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A Bold Peace

A group of people holding a banner that reads “I love my country without militaries” in a public square

Matthew Eddy
2016 | 89 minutes
Country of Production: USA
Country Featured: Costa Rica
Director in Attendance

Costa Rica disbanded its military 70 years ago and directed its resources toward education, health, and the environment. Since then it has earned the number one spot in the Happy Planet Index, a ranking of countries based on measures of environmental protection and the happiness and health of its citizens. Surrounded by war elsewhere in the Americas, how has the government of Costa Rica managed to put the happiness of its people first?

Co-presented by Cinema Tropical


Resilience in Motion | In Their Own Words

“A Bold Peace shows how a set of cultural norms and traditions that lean heavily towards peaceful ideals and nonviolent conflict resolution can serve to orient, inspire, and sustain the leaders, institutions, and civil society within a nation. The film explores questions about the degree to which one nation’s policies, primarily Costa Rica’s decision to abolish their military, might be a model for other nations. And, the film invites questions about the degree to which a nation can sustain unique cultural norms, even in the face of international pressures like globalization, as well as other factors like regional differences within a nation. But the issues at stake are not just about resilient ideas and values. The film presents evidence of material, structural, and institutional reasons why Costa Rica has sustained peaceful and democratic traditions over the past 70 years—as we see in their domestic politics as well as their international relations, in their commitment to demilitarization, diplomacy, international organizations, and international law. Costa Ricans argue that their country is unique and uniquely resilient in its devotion to peaceful, and at times, visionary ideals. As Christiana Figueres says in our film, ‘We just have boldness baked into our cultural and political DNA.’ Similarly, one of Costa Rica’s presidents, Luis Solis, says in our film, ‘The ultimate attitude of the country against armamentism, against the existence of an army, has to do with the process of sedimentation of values that have occurred since 1949, through this educational system. The Costa Ricans in general are adamant against the military. Again and again you find the limit between war and peace, between recreating the armed force and not doing it, in those profoundly grounded values of not having an armed force.’ ”

– Matthew Eddy | Director, A Bold Peace