Argentina and other Latin American countries face family violence, particularly against women (e.g. “femicidio”: killing of women) and against those whose gender differs from their sex. At the same time patriarch y continues to be an accepted behaviour (“machismo”) that marginalizes girls and women. The Chair of Schools and Systems and the Campus Córdoba of the Right Livelihood College organized series of simultaneous open workshops on “Gender and Psychology”, in Spanish “Jornada sobre Género y Psicología”, to raise awareness of gender related violence. About 3,000 students participated in 89 workshops on October 3, 2017 at the National University of Córdoba. The topics of the workshops range from “family rights and gender perspective” over “roles of gender and identity in struggles for environmental justice” and “women in the public agenda: gender perspective in parliamentary proposals” to “violence and gender through cinema”. Please find a video of the workshops here.
As a reaction to the horrendous effects of the 7.1 earthquake in Mexico, fearsome hurricane Maria in the Caribbean and the political developments between the United States of America and North Korea, Prof. Raúl Montenegro started broadcasting a radio program to inform and train people on issues such as “how to be prepared for facing nuclear accidents” and “how to be sustainable and environmentally safer at home”.
This wonderful experiment of change provides “self contained issues” through short interviews and spots where Raúl and his team mention –according to the discussed topic- names, contributions and exemplary lives of RLA recipients. On Sep 20, 2017, the first inaugural participation program was broadcasted on Radio Inchin of Saldan, the first of a long list of open media, like radio Sur. Raúl thanks journalist Georgina Donalisio for having created a special space for the RLC. The inaugural broadcast issued earthquakes, technological disasters and how to be prepared for facing them. From the university, from the academia, from the Campus, the RLC team moves into the ground, seeding planters, seeds of knowledge, participation and rebellion.
“At their turn listeners, readers and viewers of the programs and spots –the people- will teach to universities, to the Campus and to so-called “experts” their own knowledge. Universities are not the unique site of knowledge: humanity is knowledge. Multilateral democratic education is the way. In a day with so much human suffering we are trying to have and to transmit a little bit of hope. Thanks to all for being part of this wonderful educative experiment”, Raúl says.
Please find the first podcast here (Spanish).
Córdoba maintains less than 3% of native dense forests, yet the current provincial government is pushing for a bill that reduces the current protected surface of native forests from 4 million hectares to only 2 million hectares. To address this important issue, the RLC Campus Córdoba organised an educational role-play on May 31, 2017, at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. Organized by Right Livelihood Award Laureate Raúl Montenegro and three Chairs of the Faculty of Psychology, more than 2,300 university students recreated a debated about the governmental plans for adopting the “bad project of law on native forests”. The role-play involved six main steps: 1) a preparatory process with active dissemination of information prior to and on the 31st May, 2) sector discussions in groups; 3) a public hearing of the groups and a discussion among panel members 4) a vote by all students participating; 5) a presentation of the winning decision, and 6) a music festival as an epilogue. For step number 2 and 3, six main groups of 200-300 students each were formed with randomly selected members. The six groups represented the “government”, “soya agriculturalists” and “parliamentarians of the political party in power” as well as the “university”, “NGOs” and the “movement of green farmers”. At the end of the role-play around 90% of the students voted against the new law.
On November 5, 2016, the RLC Campus in Córdoba hosted an open seminar with the indigenous Mbya Guarani people in the Argentinean city of Puerto Rico. More than 300 participants attended the conference to discuss about the questionable official dates of independence in Argentina and the historical impact of independence on indigenous people and communities. RLA Laureate Raúl Montenegro, head of the RLC Campus Córdoba, gave a lecture on the topic “The Mbya people transform knowledge into wisdom, the Jurua people transform knowledge in knowledge. Will we learn from each other?“.
The RLC Campus Córdoba cooperated with the Chair of Ecology and Environmental Health of the University of Córdoba to support research by postgraduate students of the Master Program “Maternal and Children Health” in the provinces of Córdoba and La Rioja.
Research was conducted in the provinces of Córdoba and La Rioja, near the Andean region. The postgraduate students detected many health threats in urban and rural areas, e.g. deleterious effects of pesticide sprays, mining, open waste deposits or the pollution of water with fluorine and arsenic. Additional threats resulting from climate change are uncontrolled fires and floods. Students discovered inadequate management of X-ray equipment in hospitals, incorrect environmental management of neonatal rooms, and incineration of hazardous waste.
RLC Córdoba is currently working on the accomplishments of two agreements.
One with the Faculty of Medicine (Master on Children and Maternal Health), whose students (wave 2016) will produce reports/research in the context of the chair of “Ecology and Health”. Most of the issues to be developed are linked with current social needs of research and practice proposals for the ground. Most of the postgraduate students are Physicians or work in the ground with vulnerable communities.
This research can be useful for health centres (e.g. public hospitals) and vulnerable communities.
The second agreement involve the German University of Kassel with the main issue of technical support of two small museums on ethnology and archaeology of the Comechingones (local) indigenous people managed by local people (Mina Clavero, West of the province of Córdoba). Such project includes descendants of the Comechingones people living in Córdoba. Through these museums we will enhance local knowledge on indigenous past (and present), and local tourism.
RLC Córdoba is also finishing a technical advice on the most polluted region of Mexico (and one of the most polluted in the World) in Apaxco Totonilco. Representatives of RLC Córdoba have been there in the ground with affected people and local organisations, in a joint work involving the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. RLC Córdoba was asked to technically produce a report on the general situation, helping them in future steps.
In June 2016, Indian laureate Vandana Shiva (RLA 1993) visited the municipality of Malvinas Argentinas (in Córdoba province), the town where Monsanto illegally started building the world’s largest plant for genetically modified maize seeds (3.5 million bags per year). Successful fights have temporarily stopped this project.
In that visit, she met RLA 2004 laureate Raul Montenegro, who has been working with the organised neighbours of Malvinas Argentinas since they started the resistance, in 2012. Together with “Malvinas lucha por la vida” (‘Malvinas fights for life’) and the citizens’ assembly, both laureates said “No to pesticides” and “Monsanto Out”.
Vandana Shiva also transmitted to Raul Montenegro her enthusiastic support to the recently founded Campus Córdoba of the Right Livelihood College (RLC) which is located in the Faculty of Psychology at the National University of Córdoba.
The RLC network is happy to announce the opening of it’s 8th RLC campus in Córdoba, Argentina.
The new RLC Campus was officially opened on April 19th 2016 at the National University of Córdoba and will serve as an exchange hub for academics and activists on questions such as human rights and social and environmental justice. The campus will be headed by Professor of Evolutionary Biology Raúl Montenegro, who is also environmental advocate and Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award in 2004.
The official inauguration of the campus was followed by a public seminar on multilateral education and criminalization of social protest in Latin America on April 20th. The discussion was led by Chair of the Board of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation Dr. Monika Griefhahn. Several other representatives from the Foundation and Colleges as well as 2002 Laureate Martín Almada were also attending the seminar. More information on the new campus can be found here, in Spanish.
The cooperation of the newly established 8th RLC campus and the National University of Cordoba, serving as host, was commenced on April 19th 2016. This collaboration will amplify the academic exchange on questions regarding human rights, social justice and environmental protection between the campus and the University. Founded in 1613, the UNC has a long history of advocating democracy and human rights with its students launching a movement for a democratisation of academic faculties in Argentina in 1918.
The UNC is home to more than 100 research centres, 25 libraries, 17 museums and 2 astronomy observatories. The RLC campus will be hosted by the University’s Faculty of Psychology which has more than 10 000 students enrolled. The RLC global network is looking forward to many exciting synergies and research projects to result from the interaction of Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award and students at the RLC Cordoba.