Colombia’s 2016 peace accord promises not only to end a half-century of bloodshed, but also to be a model for improved peace processes worldwide for its inclusion of marginalized groups such as women and war victims. In the arduous phase of implementing the accord, a critical constituency is youth. USIP and Colombia’s University of Cartagena webcast a forum live from Cartagena on March 24 with Colombian youth leaders and students working toward post-war reconciliation. A panel of peacebuilders discussed with them the growing roles for youth leaders in healing violent conflicts in Colombia and globally.

Colombia now faces new struggles to implement a peace settlement that required years to negotiate—and toward which the United States invested billions of dollars. The critical role of youth in building and sustaining peace has been shown through many peace processes and recognized in a 2015 U.N. Security Council Resolution.

USIP is training and supporting Colombian youth to lead in building that peace through its Generation Change Fellows Program, which works in a dozen countries facing violent conflict. The Generation Change Fellows in Colombia originate from nearly half of the country’s 32 departments, many from communities that suffered heavily from the violent conflict between the government and the FARC rebels. On March 24, these youth leaders joined University of Cartagena students studying conflict resolution to help chart a path for the critical work they must now take up.

Continue the conversation #GenChangeColombia


Luis Felipe Botero
Technical Advisor, Territorial Peace Team for the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace 

Juliana Antía García
Participation and Peacebuilding Advisor, United Nations Development Program (UNDP-Colombia) 

Rebecca Ojedele
Generation Change Fellows Program, Nigeria 

Aubrey Cox, Moderator
Senior Program Specialist, USIP

graffiti in Bogota
Photo Courtesy of Annie Forman

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