Peace in Colombia: Challenges and Opportunities.

USF Stands for the Colombian Peace.

Advisor to the Truth Commission in Colombia, Dr. Manuel Ramiro Muñoz, visited the University of San Francisco, for a week of talks with faculty, staff and students, in the hopes of creating lasting relations between USF and the Institute of Intercultural Studies of Javeriana Cali, standing in solidarity with the Colombian people in their process towards peace. 

Dr. Muñoz’ visit was crowned by a campus-wide event Peace in Colombia: Challenges and Opportunities hosted by CELASA where, after talking in depth about the peace process in Colombia and the current political climate, Muñoz extended an invitation to USF students and faculty to “welcome those who had to flee the conflict, listen to them and look for their testimony” Dr. Muñoz urged “it is a potent and needed voice in the peace process and for the truth commission”. He finished with a call to action for students saying “Small things done with purpose can transform the reality, a small group of students being witness to the Colombian peace issues, give hope that other realities are possible.”

The Arrupe Observatory, who hosted Dr. Muñoz throughout the week, had the opportunity to delve into the topic of Human Rights and the peace process with the visiting scholar who stressed on the importance of international attention on the conflict, reassuring that “it is important to build networks between the universities and us [the people in Colombia]. Accompany us and be a witness. When you do so, people, especially from indigenous communities, realize that they are not alone, which is a big motivator, even bigger sometimes than money. Use your spotlight to shed light to the conflict.” 

Faculty and students also had the opportunity for conversations with Dr. Muñoz, who visited two classes from the International and Multicultural program at the School of Education, where he shared with the graduate students his experience running the Institute of Intercultural Studies remarking “As academics we have to remember to be in contact with the people, with reality. Sometimes we want to apply theories to some situations, but if we don’t take a step to listen to what people are saying on the ground, theory is useless.

Conversations about further collaborations between the Institute of Intercultural Studies, and the truth commission in Colombia with USF have been set in motion, and the Arrupe Observatory has taken on the role of mediating such conversations. For further information about Dr. Muñoz’ visit and ways to be involved within the Colombian peace process, please contact Luis Enrique Bazan