Laying the groundwork for sustainable peace through Colombia’s youth

I am working as a public school teacher for the Colombian Ministerio de Educación as an Atlas Corps Fellow. I originally viewed this opportunity as a way to study a country during the implementation of a controversial peace agreement, but it has already been that, and so much more. Thanks to my brilliant students, I have gained an insider’s perspective on what it is like to transition into adulthood in a country emerging from violent conflict. As a scholar of peacebuilding with a passion for gender equality, I began to develop a gender-empowering curriculum for my students because I believe that peace cannot fully consolidate when women are not valued equally to men.

My classes just finished our module on beauty, which our text discusses as physical appearance. I elaborated by adding vocabulary about inner beauty and introduced my students to global leaders whose actions solidify the fact that beauty is often far from physical. I selected these leaders prioritizing voices of color and voices of peace. To end our module, I had my classes create “Positive Body Image Posters” and the results were bold, creative, and empowered. I am so proud to be their teacher. Here are a few of my favorite posters. They will be hung up around our school next week. Enjoy!

Mary Grace Donohoe

Mary Grace Donohoe

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