:

  • Educating in the 21 st Century: An International Certification in Social and Emotional Learning for Educational Leaders of Countries
  • Creating Pro-Paz Schools (for Academic Advisers, Ministry of Education)
  • Lecture on Roberto Brenes Mesen ( for the Colegio, Ministry of Culture)
  • Teen Honors Exchange Program at the University for Peace
  • International World Core Curriculum Conference
  • The Season for Non-Violence (now sponsored by the government)
  • The School of Rasur (founded in 1997)

She has also presented workshops on the role of social and emotional learning in peace education in the US and Europe. Previously in her career, Johnson served as Chief of Volunteer Services for the Texas Dept. of Health, for which she received an award for Outstanding Leadership from the Governor of Texas.

Rita Marie purchased a 2-acre property in Piedades de Santa Ana in 2002 to serve as headquarters for the Rasur Foundation and as a training center for the future Peace Army. The property, named Quizur after the village in the poem, Rasur, was renovated over the last year and is now serving a core group of Peace Army trainers.


Cynthia L. Henson, part of our core team, is a dynamic leader with experience in designing and implementing collaborative and innovative programs to quickly achieve results within organizations. She has led workshops for several fortune 500 companies over the past 20 years. As an International Business Consultant, she has partnered with the Peace Army of Costa Rica to deliver peace skills to primary school teachers. During this partnership, she led the organization through the development of their vision, mission, core values and strategic plan. Ms. Henson has an MBA from National University and an MA in Peace Education from the prestigious United Nations University for Peace.


Michelle Kiso--Administrative Assistant



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