Youth Positive Peace workshops launch in Colombia

In the wake of the FARC peace accord, addressing peace at a subnational level will equip young leaders to affect real change in their communities

A suite of Positive Peace workshops have kicked off in Colombia.

The focus of the workshops is the role of youth as leaders of the construction of peace as Colombia focuses on transitioning out of conflict.

While the peace agreement with the leftist FARC guerrillas proposes to end a half-century of conflict, investments in Positive Peace will support the sustenance of peace.

Around 200 Rotaractors from Rotary International, Colombian university students and individuals from civil society organisations of ages between 18 and 30 will attend the workshops running from February until May this year.

“In this project, women and men as well as ethnic minorities will be present in the regions, participating in an equal manner,” said Rotaract leader of the workshop María Paula Gil.

Unique to this workshop series is the intense regional focus that will shift according to the workshop’s location.

The strengths and weaknesses of each municipality in relation to the structures, institutions and attitudes that contribute to peace will be magnified and explored, thanks to the municipality-specific focus.

The first workshop is in Ibagué. Workshops in Bogotá, Cali, Pereira and Medellín will follow.

From these regional workshops, 30 participants will be selected to take part in a Strengthening of Leaders program, providing more in-depth training for regional leaders to accompany participants in actions and projects promoting Positive Peace. PartnersGlobal and PartnersColombia, organisations with expertise in training local change leaders in peace and conflict resolution, are facilitating all trainings.

Each workshop will:

  • Enhance knowledge and skills of Positive Peace among participants to promote the building and sustaining of peace in Colombia
  • Build a broader, stronger network of young leaders who are allied, well-equipped and committed to strengthening peace in their communities
  • Equip participants with methodologies, practical tools, and frameworks to devise innovative solutions for promoting Positive Peace within their spheres of influence

The activities will be supplemented by a focus on the sustainable development goals and learning about the way peace is measured for the Global Peace Index.

This is the third series of Positive Peace workshops facilitated through the IEP-Rotary partnership, following successful workshops in Uganda and Mexico.

Peace in Colombia

The Institute for Economics & Peace’s research has found Colombia is the least peaceful country in South America and ranks 145/163 on the Global Peace Index. At the time the 2018 Global Peace Index was published, the peace agreement with FARC appeared to be holding. Despite growing disillusion, improvements were made in the incarceration rate, political stability and the frequency of violent demonstrations.

In terms of Positive Peace, between 2005 and 2014, Colombia was the country with the fourth largest improvement.

However, severe challenges remain for Colombia, including perceptions of criminality, access to small arms, violent crime, homicides and internally displaced people.


Read more about Colombia:

Colombia’s rural radio stations are a key to peace

State capacity and the unintended consequences of peace

Building effective transnational justice policies in Colombia