Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Unity Park: Building Peace Together

Project #
University of Oklahoma
  • Juan Sebastian Galindo
  • Jessica Ladd

Unity Park

Jessica Ladd and Juan Galindo worked with many local constituencies to build a neighborhood park and offer hundreds of children, young adults, and even elders a healthy and safe outdoor recreational area in the slums of Cartagena, Colombia.

Developing an empty plot of land designated to them by the local government, the students worked with local foundations, corporations, the University of Cartagena’s medical school, the Institute of Recreation, and local community members to ensure the success of the park. Five sections surrounded the land allocated for the park,
each ruled by a different gang. While cause for concern at first, the community came together and embraced the idea of the park with support from the first days of construction with a spontaneous “Peace Walk,” with more than 200 children and family members marching to celebrate peace and the new park.

The park will not only serve as a recreational area for games of soccer and softball, but will also be a place where the community can come together for music and workshops and other activities. The medical school at the University of Cartagena has already provided a bus of doctors, dentists, and social workers to provide checkups and workshops in the park. The mayor’s office is so assured by the potential of the park that they have promised to build a police station nearby to help keep the area safe for all.