So what does one do when on sabbatical? I can’t speak for others, but can tell you a bit about mine. My husband (who is a professor of Sociology at the University of Hartford) and I were fortunate enough to succeed in arranging sabbaticals for the same semester and so decided to spend our sabbatical in Costa Rica. My primary objective for the semester was to complete the draft chapters of a book I am working on with my co-authors Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer (both at the New School University in New York) on a methodology to monitor countries’ compliance with their obligations of result under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR. My husband is involved in creating a minor in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hartford, and his objective was to enrich his background in these areas. We affiliated with the University of Peace, UPEACE. UPEACE is a United Nations University dedicated to providing education, training and research related to the United Nations’ goal of promoting worldwide peace and security. It offers eight interdisciplinary MA programs in areas related to peace and security, including one on international law and human rights, my interest.
UPEACE is situated just outside of Ciudad Colón about 15 miles southwest of San José, so we rented an efficiency apartment in Ciudad Colón. Our affiliation with UPEACE enabled us to interact with faculty (and students) from all over the world with interests similar to ours through seminars, brown bags, and informal meals and gatherings. It also gave us access to their library. Both factors facilitated our work. TheInter-American Institute for Human Rights, IIHR, (the research and education body charged with promoting and strengthening respect for human rights as set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights) is also located in San José and provided me with additional networking opportunities. Beyond the enrichment gained through our affiliation with UPEACE and interactions with the IIHR, I succeeded in drafting four chapters of my book. And yes, work time was punctuated by several rainforest hikes, white water rafting trips, and beach trips. As the saying goes, “All work and no play…,” and how could one possibly resist Costa Rica’s natural riches?