‘Culture of Dialogue’ as a Decolonial Peace-Building Tool: The Case of Colombia

‘Culture of Dialogue’ as a Decolonial Peace-Building Tool: The Case of Colombia

by Lucía Mesa-Vélez – [ Journal of Dialogue Studies Vol 7 ]



This article is based on a four-month placement with the Colombian peace-building organisation Rodeemos el Diálogo (Embrace Dialogue, ReD) in London, as well as three years of working with the organisation in Bogotá, Colombia. It discusses the causes of violence in Colombia, the conceptualisation of dialogue, and ReD’s notion of a ‘culture of dialogue’. First, by explaining the coloniality of knowledge, power, and being in the Colombian context, I argue that the contemporary armed conflict is a legacy of colonial logics that are still being reproduced. Then, through a literature review on the concept of dialogue, I describe its origins, its potential to be a useful method to peacebuilding and the danger of it reproducing coloniality and control. Finally, I explain how ReD understands the ‘culture of dialogue’ and why it has the potential to resolve conflict in a non-violent way and take action against colonial-inherited inequalities and oppressions. I argue that to resolve Colombia’s violence it is necessary to address the coloniality of power, knowledge and being taking place. However, to address these it is of utmost importance to be able to acknowledge the existence of violence and to recognise the multiplicity of epistemologies that coexist in today’s world. Within these processes of recognition, culture of dialogue plays an important role.

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