By August 23, 2016 Read More →

Building a Just and Sustainable Peace Process in Colombia

United Nations Church Center, NY

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A panel of four prominent speakers spoke openly with sincerity, a passion for peace, and concern for the future of the Colombian society.  An audience of around 120 listened and interacted with the panel asking for more clarity and sharing the humanitarian work that they are already doing to help the peace process.

The panelists were:

  • Mr. Danilo Rueda, Director of the Interchurch Commission for Justice and Peace
  • Ms. Jenny Neme, Director of Justapaz
  • Ms. Jani Rita de Rengifo, Board member of CONPAZ
  • Mr. Joseph Cornelius Donnelly, Permanent Delegate to United Nations CARITAS Internationalis and Chair of the NGO Working Group on Security Council.

Even though a lot has already been done in achieving peace and everyone is grateful for the ceasefire, the concern now is how and what is the guarantee that peace will prevail.

leaders signing the ceasefire document

leaders signing the ceasefire document

click here to view this memorable day.

Ms. Jani who is herself a survivor of persecution of the ‘peasant movement,’ shared the concern of her fellow peasants and the terror and fear with which they lived their lives.

No one wanted to hear gunshots anymore so were asking for a guarantee that peace will prevail the present ceasefire. Faith traditions and Peace-making organizations have been asked to reach out and help in whatever way they can to educate and support this process.

They spoke of lessons learned so far:

  • build bridges to create a society based on love.
  • discussions on an individual level.
  • use of local solutions to humanitarian issues.
  • address conflict at local and regional levels.
  •  develop a well formed and active plan.

Mr. Donnelly very powerfully reminded all present that peace is possible, but only when we are together in this. Peace is possible through negotiations, networking, advocacy and dialogues. He also spoke of how Pope Francis is supporting this entire process.

A very healthy interaction followed where it was stated that a new consciousness is necessary if  people are to be spiritually transformed – it is not just a question of establishing a good political party.

Attention was drawn to the Security Council and the United Nations in helping to take on the challenge of building a sustainable peace and just process. It was emphasized that what was agreed upon must be implemented collectively and also to be aware that change is difficult for most people, there may be opportunity in that change “but would hell break loose, or heaven come!?”

The feelings that filled the air at the end of the event were reflected in the following sentiment:

“There is no turning back now. There has been 50 years of civil war and peace HAS to happen now…it MUST happen now. “Peace will Prevail in Colombia again!!! It is important to echo the voices that say, “we need help.”

On a spiritual note, it may be necessary to acknowledge that peace is the innate nature of the Inner Self. It is who we are, actually. If this awareness can be raised among us, it is possible to establish a peaceful and just society, not only in Colombia, but globally.

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