Exploring the role of civil society in peacebuilding: Colombian human rights leader to speak in Madison

Date: September 26, 2007
Contact: Masarah Van Eyck, Director of Communications, Division of International Studies, mvaneyck2@international.wisc.edu, (608) 262-5590.

Madison, WI – Ana Teresa Bernal Montañez, a commissioner on Colombia’s Commission on Reparations and Reconciliation, will deliver her talk “Participation of Civil Society in Colombia’s Peacebuilding,” at 4:30pm on Wednesday, October 10 at the Pyle Center’s Alumni Lounge, 702 Langdon Street. This event is free and open to the public.

She has been named the 2007 J. Jobe Soffa and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Distinguished International Visitor.

“As civilians around the world continue to aspire toward peace in their countries, we welcome Ana Teresa Bernal Montañez’ valuable insights,” says Gilles Bousquet, dean of the Division of International Studies.

Bernal Montañez is a national coordinator of Red Nacional de Iniciativas Ciudadanas Por la Paz y Contra la Guerra (National Network of Citizens’ Initiatives for Peace and Against War), a civil society umbrella organization that brings together various isolated peace organizations of youth, women, and indigenous people to form a strong and unified voice for ending the violence in Colombia.

Bernal Montañez organized the 1997 campaign “Citizen’s Mandate for Peace, Life, and Liberty,” which gained ten million votes through a non-binding ballot that accompanied local elections. In 1999, she was elected as one of five commissioners on the Commission on Reparations and Reconciliation. During the groundbreaking dialogues that took place between the Pastrana government and the FARC starting in 1999, Bernal Montañez represented the National Peace Council on the Thematic Commission, a mechanism built into the talks to bring the ideas of civil society to the negotiating table.

Ana Teresa Bernal Montañez’ appearance is made possible by The J. Jobe Soffa and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Distinguished International Visitor Fund, established to provide a regular public lecture on contemporary issues of global significance. This is a program of the Division of International Studies.

During her visit to the Madison campus, Ana Teresa Bernal Montañez, will also meet with students and faculty.