The Peaceful Fight for the Right: The Transnational NGO Effort for Education in Nicaragua

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Characterized in the past by states acting via power politics and domestic self-interest, states now take an increasingly passive role while non-state actors are becoming visible in international politics. This transnationalism ushers in a more rights-friendly society, but also allows state self-interest to infiltrate new democracies. Herein lies the struggle: the push and pull between goodwill and false pretenses, between peaceful societies and imperialism. Within education NGOs in Nicaragua, this struggle is clear. While socially important, the fledgling government has been socially neglectful, forcing education to find international outlets. The result is inherently contradictory: Nicaraguans desire a homeland that adheres to cultural and historical roots; however, Nicaraguan policy makes the absence of an international presence nearly impossible. Moreover, the undeniable result of even the most philanthropic aid is some form of cultural influence, in theoretical terms, the creation of an international society and culture centered around the moral values of rights. So is this reconciled in the face of a people who have fought to maintain their own culture? Despite the differences, a common goal remains of improving education in Nicaragua among both transnationals and citizens. By working within this common goal, and within the structures set in place, transnational actors find a niche in countries and societies foreign to the ideals of Constructivists by setting up norms desired by the populace but absent from government policies.


Alexandra Puerto




Ford Research Endowment

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