Virginia M. Bouvier

Senior Advisor, Inclusive Peace Processes

Virginia M. Bouvier is senior advisor for Inclusive Peace Processes. She joined USIP in January 2003 and has headed USIP’s Colombia team since 2006. She was seconded in 2012-13 to serve as a process design expert for the United Nations Standby Team of Mediation Experts. For the previous seven years, she was an assistant professor of Latin American literature and culture at the University of Maryland. From 1982 to 1989, Bouvier served as senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, where she focused on Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Bouvier has also served as a consultant and research director for the Women’s Leadership Conference of the Americas, a joint project of the Inter-American Dialogue and the International Center for Research on Women, and as a consultant for USAID, UN-Women, World Bank, Levi Strauss Foundation, Levi Strauss and Co. and the C.S. Fund. Her areas of expertise include Colombia, mediation and peace processes, conflict analysis and prevention, civil society, and gender and peacebuilding. Dr. Bouvier blogs at Colombia Calls.

She is a graduate of Wellesley College, has an MA in Spanish from the Univ. of South Carolina, and holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in Latin American studies.


  • Colombia: Construcción de la paz en tiempos de guerra (Bogotá: Editorial Universidad del Rosario, 2014).
  • Colombia: Building Peace in a Time of War (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2009).
  • “Sidelining the Spoilers,” (with George Lopez), Nov. 26, 2014,
  • “Innovations in the Colombian Peace Process,” in Mediation Perspectives 2013-2014 (Dec. 2014), Center for Security Studies/International and Security Network ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich Germany.
  • “Could Colombia’s Election Kill Its Peace Process?”, June 13, 2014.
  • “¿Se hace el camino al andar? Reflexiones sobre los mitos, retos, y oportunidades para la sociedad civil en la transformación del conflicto colombiano,” Escenarios Posconflicto en Colombia: Agenda, Oportunidades y Hoja de Ruta. Barcelona: International Catalán Institute of Peace, 2014.
  • “Ideas para la Paz,” La Bagatela: Revista de derechos humanos, Bogota, Colombia, 2013.
  • “Turning the Tables,”, November 27, 2013.
  • “Global Conflict Prevention Mechanisms and their Relevance for Latin America and the Caribbean", Pensamiento Propio [Journal of Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales/CRIES], Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2013.
  • “El proceso de Caguán y la comunidad internacional,” in Proceso de paz en Colombia, ed. Sandra Borda and Fernando Cepeda, Ecco Press/HarperCollins, 2012.
  • Civil Society Dialogues for Peace in Colombia,” in David Smock and Daniel Serwer, eds., Facilitated Dialogue: USIP’s Work in Conflict Zones (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, 2012).
  • "Crossing the Lines: Women's Social Mobilization in Latin America," in Governing Women: Women's Political Effectiveness in Contexts of Democratization and Governance Reform, edited by Anne Marie Goetz (Routledge, 2008)
  • Whose America? The War of 1898 and the Battles to Define the Nation (Praeger Press, 2002).
  • The Globalization of U.S.-Latin American Relations: Democracy, Intervention, and Human Rights (Praeger Press, 2002).
  • Women and the Conquest of California (University of Arizona Press, 2001, 2004)

Expert In the News

Articles & Analysis from this Expert

October 14, 2015

A breakthrough in peace talks last month between Colombia’s government and the country’s biggest guerrilla group cements the role of victims in the process and has been hailed as a possible model for resolving conflicts elsewhere. Yet after 50 years of violence, a political accord on how to deal with the millions victimized by the war is just the first step. Hardened, bitter memories will risk rekindling conflict. Colombian peacebuilders say the way forward depends on an effective justice system to transition from war to peace and on a national effort to recognize and honor the memories of...

September 24, 2015
Fred Strasser
February 25, 2015
Virginia M. Bouvier
November 12, 2014
Virginia M. Bouvier


October 24, 2013
Dr. Virginia M. Bouvier, senior program officer for Latin America at USIP, gave the following testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, U.S. House of Representatives
USIP is supporting a research project being undertaken by Winifred Tate, an anthropologist and former USIP Peace Scholar, to document and analyze the role of women in local community-based conflict resolution efforts in the Putumayo department of Colombia.
July 11, 2011
With the support of USIP, EQUITAS recently produced the report, “Methodological Proposals for Documenting and Searching for Missing Persons.” Based on extensive fieldwork in Antioquia and Casanare, this publication details four innovative methods of locating and identifying the disappeared: computer simulation of water flows to track bodies that have been placed in rivers, analysis of cemetery administrative records, archeological assessment of construction debris dumps and remote sensing analysis to detect clandestine cemeteries.
July 11, 2011
With a grant from USIP, Survivor Corps collaborated with two Colombian partner organizations—Corporación ConCiudadanía and the Fundación para la Reconciliación -- to develop a pilot program that would provide training, skills, practical experience, and psychosocial support for conflict survivors and ex-combatants