Universal Responsibility, Peace, Sustainability and Education
Who is Abelardo Brenes?
Abelardo Brenes is a retired professor of psychology at the University of Costa Rica and the National University of Costa Rica (1993-2004). He is also a founding director of the Master’s Programme in Peace Education at the University for Peace (2002-2006). Some of his publications include: Earth Charter Values as a Foundation for Integral Education (1999), An Integral Approach to Education for Peace (2001), The Earth Charter Principles: Source for an Ethics of Universal Responsibility (2002), An Integral Model of Peace Education (2004), and Educación para la paz y la Carta de la Tierra (Peace Education and the Earth Charter) (2006). Brenes was a member of the Earth Charter Drafting Committee. He has a PhD. in Psychology from the University of Birmingham, England.
Dr. Brenes commends the quality, breadth and multiplicity of the Earth Charter, and he believes that its core of ethical principles is the most relevant to our times. As our generation’s challenge lies in the cultural shift to overcome egocentrism, Dr. Brenes calls attention to universal responsibility, which resembles a bridge connecting human rights, duties and obligations. He explains how responsibility is a sense of consciousness, an awareness, and a willingness to act. He also elaborates on peace and sustainability as organic, holistic, and complex concepts. They are so deeply interrelated that Peace Education and Education for Sustainable Development become identical in Dr. Brenes’ opinion.
Questions and Themes Addressed in this Episode
- Personal highlights in the Earth Charter drafting process.
- What is the relevance of the Earth Charter to current times?
- What is “universal responsibility” and “differentiated responsibility”?
- How is the notion of “peace and nonviolence” articulated in the Earth Charter and how does creating a “Culture of Peace” look like through the lens of the Earth Charter?
- How was the Peace Education Programme at the University for Peace developed? How was the Earth Charter utilized in the process?
- Comment on the meaning of “Education for Peace” and “Education for Sustainable Development. What is their relationship?
- An overview of the publications: Earth Charter Values as a Foundation for Integral Education (1999) and Educación para la paz y la Carta de la Tierra (Peace Education and the Earth Charter) (2006).
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