In this blog, Nathan Tuffin, Portfolio Manager with the Languages, Literature & International Engagement Section of AHRC talks about the experiences at the Post-Conflict Research Workshop, held at the Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia between 7th & 8th March.
Background & Purpose
Colombia is coming to the end of a civil war and is making its way through a peace process. The workshop was formed to discuss what happens next after conflicts and how to deal with the on-going tasks associated with such developments. Developments at the time of writing this Blog have indicated that a peace deal would be signed by 23rd March, as a result of talks between the Government and FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
Who & What
Run by the RCUK Newton Fund, the workshop was structured over two days. The Newton Fund is a stand alone fund run by The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS); 7 Research Councils being the UK delivery partners. The idea of the workshop is to explore the possibility of a Joint Collaborative Call between the UK (via the Newton Fund) and Colombian Academics (whereby funding will be matched equally from both sides), and this is the first time such an event has occurred with Colombia.
Key speakers included Ana Maria Ibanez, (Dean of Economics at the University of Andes), Yadira Amu, Director of Internationalization at Cauca, and providing a Civil Society perspective, Sergio Guarin from Fundacion Ideas para la Paz.
A warm welcome was provided by the UK Deputy Head of Mission to Colombia, Dr Jeff Glekin, Dr Silvia Restrepo, Vice President for Research at the University of Andes and Ms Sorrel Aroca Rodriguez, Govenor of Putumayo.
David Galbreath, Theme Fellow for Conflict under the PaCCS Programme delivered a presentation on behalf of AHRC, and Putumayo’s Govenor (Ms Rodriguez) also provided an enlightening delivery on the troubles in Colombia, the peace process, agriculture and drug cartels.
Break-Out Groups were held discussing items such as:
- Understanding the legacies of conflict (Introduced by Frederic Masse, University of Externado)
- Governance, Justice & Ethics (Introduced by Prof Chandra Sriram, University of East London)
- Communities & Social Cohesion in Post Conflict Environments (Introduced by Dr Myriam Jmeno, Universidad Nacional)
- Education, Learning & Employment (Introduced by Dr Doris Santos, Universidad Nacional)
- Integral Solutions, future steps and recommendations (All candidates were asked to identify cross-cutting themes, clusters of research, as well as priorities & opportunities for interdisciplinary research and Impact
So why study conflict?
This topic is becoming very large and highly topical; to the extent that advanced analysis and further study is needed. AHRC is particularly interested in post-conflict areas.
Colombia’s Minister for Conflict held breakfast with delegates. Their discussions enabled the day to conclude with an agreement on priority areas (within research) and a hope that such a productive Workshop would lead to additional collaboration in the future.
View from Workshop Room – With thanks to Nathan Tuffin