Leading academics from Essex and Colombia join forces for key debate on peacebuilding

  • Date

    Tue 3 Mar 20

GCRF panel discussion

Leading academics from Essex and Colombia came together for a key debate focused on peacebuilding and transitional justice issues in relation to Colombia today.

Held at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogota, the lively panel discussion covered the political, economic, historical and cultural factors around peacebuilding, reparations and transitional justice issues.

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, who delivered the keynote speech, shared his knowledge and expertise in the establishment and support of United Nations peace operations, as well as in the reforms to the organisation in the areas of peace and security, with particular focus on Colombia.

The other expert panellists included Professor Clara Sandoval-Villalba, from the School of Law at Essex and Co-Director of the Essex Transitional Justice Network; Adam Forbes, First Secretary Peace and Security, Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, at the British Embassy in Colombia and Professor Han Dorussen, from the Department of Government at Essex, who is an expert in international relations and conflict resolution.

Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster chaired the panel discussion, which attracted a wide range of academics, legal experts, and NGO representatives. One Essex alumnus at the event commented: “As an Essex alumnus; as a Colombian; as a researcher; this was a fantastic opportunity to do brainstorming and to hear other people from my University talking about Colombia.”

Supported by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), academic researchers from Essex are collaborating with a wide range of Colombian academics and third sector organisations to address key issues including human rights and transitional justice, international relations and policymaking in Colombia.

Earlier in the day, before the panel discussion, researchers from Essex and their collaborators held a successful GCRF workshop at the Universidad Externado in Bogota to further develop collaborative research projects and educational partnership between Essex, other universities and organisations in the region.

During the event, academics presented their work, identified synergies between projects and are now working on developing these ideas further.