Established with the peace talks in 2012, the USIP-based Colombia Peace Forum produces creative analysis of Colombia’s internal armed conflict and peace initiatives that informs the thinking of policymakers and opinion leaders in the United States and Colombia. The forum convenes academics, Colombia specialists, government officials and others to provide a platform where a variety of voices, including historically marginalized groups (human rights defenders, women, ethnic minorities, etc.), can be heard.

A young girl holds a Colombian flag that reads "Peace" in front of the Congress building where Salvatore Mancusso, paramilitary leader of the supreme commander of the United Self-Defense Forces was speakingM Wednesday, July 28, 2004 in Bogota, Wednesday, July 28, 2004. Mancuso addressed lawmakers for the first time about the peace process between the AUC and the Colombian government. (Scott Dalton/The New York Times)
Photo Courtesy of The New York Times/Scott Dalton

Historical Memory and Transitional Justice: Basta Ya! Report Illuminates Issues at Crux of Colombia’s Peace Talks Breakthrough
September 30, 2015
In this day-long event, 14 scholars and activists analyzed the place of historical memory in creating a successful system of transitional justice—one that that deals with rights of victims to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.  Participants generated lessons from the experience of the Historical Memory Center and made recommendations for the anticipated truth commission to be established following a peace deal.

Ambassador William B. Taylor (USIP); Virginia M. Bouvier (USIP), Michael Reed Hurtado (Yale School of Law), Kimberly Theidon (Tufts University), David Tolbert, (International Center for Transitional Justice), Cynthia Arnson (Woodrow Wilson Center), Carlos Quesada, (International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights), David Crocker (University of Maryland), Lisa Laplante (New England Law | Boston), Andrés Suárez (National Center for Historical Memory), Martha Nubia Bello (National Center for Historical Memory), Anthony Wanis- St. John (American University), Elizabeth Cole (U.S. Institute of Peace), Adam Isacson (Washington Office on Latin America), Juan Méndez (United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture)

Women Working Towards Reconciliation
July 15, 2015
Leaders from the Ecumenical Group of Women Peacemakers (GEMPAZ), a USIP-supported network, discussed their strategies for post-conflict reconciliation and the model of psychosocial assistance and training they have developed for working with victims and ex-combatants.

Mónica Guerrero (Gempaz), Norma Inés Bernal (Gempaz), Mónica Velásquez (Gempaz) 

Opening the Peace Process to Afro-Colombian Stakeholders
May 26, 2015
A new alliance of Colombia’s leading Afro-Colombian groups made the case for inclusion of Afro-Colombian and indigenous perspectives in the Havana talks at this Peace Forum event.  The forum considered strategies for how Afro-Colombians and other excluded groups could enhance their participation in the peace process.

Marino Cordoba
(AFRODES), Aura Dalia Caicedo, (National Network of Afro-Colombian Women), Javier Marrugo (Port Workers Union of Colombia), Richard Moreno (CONPA), and Carlos Rosero (Procesos de Comunidades Negras)

Peace from the Regions
March 27, 2015
Translating a national peace accord into practice will require engaging regional institutions, local authorities and diverse social sectors in what the Colombian government has called “territorial peace,” or peace from the ground up.  This forum brought together national and regional government officials and representatives of civil society organizations to dialogue about how such a plan might be put into practice.

Andrés Santamaría Garrido (National Federation of Ombudspeople), Marino Córdoba (Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA) and Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES)), and Diego Bautista (Office of the High Commissioner for Peace)

Paths to Reintegration
January 29, 2015
Helping former insurgents transition to a productive civilian life will be a major challenge once a peace agreement is signed. In two panels at this Colombia Peace Forum event, Colombian and U.S. government officials and non-governmental analysts drew lessons from past demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programs in Colombia and beyond. 

Alejandro Eder (Former High Commissioner for Reintegration), Mark Schneider (International Crisis Group), Kathleen Kerr (International Organization for Migration), Sandra Pabón (USAID-Colombia), Michael Duttwiler (Misión de Apoyo al Proceso de Paz- Organization of American States), Kimberly Theidon (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), and Adam Isacson (Washington Office on Latin America)

Demobilizations in Colombia: An Evolving Process
November 17, 2014
In this Colombia Peace Forum, former ex-combatants of past peace processes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) discussed the limitations of earlier Colombian approaches to demobilization, disarmament, and re-integration.  The forum generated ideas on how the negotiators in Havana might better anticipate and address the needs of demobilizing FARC troops, especially with regard to ex-combatant women, who currently make up some forty percent of FARC fighters.

Myriam Criado (National Center for Historical Memory- Colombia), José Aristizábal (Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris), and Mark Chernick (Georgetown University)

The Colombia Peace Process: a Discussion with Luis Eduardo Celis
August 28, 2014
Journalist and political analyst Luis Eduardo Celis updated the Colombia Peace Forum on the status of the peace talks in Havana, the challenges and blockages for advancing talks with the ELN, and the importance of a peace process with each group to bolster Colombia’s prospects for a comprehensive peace.

Luis Eduardo Celis Méndez (Revista Semana)

Peace Proposals from Victims
July 29, 2014
As the negotiators laid out a groundbreaking framework on principles for addressing the rights of victims, and an innovative methodology that would bring delegations of victims to Havana to present their proposals to the negotiators, this Colombia Peace Forum event brought youth and indigenous representatives to Washington to discuss the proposals being generated from victims’ organizations in Colombia.

Luis Fernando Arias (Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca- CRIC), and José Antequera Guzman (Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity); Clara Rojas González, Representative to the Colombian Congress (by video feed).

The Peace Process in Colombia
Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies for the Protection of Human Rights
March 27, 2014
This forum analyzed the intersection of human rights and the Colombian peace process in Havana.  Human rights leaders in Washington to present testimony before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights at the Organization of American States discussed their proposals (including a proposal for creation of a Special Peace Tribunal that was later adopted by the negotiators in Havana) to ensure that the peace process addressed the need to protect and promote human rights.

Liliana Avila (Inter-Church Commission of Justice and Peace), Franklin Castañeda (Political Prisoner’s Solidarity Committee), Alejandro Malambo (Colombia Commission of Jurists), and Luz Marina Monzón (To Begin Again), Jomary Ortegón (CCAJAR)

Pending Issues on the Peace Agenda
September 23, 2013
This two-day Colombia Peace Forum brought together two dozen past and present USIP peace scholars and senior fellows to analyze and generate recommendations around three issues on Colombia’s peace agenda—agrarian development, political participation, and illicit crops and drug trafficking. 

Pamela Aall (USIP), Elizabeth Cole (USIP), Virginia M. Bouvier (USIP), Alexander Fattal (Harvard University), Mark Chernick (Georgetown University), James Jones (International Consultant), Winifred Tate (Colby College), Vanda Felbab-Brown (Brookings Institute), María Clemencia Ramírez (Instituto Colombiana de Antropologia e Historia), Santiago Villaveces-Izquierdo (International IDEA), Angélica Durán-Martínez (Brown University), Javier Osorio (Cornell University), Michael Weintraub (Yale University), Diana Gómez,(Un. Chapel Hill), Carlos Quesada (Global Rights), Diego Grueso (WOLA) Jo-Marie Burt (GMU), Casey Ehrlich (Un. Wisconsin-Madison), Fernando López-Alves (Un. of California-Santa Barbara), Andries Odendaal (Center for Mediation). George López (UN), Ryan Burgess (IDB), Brett Troyan (SUNY Cortland)

Women, War and Peacebuilding in Colombia
November 5, 2012
This Colombia Peace Forum event featured a screening of “The War We are Living”, a panel discussion on women’s roles in the peace process and peacebuilding.

Kathleen Kuehnast (USIP), Oriana Zill (CBS News), Lorena Morales Vidal (Asociacion Colectivo Mujeres de Derecho), Virginia M. Bouvier (U.S. Institute of Peace)

For more information and to view webcasts, please visit

Chair of Colombia Peace Forum and Moderator of Programs, Virginia M. Bouvier, Senior Advisor on Peace Processes,

Follow the conversation on Twitter, #ColombiaPeaceForum.  Dr. Bouvier blogs on the peace process at “Colombia Calls.”

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