As part of our research, we have been studying different levels of conflict, what are their causes and possible consequences.

I live in a 8’000.000 peoples city, once called the Athens of America. I truly love my city – its full of life and warmness. Of course every place has good memories, and I have built mine in Bogotá for 23 years.

But, as much as I love my city, I am also able to identify what I don’t like about it. Unfortunately we have a city where the traffic is crazy, the public transportation is somehow chaotic and the drivers do not care about pedestrians.

Sounds bad right? And many of you could be wondering, why do you love this?

I love this because for the years I grew up in  Bogotá, I see that we had the opportunity to change the mindset of an entire country. When I was a kid, I might not remember every “crazy” thing that was done. But now, as a grown up, I believe many people have had a great positive impact in my generation.

Antanas Mockus, is one of these who have made a great impact. He was the major of Bogotá twice (from 1995 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2003). Specially in the first period he created several measures under the objetive of making the habitants of the city aware of “civism”.

This means in the dictionary the actions, attitudes and behaviour of a good citizen.

He started a race against corruption and he replaced all the administrative positions in Bogotá with the best academics in town, instead of regular politicians.

Before starting new construction projects, he was able to clean the city finances and he made it his mission to educated the people using non-traditional ways.

An example was: Instead of having the police to “fight” against drivers for them to respect the traffic law, he hired mimes that controlled the traffic and taught the drivers  how they could respect others on the road.



Picture taken from: Ciudadpedestre 

He also gave the drivers red and yellow cards, so that instead of screaming and harming  others with words, they used the cards to express their disagreement with other peoples driving.

When he was major, Bogotá suffered from a possible water cut, because of the dry season in Colombia. So Mockus with his non-traditional methods, decided that instead of forcing the people and making it mandatory to save water, he could convince them of saving water, in a volunteer way. He promoted different good practices and found incredible results. This lead to a 12% water usage reduction during the time of the campaign.

I wanted to show you his example, because I believe it is great example where Mockus used non-traditional education as a way to solve conflicts. My city did have conflicts and even thought they weren’t all solved by Mockus.

He showed us that instead of using fines we could educate with mimes.

This is not traditional at all, but totally effective.

You should watch this video to understand why I think this is important, and see more examples of what he did.

Overall, I just wanted you to realice that there are many ways to solve conflicts even in huge cities. Open your mind and find other methods. Think outside the box, maybe a mime can help you.

Get inspired!