Education for Action: Montclair State in Nicaragua

Photo by Mike Peters

Team Nicaragua members Jill Vanderhook, Andy Kessler-Cleary and Imad Ibrahim talk with school children in El Regadio, Nicaragua.

Motivated by a desire to create change in their communities and the world, 13 Montclair State students recently traveled to Nicaragua on a 10-day educational mission to learn about the political, social and economic conditions there, and about the impact that U.S. policies and businesses have on developing nations.

Led by Jhon Velasco, director of Montclair State’s Center for Non-Violence and Prevention Programs (CNVPP) and the Reverend Ann Ralosky, Protestant Chaplain for Campus Ministry, the delegation visited hospitals, factories and schools and met with Nicaraguan economists, environmentalists and community leaders among others. The itinerary also included a trip to a nature reserve and a two-night home stay with local families in a rural northern community.

With a theme of “Education for Action,” the focus of the mission was to help the delegation understand the conditions in Nicaragua and other developing nations—and the underlying policies and forces that sustain them—so that upon returning, the students could take action to create change. The change is already underway with some of the students working towards assuring that imported products sold on campus are fair trade products and other students developing a lecture series to present to the University community.

A great success, the trip was a powerful experience for all members of the delegation and even a life-changing experience for some. Plans are now underway for a possible return trip to Nicaragua in the future or perhaps one to Bolivia.

See a multimedia presentation about the Nicaragua trip.

Read the blog entries from Nicaragua.