Dialogue and Peacebuilding in Colombia: A Dialogic and a Transformative Relationship

This article analyses different initiatives that have emerged from the top-down and everyday bottom-up peace approach after the peace agreement in Colombia and have led to establishing dialogues among different actors to contribute to the peacebuilding process. Three years ago, Colombia signed a peace agreement with the largest guerrilla group in Latin America. After this signature, the big challenge has been the implementation of the deal in the most conflict-affected territories, characterised by poverty, high rates of violence, unemployment, etc. Despite the pitfalls in building positive peace, many communities have started generating spaces by themselves and have created initiatives of peacebuilding through nonviolent actions, the acceptance of differences, active participation and empowerment and the acknowledgement that dialogue is the only way to achieve cooperation and to rebuild another story rather than conflict. This paper seeks to examine the different characteristics that have shaped dialogue-based practices when they are produced with a top-down and a bottom-up approach of peacebuilding. To do this, it is necessary to identify the parties participating in these encounters, their motivations, conditions that have allowed parties to establish a dialogue, and the results. This paper notes that in a post-conflict society, dialogues coming from the top-down will take longer in accomplishing positive peace, rather than the dialogues that have emerged from the bottom up which may be the engine to social mobilisations and the way to capitalise on social skills in achieving justice, truth, and reconciliation.


Angela Marcela Olarte Delgado

Researcher, Centre of Criminal Policy, Universidad Externado de Colombia.

Angela Marcela Olarte Delgado is a researcher at the Centre of Criminal Policy, Universidad Externado de Colombia.