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On 21 and 22 May 2009 the workshop 'Violence and Displacement in Colombia' took place. It aimed to foster a more nuanced approach to the Colombian conflict, giving space to Colombian intellectuals, leaders and practitioners interested in exploring its wider implications and, in particular, the multiple factors to take into account in its closure.

Analysis of the Colombian conflict tends to reflect the polarization of the conflict itself. Arguments tend to be placed in the ‘pro-government’ or ‘pro-guerrilla’ camps.  Some argue that the only solution to the conflict is the military defeat of the FARC, or to weaken them sufficiently for a negotiation to be forced through on terms dictated by the government. There are of course many different views on the likelihood, feasibility or desirability of such a pathway. Our aim is to organize a new encounter which would explore the implications of a non-negotiated solution to the conflict (and conversely raise some issues worthy of consideration if a sustainable peace is to become possible).

This workshop aims to foster a more nuanced approach to the conflict, which gives space to Colombian intellectuals, leaders and practitioners interested in exploring its wider implications and, in particular, the multiple factors to take into account in its closure. Amongst these multiple factors, are how to ensure that the ending of the conflict lays the foundations for a lasting peace, and what are the implications for Colombia’s large displaced population. 

The main themes that the workshop aimed to address included:

  1. War and economic change:  What kind of economic pathway will emerge from a non-negotiated solution to the Colombian civil war?
  2. Security after war: How might a non-negotiated solution to the Colombian civil war affect the state security sector and security at the community level?
  3. The implications of a non-negotiated solution for democracy building in Colombia.
  4. Building a non-violent society after war: How will a non-negotiated solution to the Colombian civil war interrupt the inter-generational transmission of violence and contribute to a non-violent future.
  5. The future of Colombia’s peace building community and civil society organizations in the wake of a non-negotiated solution to the civil war.
  6. War, victims and displacement: What are the prospects for the victims of Colombia’s civil war after a non-negotiated solution, and for processes of justice and reconciliation?