By Melisa Redondo, CLACS MA Candidate
On September 24, CLACS and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service hosted the talk Colombia in Flux: The Challenges of Peacebuilding in the Midst of Violence and Insecurity, by Arlene B. Tickner, professor at the School of International, Political and Urban Studies at Universidad del Rosario, Colombia. The talk was the first of the Fall semester’s presentations as a part of the working group Colombia: Past, Present and Futures. The conversation was moderated by Sonia Ospina, a Professor of Public Management and Policy at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Over three years after the signing of a historic peace agreement between the Colombian state and the FARC insurgency, the prospects for building a lasting peace in the country continue to be elusive. Professor Tickner discussed the main challenges that Colombia faces in the present, including the alarmingly high levels of violence committed by remaining violent non-state actors, including the ELN guerrillas, organized criminal organizations, and dissident factions of FARC. That, in addition to a lack of a security strategy, attuned to peacebuilding.
Professor Tickner also underlined that the actors involved in the peace accords differentiate it from other peace accords. Civil participation besides the government and FARC was essential in decision-making, and the victims were also involved. Equally important was the involvement of a Gender Subcommission which made gender-related decisions a transversal aspect of the accord.
After the discussion, an engaged audience of 27 people formulated questions that allowed a conversation about the mechanisms that enforce the peacebuilding process in Colombia, the role of social protest in the development of this process, and how structural racism relates with the struggles for peace.