Prior to a journey south to the University for Peace in Costa Rica (L-R) Myler Wilkinson

Finding bonds through peace in Costa Rica

Rather than withdrawing from the working world, the energetic scholar is using his retirement to simply redefine what it means to work.

CASTLEGAR – It’s not surprising that former Selkirk College English instructor Myler Wilkinson’s definition of retirement is a little unorthodox. Rather than withdrawing from the working world, the energetic scholar is using his retirement to simply redefine what it means to work.

Later this month, Wilkinson will head to Costa Rica where he will teach a one-week course in transformative justice at the University for Peace. It’s the first step in a new relationship with the international university that highlights the work being done in the Selkirk College peace studies program.

“I’m very glad to do something for the college as I move into retirement,” says Wilkinson, who wrapped up a 25-year teaching career at Selkirk College at the end of last semester. “It feels good and right to keep on and not just say that’s it. I always said that I wanted to stay engaged and vital, it’s nice to still be working with the college and taking the MIR Centre [for Peace] to Costa Rica.”

The University for Peace was established by the United Nations in 1980 with the goal of providing an international institution for higher education for peace “and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.” It offers master’s degree and doctoral degree programs which have attracted students from more than 100 countries since it opened its doors.

Wilkinson helped spur the partnership which was formalized with a memorandum of understanding late last year. Selkirk College math instructor Justin Ryan mentioned to Wilkinson that his brother Ross Ryan works in the University for Peace’s communications department. Wilkinson contacted Ross and subsequently submitted an article for one of the university’s journals. Soon the correspondence turned to Wilkinson heading down to Costa Rica to teach and the partnership grew.

“By having Myler go to the University for Peace, it’s not just a piece of paper,” says Shana Rablah, the department head for Selkirk International. “Until we have people going, many international teaching and learning opportunities don’t seem to be a real possibility.”

Rablah helped put the MOU the spirit of with University for Peace together. The hope for the future is that other Selkirk College instructors can have the opportunity to teach in Costa Rica. Another area of future growth is for Selkirk College to send students to study at the Central American university.

Wilkinson’s peace studies course on transformative justice has been one of the more popular program offerings at Selkirk College. Transformative justice is a general philosophical strategy that goes beyond punishment and strives to see conflict as a more systemic issue. Rather than revenge and creating more trauma, transformative justice looks for those who commit acts to take responsibility and

moves towards harm reduction.

“Transformative justice has become a larger philosophical reality in that you are looking at systemic or structural inequities and injustices in the world,” says Wilkinson, who will have five days to teach his course. “Like, why are such a high percentage of prisoners in the United States black? Why are prisons growing at such an exponential rate? One of the answers is that they are privatized. There are structural reasons for these things to be happening.”

Wilkinson will be joined on his journey by his wife Linda, a former Selkirk College instructor and Selkirk international department head who retired in 2010 after 25 years. The couple were the main push behind starting the Mir Centre for Peace and over the years have taught elsewhere in the world (Russia, Japan, China and Austria).

Upon his return from Costa Rica, Wilkinson will debrief with Rablah and Selkirk International about his experience.

“The real benefit is to go down there and share some information, but also learn something in the process,” says Wilkinson.

Find out more about the Selkirk College peace studies program at selkirk.ca/program/peace-studies.

 

Just Posted

Firefighters extinguish early-morning blaze in Rossland

Neighbour alerted family of four, no injuries reported

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

Senior curling provincials setting up for exciting finish

Standings tight as Senior curling teams push for provincial playoffs

Police share more details on occupants and suspicious van in Fruitvale

Vehicle in question offered young girl a ride to school on Feb. 19

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

B.C. police watchdog clears officers in fatal hostage situation outside Cranbrook

A woman died from carbon monoxide poisoning after taking two minors hostage last fall

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read