Maria Antonia Montes is a program officer for the Latin America Program at USIP.
In this role, Montes coordinates USIP’s efforts in the Latin America region, specifically focusing on Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. In Colombia, Montes supports initiatives to advance the implementation of the FARC peace accord and supports local level peacebuilding processes driven by civil society, including building capacity and developing training for Colombian women and youth leaders. Over the last five years, she has led a network of women mediators at the national level in Colombia and supports the Generation Change Fellows Program in Colombia and Venezuela. Montes advises on USIP’s Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding programs in Latin America. Montes has also engaged USIP regional teams on comparative peace processes, process design, implementation, and mechanisms for the inclusion of women, religious actors, and youth in peace processes.
Montes has written on the role of youth in peace processes and on the status of the implementation of Colombia’s FARC accord. In 2018, she served as an election observer for the Organization of American States electoral mission to Mexico.
Before joining USIP in 2015, Montes taught English at the Universidad Minuto de Dios in Bogotá, Colombia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Latin American studies from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in conflict resolution and peace studies from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.