The Practice of Liberation Theology, Education, and Social Justice in Brazil

This series of videos describes the practice of Liberation theology over the past two decades in a neighborhood on the outskirts of a Brazilian city in the Northeast.  It is relevant to those who are interested in social movements in Brazil, their history, and also for those interested in Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy, as many of Freire’s ideas came out of Liberation theology as it was practiced in Brazil’s northeast.

Part 1 – In this first video, Bira takes us through the spiritual underpinnings of Liberation theology and the establishment by missionaries of a Basic Ecclesial Community.  Many social-justice movements in Brazil were spawned in these communities, including some that turned into political parties, and others that turned into militant reform movements.

Part 2- In this second video, Bira describes the housing project, Cajazeiras – its creation, its exclusion, and the dynamic interaction between those in the apartments with basic sanitation, and those in the rapidly expanding favelas around them. He introduces the missionaries Padre Luis Lintner and Pina Rabbiosi, the founders of Casa do Sol, and describes his initial formative interactions with the priest, who brought Liberation theology to the neighborhood. Finally, he situates the Casa do Sol in the context of the community of Cajazeiras.

Part 3 – In this clip, Bira describes in more detail the programs of the Casa do Sol and its use of art in the social context.  In the 1990s there was an “explosion” of NGOs in Brazil, which helped form the foundation of the quest for social justice there.  Much of their work was done with youth, through art and sports.

Part 4 – Bira in this clip articulates the positionality of Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy with Liberation theology, the Casa do Sol Itself, the Movimento Sem Terra (Landless Movement), and a culture of peace, justice, and social struggle in Brazil.  He also describes the tragedy that was visited upon the Casa do Sol a few years after its inauguration.

Part 5 – In this final clip, we wrap up the conversation.  Bira speaks about the current political turmoil in Brazil, about corruption, and about the ongoing quest for social justice.


Interview of Bira Azevedo by Andrew Della Rocca

Translated and subtitled by Andrew Della Rocca

For Dr. Arthur Romano at George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution






Investigating Identities

Introduction and Background

The following lesson plan was used by a group of Conflict Analysis and Resolution Master’s and PhD Candidates for a two hour event on the George Mason University Fairfax Campus with approximately 15-20 undergraduate students. The students all came voluntarily, but most were studying Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Global Affairs, and Communications.

Enduring Understanding:The role of identity and how it works for or against us in the world

Essential Questions: How do our multiple identities impact our experiences in life?

Learning Objectives


  • Students will discover the myriad identities that they possess
  • Students will discover how they connect with different people through different identities, and not all identities are those propagated in media and popular culture.
  • Students will discover how identities fit in Marie Dugan’s Nested Model, and how it’s complicated to hold multiple identities within multiple levels of systems.



Time Needed

Total: 2-3 hours


Intro and Identity Maps (1+ hour)
Nested Model Mapping Activity (1+hour)

Materials Needed

Index Cards
Dry erase markers/board
Computer Paper
Masking tape


1). Welcome everyone into the space

2). Explain the activity:

  • The goal is to create a visual map of all the identities you hold. You may put your name on it, or not if you choose to remain anonymous–either is fine, the point is to see what identities you hold.
  • Using the notecard you received, write down the most important identity you hold and place it in the box/container
  • Once you’re finished, grab a piece of tape and stick your map up on the wall somewhere in the room.
  • Grab a sheet of stickers from the front table. When you’re ready, go around to each map and put a sticker next to different identities that you hold on other people’s maps.
  • Once you’re finished, grab a seat somewhere in the circle for our discussion.

3). Break into discussion

  • What does it feel like to see other people’s identity maps?
  • General impressions?
  • What was difficult about this?
  • Were there identities presented that you were surprised to see?
  • What can we say about identities that are traditionally marginalized?
  • What is conducive to creating safe spaces to talk about identity?
  • What about conflicting identities? How do we hold multiple at once? What is saliency?

4). Transition to box identities and nested model mapping

5). Have facilitator hold box, and have 3-4 participants choose an notecard without looking

6). One by one, have the participants with notecards go up to the board and have the audience help them place where the identity goes within the nested model. Discuss as the participant is placing the identity why it should go there.

7). Debrief Questions

  • Was your identity picked to be placed within the model? If so, how did it feel? If not, how did it feel?
  • How is this model representative of society?
  • What do you feel is missing? Under-represented? Why might this be?
  • How could this model be useful when thinking about how we interact with one another?
  • Overall, what did you think of this activity?

8). Closing: Metta Meditation–send love/positive energy to appreciate everyone’s willingness to participate at whatever level of depth they decided today. Discussing identities can be difficult because it is such a vulnerable, and sometime painful, topic. To continue processing and moving forward in this work, we need to be willing to open up and discuss what certain identity experiences hold. Facilitators thank everyone for coming.

Violencia y sus representaciones.

El papel de la fotografía desde los estudios de paz y conflicto

Esta es una serie de cuatro cápsulas donde se reflexiona sobre el papel del fotoperiodismo de guerra y su capacidad, de la mano de narrativas que pongan al centro la dignidad humana vulnerada por la violencia, para introducir nuevas concepciones sobre el daño de la violencia y las relaciones de poder que la permiten y perpetúan.

Primera Parte

Segunda Parte

Tercera Parte

Cuarta Parte