Geopolitical & Socioeconomic

The Colombian Peace Agreement II: What Would Peace Change in Colombia?

  • SCI Belgrave Square, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London

Following a 4 year negotiation process, the people of Colombia shocked the world when they rejected the terms of the Peace Accord this October 2nd, by the narrowest of margins (50.2% to 49.8%). Perhaps the most significant- and worrying- lessons of the referendum were the apparent indifference of the Colombian people, given the low margins (50.2% to 49.8%).

Following a 4 year negotiation process, the people of Colombia shocked the world when they rejected the terms of the Peace Accord this October 2nd, by the narrowest of margins (50.2% to 49.8%). Perhaps the most significant- and worrying- lessons of the referendum were the apparent indifference of the Colombian people, given the low turnout, as well as the manifest polarization of those who were politically engaged. The vote also brought up some broader questions that have been posed across the world: most notably, the role of referenda in democratic politics. Despite the failure of the accord, President Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 7th, and he duly delivered on his promise to bring peace to Colombia, with a revised deal signed in Bogotá on November 24th. This event seeks to take analyse some of the key questions that arise from the newly signed peace accord.

Key questions

- Will the revised accord provide enough meaningful changes to appease the influential voices of the “No” side?

- Will the lack of a mandate provided by a referendum be problematic for President Santos, and the peace process in general?

- How did the Nobel Prize award affect the process? And more broadly, was the role played by this and other international organisations wholly positive?

- Does the new accord have a bearing upon the 2018 Presidential elections? If so, who are the winners and losers?

- And the question from the event's title - what change would Colombia see if the peace deal is finally realised?

Who’s speaking?

Canning House is delighted to welcome three distinguished speakers to guide us through the evening:

- Louise Winstanley, ABColombia: Louise Joined ABColombia in February 2010 having previously worked as Advocacy Officer for Peace Brigades International UK Section. Before this she spent two years in Colombia working as an international observer with PBI. She has an MSc in Globalisation and Latin American Development, has contributed to a book on Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity and written papers on human rights and globalisation.

- Gwen Burnyeat: Gwen is a Wolfson scholar in Anthropology at UCL, researching the social history of the Colombian peace process. She was previously lecturer in Political Anthropology at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where she also did a masters which was the basis for her forthcoming book, 'Chocolate, Politics and Peace-Building: an Ethnography of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Colombia', as well as her award-winning documentary 'Chocolate of Peace' (chocolateofpeace.com). She is a member of Rodeemos el Diálogo (ReD) and Colombia correspondent for Latin America Bureau (LAB).

- Olga Lucia Lozano: International Trade Lawyer and Former Colombian Diplomat.

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