Here in Colombia it is common for professionals to pursue "Diplomados." Ranging from a variety of topics, these are like a post-graduate certifications. Last spring a colleague forwarded me an email announcement about one called "Methods of Psychosocial Accompaniment for Victims of Political Violence, with specific emphasis in torture, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.¨ It was sponsored by reputable organizations in the field, and with only one day to respond before the deadline, I decided to submit my application. I was thrilled to discovered that they accepted both my colleague and me.
This was a series of courses over 120 hours at the National University of Colombia. While the work load and content was difficult, I moved back into the academic scene with a comfortability that allowed me to feel relaxed, confident, and knowledgeable. My classmates were very friendly and accepting of my poor Spanish. They worked hard to try and understand me instead of dismissing me when they did not understand. I thought the academic content was stimulating and prompted discussions, both intimate and intellectual that helped me put some of the work we do into a better context for understanding and analysis.
I left my last day there full of ideas, loaded with resources, and happy to have made some new Colombian friends, all of whom have devoted their lives to the healing of their country. Blessed be.