Nicaragua: Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society
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Examine contemporary Nicaragua, particularly the development of Nicaraguan social and political movements, in the context of recent Central American revolutionary movements and US-Nicaragua relations.
Students have the unique opportunity to:
- Hear firsthand from protagonists of the Sandinista Revolution and the Contra war
- Interact with Nicaraguan youth who are re-assuming a role as political protagonists
- Experience the process of reconciliation firsthand, particularly during the program’s rural homestay in an agricultural cooperative in Matagalpa
- Visit women’s centers and interview architects of Nicaragua’s autonomous feminist movement
- Interact with inactive members of Managua youth gangs at the Center for Prevention of Violence
- Partner with Salvadoran youth at a community-run radio station
Managua (program base)
During the first seven weeks of the program, students live with host families in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua and the country’s largest city, with more than one million inhabitants. Managua is known as the city where the streets have no names. While at times this might be challenging, students learn to navigate the city’s streets through historic reference points. As Nicaragua’s economic and political center, Managua offers a wide variety of cultural offerings. In Managua, students begin language instruction and thematic coursework focused on topics such as:
- The traditions of struggle, strategies for social change, and organizational experiences accumulated by the Nicaraguan people throughout their history
- The role, achievements, and challenges of Nicaraguan civil society
- Defining characteristics of the historical relations between Nicaragua and the US
- Primary characteristics of the variety of economic models applied in Nicaragua in the last 30 years and the obstacles Nicaragua faces with respect to development
Engage with academic, professional, and community experts
Students learn from Nicaraguan policymakers and governmental officials, NGOs and members of Nicaraguan civil society, peace and conflict experts in the Nicaraguan context, Nicaraguan historians, and community leaders.
Resources and partners typically include:
- The Universidad Centroamericana (UCA)
- The Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones sobre la Salud (CIES)
- The Centro de Estudios Internacionales (CEI)
- The Instituto Martin Luther King at the UPOLI
- The Centro de Prevencion de la Violencia (CEPREV)
- Former leaders in the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional and the Resistencia Nicaragüense
Intensive language instruction in Spanish
Students on this program receive 45 class hours of instruction in Spanish with an emphasis on speaking, reading, and writing skills. Formal instruction is augmented by further language practice in the homestays, during lectures, and on excursions.
Independent Study Project
In the final month of the program students complete an Independent Study Project (ISP), which provides each student an opportunity to pursue original research on a community, situation, or topic related to Nicaraguan domestic or foreign policy, socioeconomic development, civil society, conflict transformation, or other relevant topic. With close guidance from the academic director, each student selects an ISP advisor from among the wide array of researchers and professionals affiliated with the program. The ISP is conducted at a location in Nicaragua appropriate to the project.
Sample ISP topics include:
- Case study of a rural agricultural cooperative
- Organizing women in rural areas
- Governmental and nongovernmental promotion of citizenship
- Youth participation in promoting social change
- Conflict resolution and reconciliation
- Decentralization and local autonomy
Many of the topics selected by SIT Nicaragua students are highly topical themes on the current Nicaraguan national agenda and are important in both theoretical and practical terms.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Managua
Language Study: Spanish
Prerequisites: 3 semesters Spanish Read more...
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