This is the final post in a four part blog series, "Peacebuilding and Spirituality in El Salvador: Exploring Appreciative Inquiry methodology".

Peace tree in El Salvador

I was grateful for the opportunity to study with Chencho and experience how he uses Appreciative Inquiry (AI) methodology in his peace work. Here are three benefits I see in using AI as a framework for the peace movement:

1. It incorporates Chencho’s belief and emphasis on the positive in people

Chencho sees the best in people and he has adapted the first step of AI methodology to help participants in the Peace Movement see the best in themselves as well. This is particularly important because many people he works with have been marginalized and excluded for generations.[1] He connects people to their sense of self, their stories and their community. By making this connection and using it as the basis for future change and development, change will comes from a place of joy with a deep personal commitment.[2]

2. It enables positive transformation

Chencho’s approach to peace is to help people grow and move forward with a focus on what is positive in their hearts. The Mesoamerica Peace Movement uses this approach to develop and bring self-sufficiency to people who traditionally have not had a voice. AI’s 4-D Cycle provides a framework for this to happen through education and training that connects people to their positive values and use this to plan for the future.

3. It extends the peace movement into our lives

Chencho used AI methodology throughout our time together. He encouraged us to use AI to reflect on our own experiences, the experiences of others and the stories and myths that are part of our culture. AI provides a framework to extend the peace project out of the workshop setting and into our lives. This opens us all to the possibility to achieve peace as defined by the peace movement: "… the constant recreation of the harmony between God and humans, among human beings, and between human beings and the Earth".[3]


[1] Jose “Chencho” Alas, Peacebuilding and Spirituality in El Salvador, University of Toronto, La Libertad, El Salvador, 16 May, 2013.

[2] Jose “Chencho” Alas, Peacebuilding and Spirituality in El Salvador, University of Toronto, La Libertad, El Salvador, 19 May, 2013.

[3] Mesoamerica Peace Movement, “Peace Projects,” Mesoamerica Peace Movement (accessed May 28, 2013).