I’ve written here in the past about the Winds of Peace vision of a “Synergy Center” in Nicaragua. I’ve described a facility owned and operated by a U.S. college or university but partnered with the Foundation to access its research and experiences with rural development, its connections with grassroots Nicaraguan organizations, its history with the University of Central America (UCA) and its activities as a funder within the country. We continue to refine the vision and search for the right education partner in the U.S.
In the process, we’ve shared the concept with lots of folks, both in the U.S. and Nicaragua, seeking to fully consider all of the cultural, social, national and financial aspects of such an initiative: the undertaking requires us to do a great deal more than simply provide funding for a building. To be done effectively, the Synergy Center demands careful and comprehensive thinking about the needs and the expectations of all parties, with special reflection about Nicaraguan context. Upon hearing the Synergy Center concept, interested parties have been intrigued and energized by the idea, recognizing intuitively the benefits of such a collaboration, whether in Nicaragua or anywhere else in this very complex and conflicted world. The Synergy Center is seen as a bridge among people; there are never too many bridges.
Given the Foundation’s interest in sharing the vision and spurring thought and comment about its intentions, the Foundation’s Nicaragua Director Mark Lester focused on it during a breakout session on November 8 at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C. The topic of Mark’s presentation consisted of the rationale behind the Synergy Center concept and how it fits intricately with the call for all of us to be seekers and creators of justice in the world. The forum is an ambitious one, and Mark’s contribution is a clear statement of the Synergy Center’s keystone ideas and purposes.
Due to our periodic mentions here about the Center and its possibilities, I’ve included a YouTube link to Mark’s presentation. It takes about 45 minutes to watch, but maybe it’ll give you a sense of a new bridge being built just as so many others seem to be crumbling around us….