With Colombian public support waning for the peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the peace process can be strengthened by finding ways to engage a broader set of civil society stakeholders.  One important group excluded so far, the Afro-Colombian population, is working to have its needs and proposals heard at the peace table.  How can Afro-Colombians and other excluded groups enhance their participation in the process, and what are the risks if they cannot? The U.S. Institute of Peace held an event on May 26 that answered these questions in the Colombia Peace Forum series.

Columbia Forum
Pictured from left to right, Carlos Rosero, Aura Dalia Caicedo, Javier Marrugo and Marino Cordoba

The 37th round of peace negotiations opened in Havana on May 21.  The Afro-Colombian community, one of the many sectors of society not represented at the peace table, has organized a new vehicle to articulate and channel its proposals into the process.  The Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA) includes the religious community, women and youth, labor activists and people displaced by the conflict. The council also is designing ways for Afro-Colombian communities to manage the complexities they will face as Colombia implements an eventual peace agreement.  

The panel discussed recent peace initiatives of the Afro-Colombian community, the emerging role of CONPA, and the ways that the participation of ethnic communities and other excluded sectors can enhance the effectiveness of peacebuilding across the Colombian landscape. 

The event was conducted and webcast in Spanish. Simultaneous English translation was available on site.  The conversation continued on Twitter with #ColombiaPeaceForum. 


  • Virginia M. Bouvier
    Senior Advisor for Latin America Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP)
  • Marino Cordoba
    International Coordinator of CONPA and President of AFRODES
  • Aura Dalia Caicedo Valencia 
    National Network of Afro- Colombian Women
  • Javier Marrugo
    Port Workers Union of Colombia
  • Richard Moreno 
    CONPA Coordinator and Coordinator for the Inter-Ethnic Chocó Solidarity Forum (FISCH)
  • Father Obdulio Mena Palacios 
    National Afro-Colombian Conference (CNOA) 
  • Carlos Rosero
    Founder, Black Communities Process (PCN) and National Afro-Colombian Authority (ANAFRO)

Related Publications

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Maria Antonia Montes

The Afghan peace process was jumpstarted in September 2018 when President Trump appointed Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. Since then, Khalilzad has led 10 rounds of U.S.-Taliban talks, with negotiations focusing on two issues: ensuring the Taliban’s commitment to prevent transnational terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for attacks, and a U.S. military withdrawal. As the search for peace in Afghanistan continues, what lessons can be learned from other peace processes that could apply to Afghanistan? Colombia’s imperfect peace agreement with the FARC is one especially relevant international reference point for Afghanistan—we explain why.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Steve Hege on the Latest in Venezuela and Colombia

Steve Hege on the Latest in Venezuela and Colombia

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

By: Steve Hege

The crisis in Venezuela and increasing tensions between the Colombian government and the Maduro regime threaten the security of the region and the implementation of Colombia’s 2016 FARC peace accord. USIP’s Steve Hege discusses recent obstacles to implementation of that accord and how the U.S. can support a democratic transition in Venezuela.

Type: Podcast

Fragility & Resilience; Peace Processes; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Colombians Rally Online in New Movement for Peace

Colombians Rally Online in New Movement for Peace

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

By: Fred Strasser

It began with a few supporters of Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement meeting at a Bogota cultural center. That gathering, in January of this year, soon led to the creation of a WhatsApp group—a platform to discuss how to how to defend the interests of peace amid concerns about the policies of the new government. By mid-July, a spontaneous citizens movement of thousands of Colombian leaders was making its voice heard. Its objectives: to strengthen popular support for the previous government’s peace deal with the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and to support the peace process with the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action; Peace Processes

View All Publications