Peacebuilding en Las Américas

Sharing the Alternatives to Violence Project with the Colombia Truth Commission

by Mónica Maher, Peacebuilding en las Americas Initiative Coordinator

You can read this article in the Fall 2019 PeaceWays 

Across Latin America, national peace accords have not resulted in a culture of peace. Much more is needed at the community level to recreate the social fabric for harmonious coexistence. In 2019, PLA offered tools to build a culture of peace which will help to create social transformation.

In July, PLA Coordinator Dr. Mónica Maher gave a presentation on work supported by PLA in Colombia to an audience of non-governmental leaders, graduate students and academics at a seminar on peacebuilding in Colombia at the Latin American Faculty of Social Science – Ecuador. Her talk, “Rebuilding the Social Fabric in Colombia: Experiences of the Alternatives to Violence Project,” was part of a Truth and Reconciliation Panel, describing the methodology, content and outcomes of the work of PLA in former Red Zones of Colombia.

Present at the session was Colombia Truth Commissioner, Dr. Carlos Martín Beristain, an expert in psycho-social attention to victims of armed conflict; Beristain indicated that the AVP workshops described by Maher are the kinds of community activities that are still very much needed at the grass-roots level today in Colombia. He asked to share the content of her presentation with other Truth Commissioners in Colombia.

The Colombia Truth Commission is now interviewing victims, gathering extensive data and soliciting recommendations to achieve its mandate of historical clarification leading to non-repetition and peaceful co-existence.