Global and Intercultural Leadership: Implementing a Comprehensive and Sustainable Peace Process in Colombia

Global and Intercultural Leadership: Implementing a Comprehensive and Sustainable Peace Process in Colombia

Antonio Jiménez Luque (Gonzaga University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4993-2.ch004

Abstract

Since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) gave up the guns and launched a political party, it is time to implement the peace agreements including the different sectors of society and ethnic groups that historically have been excluded and marginalized. This chapter focuses on Afro-Colombian communities and their past and present social movements and leadership projects, and identifies the characteristics and perspectives of a leadership process that will implement the peace accords in a more comprehensive and sustainable way. Finally, the author suggests a global and intercultural leadership perspective to implement the peace agreements in Colombia because it will emphasize on relationships and value other cultures, facilitate platforms to include the narratives and leadership approaches of different worldviews, and put the focus on an intercultural dialogue and communication that will transform objective and subjective structures of society.
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Introduction

  • ‘Los inventores de la fábula que todo lo creemos nos sentimos con el derecho de creer

  • que todavía no es demasiado tarde para emprender la creación de la utopía de la vida,

  • donde nadie pueda decidir por otros hasta la forma de morir,

  • donde de veras sea cierto el amor y sea posible la felicidad,

  • y donde las estirpes condenadas a cien años de soledad

  • tengan por fin y para siempre una segunda oportunidad sobre la tierra.’

  • Gabriel García Márquez speech ‘La Soledad de América Latina’ (1983)

Goodbye weapons! On August 15th 2017, Colombia declared peace when the last batch of weapons carried by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were removed under United Nations (UN) supervision. This action was the result of an innovative and well-designed peace process in both, the exploratory phase, and the time of formal negotiation that started four years ago, and which can be a reference for other countries (Fisas, 2016). However, after overcoming huge obstacles regarding how to give up the weapons or where to concentrate the ex-guerrilleros after their demobilization, other challenges such as the implementation of the peace agreements in a comprehensive and sustainable way remain. Thus, while so far peace has basically been negotiated from the top between government and guerrilla, the challenge now is to implement the agreements including the victims and the local communities from bottom-up.

According to Galtung (2013), peace is not the absence of conflict, but the capacity to transform conflicts using empathy and creativity in a holistic way. A never-ending process where involving local leaders and communities during the phases of implementation of the agreements and reconstruction is central (Galtung, 2013). Although peace has been declared in Colombia, to date the leadership process has been mainly led by the Colombian government and the FARC, and social groups such as women, indigenous people, afro-descendant communities and peasants have not been involved enough due to a history of discrimination and social exclusion in the country since the colonial times on one side, and a lack of available spaces from where their voices could be amplified and taken into consideration on the other. Thus, the research objective of this chapter is twofold: (1) To identify what should be the characteristics and perspectives of a leadership process that implements the peace agreement while including the victims and local communities who suffered the most from the armed conflict and have been historically excluded from political participation; and (2) to explore the creation of social structures that will facilitate spaces for political participation and the role of leaders to contribute to an effective dialogue that includes the perspectives and insights of social movement organizations and local leaders with the aim of achieving a more just reconstruction of Colombia.

This chapter could have been focused on different social groups such as women, indigenous communities or peasants as some of the social sectors who have suffered the most from human rights’ violations during the Colombian armed conflict and who have developed successful leadership processes of resistance against domination and oppression. However, as a result of space and time limitations, this research is just centered on people of African descent in Colombia due to their high level of social exclusion and economic impoverishment and also because Afro-Colombian social movements and communities have been developing very innovative social movements and organizing processes of leadership from their own cultural perspective that need to be visibilized and amplified.

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