Two events held in Bucaramanga and Bogotá, Colombia, recently helped spread awareness of lessons learned and future opportunities for reconciliation in the country, which for decades has experienced conflict, intolerance, and fear. Since 2016, the Program of Alliances for Reconciliation (PAR), funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, has drawn upon its strategies and tools to support the peace agreement signed by the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In the past year, these efforts have also shifted to dealing with the large influx of migrant populations from Venezuela, as well as domestic migrants, and the resulting challenges.

These two events were crucial for the program, which concludes next month, to send a vital message to Colombians about its partners’ commitment to continuing integration and reconciliation efforts. PAR’s many alliances span the public and private sectors, civil society, international organizations, and media.

In Bucaramanga and Bogotá, PAR engaged with the national media outlets Vanguardia and El Espectador to focus on the integration of migrant populations and reconciliation between various public, private, and civil society actors.  

Migrant Students Raise Their Voices in Bucaramanga

In Bucaramanga, a city near the Colombia-Venezuela border, PAR and Vanguardia hosted panel discussions, interviews, and a special musical performance for attendees who included USAID/Colombia Mission Director Larry Sacks, Border Manager Lucas Gomez, and singer-songwriter Andrés Cepeda. The event also featured students from Mi Panita, Mi Amigo, a project of USAID, ACDI/VOCA, and Vanguardia that empowers Colombian and Venezuelan migrant children ages eight to 14 to create and publish content that reflects their realities.

The event highlighted lessons learned from PAR about how to reduce xenophobia and stigma associated with migrant populations and promote their socioeconomic inclusion. Fifty guests from the government, private sector, and national and local media attended, while 5,256 people followed the event online.

High-Level Leaders Spark Dialogue in Bogotá

In Bogotá, PAR and El Espectador held another event at the capital city’s National Museum, where more than 50 attendees from the government, private sector, and civil society gathered to discuss learnings from PAR’s five years of promoting transformative alliances. The event featured several special guests:

  • Helena Valencia, co-founder of the Innovations Girls program at the Chocó Robotics School
  • Lucía González, commissioner with the Truth Commission
  • Mariana Pajón, BMX Olympic medalist and reconciliation ambassador
  • Johana Bahamón, president of Fundación Acción Interna
  • Carlos Eduardo Botero, director of Inexmoda
  • Estefanía Colmenares, director of La Opinión
  • Valerie Rosoux, international expert and Belgian academic specializing in reconciliation
Rappers “Melisa-MC” Sanjua (pictured) and Agustín Lara, who serve as PAR reconciliation ambassadors, performed a freestyle rap at the event.

Its messages reached nearly 25,000 Colombians, with 537 live online viewers and 14,569 subsequent shares and mentions.

These events allowed PAR to foster important dialogues. They also allowed the Program to demonstrate how the efforts of the past five years can be leveraged to foster future alliances and progress.

Learn more about the Program of Alliances for Reconciliation.

Learn more about our work in Colombia.