Maria Antonia Montes is a senior program specialist for Latin America and inclusive peace processes at USIP.

In this role, Montes coordinates USIP’s efforts in Colombia in support of the implementation of the FARC peace accord and supports local-level peacebuilding initiatives driven by civil society; particularly those that build capacity and develop 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 initiative and supports facilitator training in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Colombia. 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. 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.

Publications By Maria Antonia

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

Colombia War-Crime Prisoners Face Past, Plan Future

Colombia War-Crime Prisoners Face Past, Plan Future

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

By: Aubrey Cox; Maria Antonia Montes

The prisoners would be arriving soon and Adriana Combita, like a young teacher preparing to greet a new class, was nervous. This was not the first time that Combita, 26, had led a peacebuilding training with soldiers convicted of war-related crimes. But these were senior officers, commanders with master’s degrees, military officials who had lived abroad.

Type: In the Field

Education & Training; Human Rights

Colombia Peace: A Year in the Life of the New Accord with FARC

Colombia Peace: A Year in the Life of the New Accord with FARC

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

By: Steve Hege; Maria Antonia Montes

A year ago today, hundreds of joyous Colombians and world leaders gathered in the humid coastal city of Cartagena as the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a comprehensive settlement that once had seemed unattainable. But while implementation of the accord continues generally in the right direction, it is often traveling a bumpy road.

Type: Blog

Peace Processes

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