Central America


The work of the Center for Global Education in Central America began in 1981 with travel seminars designed to study the nature of the region’s political, economic, and social upheavals. With the changes brought about by globalization, the world currently faces a development crisis with large portions of the world’s population excluded from effective participation in economic and political decision making. In this context, Central America provides a unique opportunity to explore the global situation through the eyes of the “third world” and their efforts to create alternatives.

Over the years, we have developed and maintained contacts with broad sectors of society in Central America holding a variety of perspectives. These include grassroots organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and government ministries working on health, education, rural development, the environment, and alternative economic policies.

We work with the social movements of women, Indigenous peoples, peasants, students, and community-based organizations. We meet with universities, business organization, entrepreneurs, small and informal business support organizations, human rights groups, sexual rights groups, and local churches. We have contacts with international NGOs, donor organizations, multilateral banks, alternative credit organizations and other professional development workers.

We regularly meet with various political parties as well as the U.S. Embassy, USAID., local political scientists and analysts, and international journalists.

A note on accommodations:  In Nicaragua, CGE operates a study center with a patio, computer room, dining area, and shared rooms; some groups stay in this facility. For all other locations in the region, in addition to many groups in Nicaragua, lodging is provided in modest hotels and guest

Central America: Country Options


Our programs are based in the capital city of Managua but often involve travel to Matagalpa, Esteli, the Atlantic Coast, andother rural areas.

Possible Program Themes

  • Post-revolution and democratic transition
  • Civil society versus political parties
  • Health care
  • Alternative development models
  • Poverty reduction, economic growth, and human development
  • Women in post-revolutionary Nicaragua
  • Role of churches in peace, justice, sustainability, and rights for marginalized groups
  • Land tenure and agricultural issues
  • Plight of street/working children
  • Worker’ rights
  • Fair trade products
  • Micro-credit


CGE has four program staff permanently based in Nicaragua.

Costa Rica

Our programs to Costa Rica generally include time in the capital city of San Jose as well as a rural component or travel to a nature reserve.

Possible Program Themes:

  • Ecotourism and the environment
  • Sustainable development
  • Health and education as a human right
  • Migration


We do not have permanent staff based in Costa Rica. Program stafffrom El Salvador and Nicaragua design seminars to Costa Rica and accompany groups there.


Our programs are based in Guatemala City and Antigua, but usually also travel to the highlands.

Possible Program Themes

  • Human rights – Indigenous rights, workers’ rights, and children’s rights
  • Land rights
  • Globalization
  • Peace Accords
  • Post-war transition and reconciliation
  • Eco-tourism
  • Mayan history and ancient civilization
  • Mayan spirituality
  • Educational system


The Center has one program staff permanently based in Guatemala.

El Salvador

Our programs are based in San Salvador and usually include trips into rural areas.

Possible Program Themes

  • Political parties and civil society
  • Human rights
  • Gender issues
  • Environment
  • Globalization
  • Continued relevance of the martyrs of El Salvador
  • Current role of churches and liberation theology
  • Post-war mental health
  • Democracy and citizen participants
  • Immigration and family remittances
  • Natural disasters: droughts, hurricanes and earthquakes


The Center has program staff  based permanently in El Salvador.

Program Planning Checklists

Program planning checklists are available for some Central American countries, which provide more programming detail.  You may be asked to complete these checklists during the planning stage.

El Salvador Checklist

Guatemala Checklist

Nicaragua Checklist

Visit our Overview and How-To page to learn more about developing a seminar in Central America with CGE, step-by-step.