The Central American Refugee Crisis


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DATES: August 12-16 2020

COST: $1,500



Join us in El Salvador to examine the history of Central America and the role the United States in the region. What was the role of the United States in the various civil wars of Central America? How did the violence in Central America transition from more traditional wars to generalized violence in the forms of gang and state violence? How does these new kinds of violence drive mass migration and forced internal displacement?

By examining these questions through the lens of human rights, we can better understand and respond to the Central American refugee crisis. This course will allow us engage directly with local communities and learn about the history of human rights in the region. With a better understanding of the historical roots of violence and injustice, we can improve our ability to teach about Central America, migration and human rights in our classrooms.


What to expect:

  • Deepen your understanding of the human rights framework to understand injustice

  • Study the historical roots of injustice in Central America

  • Analyze the causes of migration and internal displacement in Central America through formal research and the community testimonies

  • Discuss the responses to this crisis and potential approaches to prevention

  • Collaborate with colleagues in the development of curriculum and lesson plans to introduce human rights and migration to students

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Submit an application and join us in El Salvador!

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Why study human rights?

We believe every human being is inherently equal in rights and dignity. This belief in human rights provides both an ideal to strive for and a strategy for moving towards this ideal. The human rights framework provides us with a way of understanding conflict and poverty in the world as violations of human rights, rooted in inequality and discrimination. This framework also outlines an approach to responding to injustice by empowering people to participate in their own development and advocate for human rights. The Global School empowers participants to understand and apply this approach in their own lives, work, and promotion of human rights.

What does my Global School tuition include?

Lodging, transportation during the seminar, three meals a day, coordination and logistics, interpretation and trip guide, workshop leaders and speakers, and activities in communities. The tuition also includes a contribution to the Salvadoran participant scholarship fund.

Your tuition does NOT include: Additional food, beverages, souvenirs, alcohol, airfare, $12 tourist visa, or any activities outside of our planned itinerary.

When is my Global School tuition due? Are there payment plans available?

Unless otherwise noted, $500 dollars are due by the registration deadline to reserve your space, and the remaining amount is due 1 month (30 days) before the start date. If you are unable to make the payments by the deadlines, please email to discuss payment plan options.

Travel: When should I arrive in El Salvador? Where does the seminar take place?

When arranging travel, plan to arrive on the first day of the seminar and leave on the last day. Typically, we schedule an orientation the evening of the first day, but have no other programming on the first or last day. You are welcome to arrive early or leave late if you want to do activities outside of the seminar itinerary, and we can schedule extra nights in the guest house for an additional fee.

The seminars typically take place in and around San Salvador, El Salvador. There is one commercial airport in El Salvador: the Oscar Arnulfo Romero Memorial Airport (SAL), so plan on arriving at and departing from that airport. Upon arrival, a taxi will pick you up from the airport and drive you to the guest house. The journey to the city usually takes 45 minutes, but may take longer if there is a lot of traffic.

What kind of accommodations will we stay in during a Global School Seminar?

Your lodging in El Salvador will be single rooms in a three star hotel, safe and with hot water and Wi-Fi. These conditions are significantly more comfortable than a typical Global School seminar, during which we usually stay in a comfortable but modest guest house. When possible, we can arrange for family members to stay together. In your application you can note any specific needs (medical, dietary or otherwise), and we will accommodate these needs as best we can. Additionally, your seminar may involve visits to rural and poor communities with very basic living conditions (i.e. outdoor toilets, no running water), and may require long walks or bus rides under high heat.

Are refunds available if I can’t attend a seminar? What if Cristosal cancels a seminar?

All participant cancellations and refund requests must be submitted in writing to Cristosal. Group cancellation notices and refund requests received prior to one month before trip departure will be issued a full refund. There is no refund for groups that cancel after one month prior to departure. Individual cancellation notices and refund requests received prior to one month before trip departure will be issued a full refund. There is no refund for participants who cancel less than thirty days prior to departure, unless the cancellation is due to family emergencies or medical reasons. In that case, Cristosal will work with the person to issue a partial refund or transfer the trip fee for up to one year. Cristosal reserves the right to cancel a trip for a safety or security reasons, and will attempt to make alternative arrangements for the trip before cancelation. If Cristosal cancels a trip, a total refund will be given.

Who can participate in the Global School?

Seminars are for anyone interested in participating in processes for change locally and globally. Our courses can serve as platforms for team building, skills building, complements to academic study, and continuing education or professional development programs. Seminars are classified according to level of intensity as follows:

  • Level 1 Seminars (Introductory) assume basic familiarity with El Salvador and/or human rights, and introduce Salvadoran history, human rights, and the listed topic.
  • Level 2 Seminars (Intermediate) assume intermediate familiarity with El Salvador and/or human rights. These seminars will review the Salvadoran context, but emphasize deeper theoretical knowledge and more advanced practical application.
  • Specialized Seminars are geared toward a specific field or population, providing opportunities for professionals to become more effective human rights advocates

Do I need to speak Spanish to participate in a seminar?

There is no language requirement for participation. All courses include interpretation between English and Spanish as needed, and our methodology is designed to foster meaningful intercultural interactions across language barriers.

What can I expect to gain from a Global School Seminar?

We design Global School courses to pair human rights theory with direct experience through field visits and workshops. Participants will gain both a solid grounding in theory and practical tools to be advocates and defenders of human rights. The mutual participation of North Americans with local Salvadorans interested in the same theme provides rich, intercultural perspectives unique to Global School courses.

Why El Salvador?

Whether your interests lie in Latin America or elsewhere, El Salvador is a compelling setting in which to study human rights, community development, human mobility and migration, and violence and peacebuilding. Its recent tragic history of grave human rights violations, and inspiring resistance and progress toward greater freedom are powerful testimonies to our ability to effect social change and serve as models to look at human rights challenges in our world today. Located at the center of the American continents, El Salvador is a global crossroads, offering a unique perspective on how our interconnectedness and global relationships affect vulnerable populations.

Is El Salvador safe for foreign travelers?

Cristosal has 15 years of experience safely hosting groups of North Americans in El Salvador. Most people find El Salvador to be a beautiful country and Salvadorans to be inspiring and extraordinarily welcoming hosts. We do ask that participants abide by Cristosal’s security guidelines, in order to reduce the risk that you would be affected by any type of crime or incident, including petty theft.

Check out our Safety and Health Guidelines for our recommendations on how to minimize your risk while in El Salvador and get the most out of your time with us.

What immunizations should I get before I come?

Before visiting El Salvador, have all routine vaccinations up-to-date. While we take substantial precautions to ensure all food and drink is healthy and uncontaminated, it may be a good idea to get Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations, though they aren't required. Risk of contracting malaria or rabies are relatively low in El Salvador, but the Center for Disease Control does recommend that some travelers get vaccinated. We recommend bringing bug spray and not playing with stray dogs in the street to reduce this risk as much as possible. See the Center for Disease Control's website for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on vaccines.