A 2016 peace agreement between Colombia’s government and the country’s biggest rebel group is being fulfilled in stages. As the guerrillas transition to civilian life, Colombia faces a massive task of reconciliation to recover from a half-century conflict that killed more than 220,000 people and uprooted more than 6 million. The U.S. Institute of Peace helped prepare the ground for a political solution with more than a decade of work in Colombia, and now is supporting research, policy discussions and mediation between, for example,  ex-combatants and victims, to prevent a resurgence of violence. 

Featured Publications

Colombia’s National Strike: Inequality and Legitimacy Crises Drive Unrest

Colombia’s National Strike: Inequality and Legitimacy Crises Drive Unrest

Thursday, May 27, 2021

By: Steve Hege

After Colombia’s government proposed new tax hikes, social organizations and movements called for a national strike on April 28 across the country. Protesters believed the new fiscal policy — which the government said was aimed at mitigating the pandemic’s economic impact — would disproportionately hurt poor and vulnerable sectors of society. Although the marches and mass gatherings were initially widespread and peaceful, security forces cracked down on demonstrators accused of taking part in vandalism, killing at least 43 and injuring hundreds more. Meanwhile, pre-existing and resulting anger among some groups of protesters led to attacks on security forces and police stations, setting off a cycle of violence.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

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Current Projects

Youth Advisory Council

Youth Advisory Council

Built upon the belief that youth bring significant and unique insight to peacebuilding, the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) provides a mechanism through which USIP experts can benefit from youth perspectives and expertise. The YAC enables USIP staff to engage youth as partners, experts, and practioners while elevating youth voices and experience to the international level. The YAC contributes to USIP’s vision for an inclusive approach to peacebuilding. The Youth Advisory Council meets regularly to bring together youth thought leaders and peacebuilding experts committed to the Institute’s mission and activities.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Peace Processes; Youth

Religion and Nonviolent Action

Religion and Nonviolent Action

Since 2020, USIP’s programs on religion and inclusive societies and nonviolent action have been conducting research to better understand the role of religion in nonviolent action campaigns. Many of the most prominent activists and nonviolent movements in history have drawn on religion as they worked to build peace and advance justice. Historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi often come to mind. But religious leaders, beliefs, symbols and practices have featured just as prominently in more recent nonviolent campaigns, including the Arab Uprisings, the Spring Revolution in Myanmar and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement.

Nonviolent Action; Religion

Religious and Psychosocial Support for Displaced Trauma Survivors

Religious and Psychosocial Support for Displaced Trauma Survivors

Since Spring 2021 The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is identifying best practices in psychosocial support to better facilitate collaboration and cooperation between religious actors and mental health professionals who provide services to conflict-affected communities — including trauma-affected displaced persons. The initiative will focus on Latin America as a pilot region, aiming to offer practical recommendations to relevant stakeholders.

Fragility & Resilience; Global Health; Religion

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