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British professor helps bring peace to Colombia

Community workshops led by a Loughborough University professor are set to help bring “sustainable peace” to areas ravaged by civil war in Colombia.

Professor Katherine Gough’s work aims to bring communities back together following the demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) in 2016.

Professor Gough will focus her project on the Alto Cauca region, an area which was badly impacted by the armed conflict which started in 1964. Research will also be conducted in the communities of Buenos Aires, Miranda and Corinto.

After so many groups were marginalised due to the power exerted by the FARC, Professor Gough wants to bring these people back into the peace-building process, including landless peasants, Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples.

Everyone involved will be invited to a series of community workshops where they will explore the make-up of the area and see which local institutions and government programmes can be used to help build peace.

Professor Gough, who be joined by Dr Carolina Escobar-Tello and Dr Giulia Piccolino from Loughborough University, said:

We are delighted to be working with the Universidad del Valle on this important research project investigating the implementation of the peace process in Colombia.

The work of the two countries’ academics has been made possible thanks to a research grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The grant forms part of a £2.8m pot awarded through UKRI’s Newton Fund, which champions economic development and social welfare for the benefit of communities.

Professor Andrew Thompson of UKRI said the projects will:

Contribute to a more just and peaceful world, enabling us to assess the causes and effects of long-term conflict and promote sustainable development by starting a dialogue based on understanding and respect.

Image: Global Panorama