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UEA and Colombian researchers work together for sustainable peace

Researchers from the University of East Anglia are part of a new programme that will address issues facing Colombia’s transition from conflict to peace.

Ten new projects have been announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and will see UK researchers collaborating with colleagues in Colombia on work designed to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development using the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Areas of focus include:

How to ensure the participation of vulnerable and marginalised groups so their interests and abilities are represented, and that they can influence the country’s development

How to ensure reconciliation between previously conflicting elements of society

Exploring the role of education in developing entrepreneurial capacity, skills and creativity for all age-groups in a post conflict landscape

The projects, launched by UKRI in partnership with Colombia’s Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (Colciencias), have been funded with £2.8 million through the Newton Fund.

The UEA project is led in the UK by Dr Iokiñe Rodriguez from the School of International Development. It will involve working with school teachers and community organisations in South Tolima to design and develop a local peacebuilding strategy rooted in memories of the armed conflict, the cultural and environmental heritage of the region, and visions of a desired future.

Dr Rodriguez said: “This project builds on the experiences that children, teenagers, teachers, parents and community leaders have had with the armed conflict and new emerging socio-environmental conflicts, but also and most significantly on the local peacebuilding visions and projects that exist in the region, in order to jointly generate proposals for long-term conflict transformation in the Tolima territory.”

The new projects, being led by UKRI’s AHRC and Economic and Social Research Council, address a broad range of areas relating to post-conflict transitions in Colombia. They are an example of UKRI’s vision that international collaboration is key to ensuring world-leading research and development, and global challenges require global solutions, across nations and disciplines.

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI Champion for International and Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), said: “These projects will contribute to a more just and peaceful world by us assess the causes and effects of long term conflict and promote sustainable development by starting a dialogue based on understanding and respect. It is heartening to see, in the Colombian context, research projects that take fresh approaches to tackling development challenges. As well as being insightful in themselves, I hope they will also open up new corridors of research practice within the arts, humanities, and social sciences.” 

Dr Eduardo Rojas Pineda, Colciencias Director of Research Development, said: “This initiative promotes the consolidation of a scientific community across different research areas and the promotion of the transference of knowledge in ways that will contribute to the economic and social development of Colombia in collaboration with UKRI. These are internationally competitive, transformative and high-quality collaborative projects which address a broad range of areas related to peace transitions in Colombia.”

Find out more about UKRI’s international work by following the hashtag #UKRIGlobal on Twitter.

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