Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ahhh - Almost April!

It feels like life has been crazy lately. Perhaps this is true for all students, that time of year - I don't know. I just finished a course called Culture and Learning: from Violence Toward Peace. It was really interesting, although challenging. In the midst of all the discussions at UPeace to be talking about our cultures and the way they impact us. All the different pieces of culture, the things which are obvious like language and food and the things that are buried deeper and then all those assumptions we make about other people, based on - if anything - shallow truths.

I kind of struggled in this class. "Canadian culture" can be a bit hard to define. Goodness knows that I have had plenty of people tell me that we just don't have any, which ruffles my feathers. I feel that, while it may not be always super obvious, it is there and strong. It's also hard being painted as the 'at fault' party in all things negative about globalization. I realize that there is a large difference between individuals and the 'global north' but it is hard to try to listen with an open heart, when at times it feels like people are talking about you - and the people you love, in a giant box of the evil north. I have been told that discomfort is the stretching of learning - and I am trying to get my heart to hear that part. There were many fantastic things which came out of the class. :)

Tomorrow I begin my second to last course (AHHHH) for the year. It's a bit daunting to think that I am coming up on done. How did that happen? My project is still moving slowly - and the idea that I will be done and back in Alberta, at ACGC, in August seems SO soon. This week our colleagues from the ALP (Asia Leaders Program) are departing, so we had a lunch on Friday - this is our department (the Peace Education and Gender and Peacebuilding classes) photo, with all of us (minus Virginia who is in the Philippines right now). It is going to be strange to start a class without these friends - and made the end seem like it is even closer.


The flip however, is missing parts of home. Mostly people, sometimes food. My Auntie Irma and Uncle Jim came for a Costa Rican adventure (and visit!) which was great. It was so nice to have them come, even if school was pretty busy and I didn't get as much holiday/fun time as I wished. Right at the beginning of their trip - we went to the Volcano Poas - which was beautiful. Here are some of the photos. You can tell I am still in love with Costa Rican plants.

The crater at the top of Poas.


Family!



For those of you who have spent too much time around me, you will know that I am approaching the time of year where I countdown for cupcakes. This is WAY harder when far away, although I think I may still succeed with new friends. I thought, just in case anyone was wondering about my mailing address though (cause my mailbox is empty often...) I would share it out. Hee hee. You can find me at:

Me
c/o DAA
University of Peace
PO Box 138-6100
San Jose, Costa Rica
Central America

Ok - that was shameless, clearly I am starting to miss home...
Anyway, classes start again tomorrow so, back to it.
peace to you,
diana

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

UPMUNC

Last weekend was crazy! I was a "journalist" for the UPeace Model United Nations Conference. The conference is billed as quite the big deal as different embassies sponsor portions of it. Delegates from around the world join with UPeace students in the three day craziness we call UPMUNC (pronounced up-monk). In my ongoing goal of doing things that are new - I signed up to be part of the media team covering the conference and became a video editor for three different news sources. To my video editing friends - I have a new-found and deep respect for what you do! Holy doodle was it hard! It was really fun and I learned a tonne! Our "media" was BBC-UPMUNC, Al Jazeera - English - UPMUNC and FOX News - UPMUNC. Really different perspectives on the happenings. :)

The delegates were all madly working on resolutions and their committee speak ("the delegate from Canada honourable submits...") when the breaking news broke in. Each year an "incident" is introduced half way through the conference to create an additional challenge. This year it was very similar to some of the "real" news and we confused some delegates very very effectively. Here are a couple examples of our different new sources:

BBC-UPMUNC
video

Al Jazeera - UPMUNC

video

One of the events in the news was the kidnapping and torture of two female bloggers (which also made for my second acting experience at UPeace - but this time with my head covered and being tortured by a prof - but I won't upload that video...), which cause a bit of a stir. As the event went along - and we put out more and more news - causing some of the delegates to become frustrated with the interruptions and make "jokes" about what might happen to the media if this continues... The response came from our "Fox News" correspondent (as follows):

FOX -UPMUNC


video

Over the three days, I edited 25 videos for the "news"! It was a good experience, but by the end I was exhausted. I have just begun my newest class, Cultures and Learning: From Violence towards Peace - so back to my homework... I hope you're well!

peace to you,
diana