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GUIDING PRINCIPLES

 

    1. Consider the people as potential resources, not as problems
    2. Develop human potential through a proper education that acknowledges and promotes human nobility
    3. Work for a development that is not conceived as "Modernization"
    4. Engage in the search for pertinent knowledge
    5. Avoid offering "pre-packaged" solutions
    6. Recognize the need for endogenous structures in the region that would connect it to corresponding external structures

1. Consider the people as potential resources, not as problems

The populations with which FUNDAEC works are not perceived according to the visions common in projects of social action—as masses of undernourished people, overwhelmed by problems and needs. For FUNDAEC, the people are irreplaceable resources in a self-sustaining process of change; the challenge is to find methods that allow them to fully express this potential in all its dimensions.

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2. Develop human potential through a proper education that acknowledges and promotes human nobility

Dominant ideologies, while praising the human being abundantly, tend to ultimately reduce him or her to an object of manipulation by either an unjust market or a deified state, to an insatiable pleasure-seeking consumer of goods, or an untiring participant in power struggles. This has led to a worldwide crisis in the very conception of the nature of the human being and society. Without entering into ideological and religious details, the group reached a common understanding of what was identified as the two interacting aspects of human nature.


Student from the Norte del Cauca Region.

The first, shared with the animal kingdom, is the product of the process of material evolution with survival as its basic objective. Although useful and necessary, if left to its own, this nature tends to show forth the characteristics of a lower existence, cruelty, ego, and violence. These characteristics, which in the animal world cannot be labeled as either good or bad, can be overcome, however, if man’s true and spiritual nature, with infinite potentialities for qualities such as love, justice, and generosity, is allowed to develop and rule over the first.

In spite of all the manifestations of cruelty and injustice in the world, through a proper educational process, the spiritual nature of every human being can flourish and a prosperous and advanced civilization can come into existence. Through its programs, FUNDAEC seeks to contribute to this new vision of human nature.

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3. Work for a development that is not conceived as “Modernization”

Development defined in terms of certain patterns of “modernization” seems to refer exactly to those processes which promote the domination of man’s material ambitions over his spiritual goals. One of the manifestations of this type of progress, and this unbalanced obsession with industrialization is the accelerated disintegration of rural life witnessed during the past few decades. The analysis of the existing rural problems and the historical evolution of development efforts in the post war era convinced the founders of FUNDAEC that this false version of modernization is not only a goal unattainable by the majority of humanity but also one that is undesirable, and that the misery that reigns in rural areas and the slums of many cities is nothing but a logical consequence of the bankruptcy of dominant social ideologies. FUNDAEC’s development programs are carried out in the context of a search for a scientific and technologically modern society, but one that will base its educational, economic, administrative, political, and cultural structures on the concept of the integral nature of the human being and not only on his or her material needs.

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4. Engage in the search for pertinent knowledge

The capacity of a people to participate in the generation and application of knowledge is an essential component of the development process. When the appropriate structures for such a participation are absent, knowledge is easily managed for the benefit of the privileged in the global society, responding only to the interests of the dominant social ideologies which are basically neglectful of the needs and aspirations of “campesino” populations.


CUBR students doing labwork outside
The villagers of the world receive a technology that is the result of scientific progress applied to the conditions of larger farmers whose logic of production is entirely different from that of campesino societies in the process of transition and/or disintegration. In its search for such structures, FUNDAEC conceived the University for Integral Development as a social space in which two systems of knowledge, a modern one (in all its sophistication) and a traditional one, pertaining to the people of the region, would interact in a healthy way.

Research and education, the two main components of the activities of the rural university, would be carried out precisely in the context of this delicately balanced interaction of distinct knowledge systems.

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5. Avoid offering “pre-packaged” solutions

Development should not be the process of imitation of the so-called “developed” countries. With this understanding, FUNDAEC decided that it was embarking down an untrodden path. Its task, then, would be more that of scientific search than of the implementation of a blueprint with predetermined goals and objectives. Thus, while many plans of action were implemented, these were always accompanied by an element of investigation and learning.

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6. Recognize the need for endogenous structures in the region that would connect it to corresponding external structures

Rural areas need much more than the usual interventions in education, health, production, infrastructure, and organization. Throughout the world, old structures and organizations of rural people have been destroyed by the forces of modernization, but no new structures have taken their place. FUNDAEC, through the University for Integral Development, would have to pursue its goals with the understanding that all the processes of rural life—production, simple construction and repair, marketing, the development of human resources, socialization, the flow of information, adaptation and the improvement of technologies, health care and sanitation, and decision making—are in need of structures that can connect them to the corresponding structures of the political, social, economic, and cultural life of a new world order, an order that is destined to be built during this crucial stage in the history of the human race.

These aforementioned principles constitute the bedrock of FUNDAEC and its University for Integral Development’s conceptual framework. These principles can easily be found reflected in the institution’s methodologies: in teaching-learning, research, and social action.

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