Supported by the GCRF@Essex research fund, University of Essex academic colleagues are collaborating with a wide range of Colombian organisations to address key issues of relevance to Colombia. Our academic colleagues and collaborators tackle several challenges ranging from projects focused on peacebuilding and collaborations addressing past injustices to projects helping strengthen the public’s right to information, projects focused on ecological sustainability and social well-being. This work contributes to the University of Essex’s commitment to providing excellence in education and research for the benefit of people and communities to help make the world a better place.
In early March 2020 a group of nine academic colleagues supported by the GCRF@Essex research fund joined an Essex delegation led by our Vice Chancellor Anthony Forster visiting several academic partnering institutions in Bogota, Colombia.
As part of this visit, Universidad Externado de Colombia kindly hosted a GCRF@Essex research workshop on their premises in Bogota on 2 March. Forty workshop participants from 15 different organisations including Colombian Universities, NGOs, government departments, the British Council and British Embassy, were welcomed by our VC Anthony Forster and the Universidad Externado President Juan Carlos Henao Pérez.
The GCRF@Essex research workshop was a mutually enriching experience for Essex colleagues and their Colombian collaborators and helped to cement their relationship and define their research collaboration further.
Following the workshop, academic colleagues from the Essex delegation and Colombia came together for a key debate focused on peacebuilding and transitional justice issues in relation to Colombia. 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. A recording of the discussion is available online.
The Bogota GCRF@Essex research visit helped to establish a co-hort of academic colleagues focused on tackling global challenges in Colombia, one of the focus countries of the GCRF@Essex programme. Several synergies between Essex researchers from different disciplines were identified and will be followed up on over the coming months. We aim to establish a network of academic colleagues and collaborators focused on similar challenges, which will help us to respond effectively to future funding calls as complementary expertise, and shared interests have been established.