USIP is supporting the efforts of civil society leaders to meet, discuss, and articulate strategies for putting peace in Colombia on the agenda of policymakers.  Beginning with an initial conference in 2008, USIP has convened a series of activities with civil society working on the Colombian conflict in both Washington, DC and Colombia.  Known as the Washington Group, the participants include some three dozen leaders of peace and human rights organizations in Colombia, and several NGO partners in the United States.

Colombia flags


Analysts and policymakers have traditionally focused on the role of the armed actors in Colombia--primarily the FARC and the ELN guerrillas, and paramilitary organizations.  As unarmed civilians have become the major victims of the conflict, they are also seeking a more active role in the conflict’s resolution.  However, their activities are often fragmented, and relatively unknown. With a new administration in Bogotá and the possibility of renewed peace talks in the future, there is a need for non-armed civil society stakeholders to create strategies to ensure that their interests are considered in any future peace agreement.   This project thus seeks to:

  • Assist civil society leaders in articulating goals and policy proposals on peace more clearly
  • Facilitate Colombian civil society efforts to communicate their goals and strategies to policymakers
  • Advance the state of knowledge in the United States about non-armed actors and the role of civil society in relation to peacemaking and peace-building in Colombia.


USIP has convened and supported a series of meetings with civil society leaders, who in turn have convened numerous meetings and conferences among themselves and with their own constituencies.  Some highlights include:

Promoting Peace in Colombia: Ideas for the New Administration,” a day-long conference on December 2, 2008, co-sponsored with the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) and Colombia Committee for Human Rights (CCHR) 

"Administration Roundtable on Colombia,” December 2009

Three-day consultation with civil society leaders in Paipa, Colombia, organized by CODHES, August 2010

Related Publications

 Colombia Considers War and Memory

Colombia Considers War and Memory

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

By: Fred Strasser

A breakthrough in peace talks last month between Colombia’s government and the country’s biggest guerrilla group cements the role of victims in the process and has been hailed as a possible model for resolving conflicts elsewhere. Yet after 50 years of violence, a political accord on how to deal with the millions victimized by the war is just the first step. Hardened, bitter memories will risk rekindling conflict. Colombian peacebuilders say the way forward depends on an effective justice sys...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Reconciliation; Peace Processes

Myanmar Peace Process: Slow Progress, Delicate Steps

Myanmar Peace Process: Slow Progress, Delicate Steps

Thursday, November 10, 2016

By: Fred Strasser

The peace process in Myanmar, which seeks to end decades of conflicts between the country’s army and an array of rebel groups, is progressing fitfully but could still face a reversal, experts on the Southeast Asian nation said in a discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace. To drive it forward will require that the country’s new democratic leadership to skillfully manage relations with the still-powerful military while pushing negotiations and building confidence with the nation’s diverse arm...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Gender and the Role of Women in Colombia's Peace Process

Gender and the Role of Women in Colombia's Peace Process

Thursday, November 3, 2016

By: Virginia M. Bouvier

The promises and visions articulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent UN resolutions and position papers that recognize the connection between gender equity and women’s participation in all aspects of peace processes and peacebuilding on the one hand, and international peace and security on the other, have not been fulfilled. Nonetheless, these resolutions have opened the way for advocacy that has had some successes in specific contexts. Colombia offers one su...

Gender; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes

Q&A: Colombians Narrowly Reject Peace Deal

Q&A: Colombians Narrowly Reject Peace Deal

Monday, October 3, 2016

By: USIP Staff

Colombian voters yesterday defied projections by pollsters and rejected a peace accord that their government had negotiated during four years of talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). The agreement was intended to end more than a half century of violent conflict that has left well over 220,000 dead and close to 8 million victims, including more than 6 million people forcibly displaced. USIP’s Senior Advisor for Peace Processes Virginia M. Bouvier explains why voters ...

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes; Democracy & Governance

View All Publications