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Ambitions for the future.

[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Geoffrey Corry remembers…..[/title]The news that broke from Havana on 24 August that the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, would soon sign a peace accord with the FARC leader, Timolean Jimenez, was something I had been hoping would happen having followed the progress of the peace talks over four years. It reminded me of that day of joy back on Good Friday at 5pm when political leaders got the all-party Northern Ireland deal over the line. A referendum will take place in Colombia on 2 October and it will be a cliff hanger of a vote because the popular former President Alvaro Uribe opposes the Havana deal.

Colombia deserves an end to 52 years of conflict.  The cost of conflict has been high: over 22,000 dead, 250,000 casualties, the internal displacement of 6 million mainly from rural lands into the cities, all leaving deep divisions that will take years to heal.[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Peacebuilding was a slow and marathon journey in Colombia[/title]The Havana talks were a very significant piece of peace making. They were supported strongly in their initial stages by the Norwegians on the back of their efforts in Sri Lanka. They were not proximity talks but intense and painstaking face-to-face bi-lateral negotiations. Both the government and FARC had permanent delegations in Havana and they worked through a seven point agenda embracing land reform, crop substitutions for coca, transitional justice arrangements and FARC demobilisation/integration. It is an ambitious programme and, as we know in Northern Ireland, full implementation is crucial. It falls to Eamon Gilmore as EU envoy to provide external support.[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Glencree’s role in supporting Colombia’s peace process[/title]Glencree played a small part in the build-up to negotiations by taking part in an NGO capacity building programme between 2004-7 in cooperation with Trocaire and managed by Patty Abozaglo. Over a period of two years, I travelled to Colombia and took part in ten conflict management training workshops across the country with over thirty Colombian partners: in the capital city of Bogotá (2), Medellín (2), Bucaramanga (2), Caquetá (2) and up on the Caribbean coast in the old city of Cartagena (2). Nearly all the participants were directors, staff members and volunteers in regional NGO agencies supported by Trócaire and Irish Aid. All the training was done in Spanish and I usually had two translators at my side to work through PowerPoint presentations on our peace process and interactive roleplays on local conflict issues. I also addressed a large national peace conference organised by the Colombian Catholic Episcopal Conference.[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Fascinated by Political Dialogue Workshops[/title]There were two study visits by Colombian NGO leaders to Glencree and Ireland in 2003 and 2007. These helped them to see what a peace process looked like on the ground and the potential role that civil society groups can play in preparing society to think about inclusive negotiations. They were fascinated about how our political dialogue workshops played a role in underpinning the negotiations and I know that this encouraged some participants to support political initiatives to engage the FARC in the pre-negotiation phase. Another outcome was the incorporation of some of the peace process concepts that I introduced in the workshops into their peace education resource materials.

So peace is a process that comes dropping slow. It is best suited for marathon runners who are there when the process ebbs, regresses and flows forwards into the final political negotiations.

Geoffrey Corry, Glencree Facilitator

Recent Events & Activities

November 27, 2019
Ambassador Dialogue Briefing Series
10/9/19: Attended by 27 EU Ambassadors, the latest in Glencree's Ambassador Dialogue Series focused on the impact of Brexit on British-Irish relations and in particular a possible hard border across the island with submissions from Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Former First Minister Peter Robinson.
July 17, 2019
Glencree Annual Summer Event: Common Good Common Ground
22/6/19: Glencree's 2019 Annual Summer Event centered on the theme of ‘Common Good, Common Ground’ in which the issues and concerns of people from across the island of Ireland were examined.
May 21, 2019
Celebration of Peace during Royal Visit to Glencree
20/5/19: HRH Prince Charles returned to Glencree to unveil a commemorative poem engraving with His Excellency President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. Leaders from cultural, educational, political and business sectors also marked this special event.

More News

June 26, 2020
OPINION: Ireland secures seat at UN Security Council table
“From Cork to the Congo, from Galway to the Gaza strip, from this legislative assembly to the United Nations, Ireland is sending its most talented people to do the world’s most important work – the work of peace” President John F. Kennedy, Address to the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas, 28 […]
May 23, 2020
Podcast: Introduction to Glencree
Glencree was founded on the belief that peace can be achieved through the power of dialogue. Through our podcasts, we want to get a dialogue going around the complex subject of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. 
April 2, 2020
Joint Academic Journal Update
25/6/20: 25 papers from around the world for Academic Journal by Glencree in collaboration with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Part of Glencrees Legacy of Violence, Peace IV project, the Journal will be launched at an Academic Seminar at NUI Galway on 26 November.
March 26, 2020
Covid-19/Coronavirus Advisory
7/5/20: Updates and arrangements following the advice of the Irish Government regarding the evolving Covid-19/Coronavirus situation.
March 18, 2020
ABC Radio Interview with Barbara Walshe
16/6/20: Glencree Chair, Barbara Walshe talks about Glencree’s work and the prospect of Irish unification in an interview with well-known Australian radio host Phillip Adams on ABC Late Night Live.
February 20, 2020
Reception for Permanent Representatives of UN Member States
20/2/20: Glencree team attend reception hosted by President Michael D. Higgins, Patron of Glencree, for the Permanent Representatives of UN Member States

September 15, 2016

Glencree’s role in supporting Colombia’s peace process

[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Geoffrey Corry remembers…..[/title]The news that broke from Havana on 24 August that the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, would soon sign a peace accord with the FARC leader, Timolean Jimenez, was something I had been hoping would happen having followed the progress of the […]
September 15, 2016

Women’s Peace Tables #womenseriously

Talk to me not about me! ‘Whether it’s climate change, whether it’s peace, whether its governance, women can influence the kind of change that we would like to have. There will be no peace without women’.  Irene Santiago, one of 1000 women nominated as a group for the Nobel Peace […]