Between 28 September and 1 October the Director of the Åland Islands Peace Institute, Professor Kjell-Åke Nordquist, will participate in an international conference on mediation and culture of peace to be held in Bogotá, Colombia. The conference considers the issues of mediation and reconciliation at both the international and individual level. Kjell-Åke will hold a keynote speech on the theme of restorative justice and national reconciliation following internal conflict (Justicia restaurativa y reconciliación nacional a raíz de un conflicto interno). Other speakers include Professor John Paul Lederach and Associate Professor Manuel Ernesto Salamanca.
The conference is held at an important stage of the Colombian history. After decades of strife, and four years of negotiation, the peace agreement between the Marxist guerrilla movement Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the Colombian Government was signed on September 26.
The peace agreement will address, among others, questions about the rebels’ future political participation, land reform with a focus on economic and social development of rural areas, the regulation of the cultivation and trafficking of narcotics, disarmament of the rebels and compensation for victims of the conflict as well as the legal treatment of offenders. A referendum on the peace agreement remains to be held, and evidently there are still many issues to be resolved. In order to build a peaceful society after conflict many processes remain – processes where mediation and reconciliation can be important tools.