The Rasur Foundation
The Rasur Foundation is named for a prophetic poem, Rasur or Week of Splendor, written in 1946 by Costa Rican, Roberto Brenes Mesen, legendary writer, educator and diplomat. It tells the story of a master teacher, Rasur, who mysteriously appears one day and woos the children of the village, Quizur, deep into a mountain. There he teaches the Costa Rican children about their connection to nature and their ability to be peacemakers. He tells the children, “Before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts.” With joy, they return to the village to share this newfound knowledge with their parents. As the townspeople respond to the enthusiasm of the children, Quizur soon becomes a little culture of peace. The poem implies that Costa Rican children will become peacemakers to the world.
Roberto Brenes Mesen was ahead of his time in believing that Costa Rica would identify with peace, as this nation didn’t take its first step in this direction until three years later, when it abolished its army. He was also ahead of his time in understanding the value of social and emotional learning, which is the basis for Rasur Foundation projects.
Vision: To see Costa Rica become a model of peace and an inspiring leader of human progress for the global community.
Mission: To inspire, facilitate and educate toward a culture of peace in Costa Rica.
- The Peace Army of Costa Rica
- Ministry for Justice and Peace Initiative for Costa Rica
- Radio UPE
Core Value: Empathetic connection with ourselves and others
Peace Army of Costa Rica
President Oscar Arias, Costa Rican Nobel Peace Prize winner, said, “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.”
The Peace Army of Costa Rica is based on this same philosophy. For this reason, President Arias stated, “We are envisioning the Peace Army as a lasting force in Costa Rican culture and as a shining example to other countries of the possibilities for human progress.” To teach individuals how to create peace within themselves and with others, the Peace Army uses two proven methods that can be integrated into every classroom on a daily basis; HeartMath and Nonviolent Communication
The two social and emotional skills that are essential in achieving non-violence and maximizing learning are:
- Feeling peace, the ability to remain peaceful under stress (emotional skill taught through HeartMath)
- Speaking peace, the ability to communicate empathetically and honestly (social skill taught through Nonviolent Communication)
The Peace Army aims to train every willing teacher in Costa Rica in these skills, which will develop their social and emotional intelligence and empower them to create peaceful, creative classrooms where students thrive. The acquisition of these skills by the majority of teachers and their students would have a major impact on the level of violence and quality of education in Costa Rica.
A Ministry for Peace and Justice in Costa Rica
In July 2006, President Oscar Arias approved the Rasur Foundation Initiative below for presentation as a bill to be passed by Congress. It will be presented to Congress on September 21, International Day of Peace, 2006.
Rasur Foundation Initiative:
We propose changing the name of the Office of Prevention of Violence and Crime to an Office for Peace and subsequently changing the name of the Ministry of Justice to a Ministry for Justice and Peace. In addition to a name change, the Ministry for Justice and Peace would facilitate all Costa Rican peace efforts and collaborate in building a culture of peace.
This name change and new function would:
- Reinforce national pride in identification with peace in line with the words of President Arias, “Our goal is that Costa Rica’s name becomes synonymous with love of peace”
- Stimulate ministries and NGO’s to coordinate their peace programs with this office, thereby maximizing the use of resources for creating a culture of peace
- Stimulate ministries and NGO’s to support the Office for Peace
- Provide a coordinating point from which to offer proven methodology for building peace skills (the Peace Army Way) and other programs.
- Aid in the prevention of violence and the reduction of its financial drain on the national economy
What is the mission of a Ministry for Peace and Justice?
This ministry will facilitate national efforts toward a culture of peace in conjunction with the continual improvement of the Social Adaptation System to insure that nonviolence and justice prevail at all levels of society.
Radio UPE is a radio project for youth between 11 and 14 years of age. Its mission is to give Costa Rican youth a voice in the media to speak and learn about important issues of today’s world, including human values. In this way, Radio UPE seeks to promote a dynamic culture of peace based on dialogue, participation, respect and learning that transcends Costa Rica.