A Conflict Transformation Analysis of Local Peacebuilding Initiatives in the Montes de María Region of Colombia: The Case of Sembrandopaz

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Zapata - Cancelado, Maria Lucia
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The thesis is a response to criticisms of conflict transformation and local peacebuilding as idealistic and with no power of leverage. In this context, it did not intend to provide a new theory but to explore in depth an example of conflict transformation and its contribution in the strengthening of local peacebuilding in a post-accord setting. The study explores local peacebuilding in Colombia under the framework of conflict transformation by analyzing the Asociación Sembrando Semillas de Paz (Sembrandopaz), translated as Sowing Seeds of Peace. Sembrandopaz is a local NGO operating in Montes de María, one of the regions most affected by the internal armed conflict in Colombia. Through participant observation and personal interviews, the research found that Sembrandopaz embraces tenets of conflict transformation, such as its multidimensional approach to peacebuilding, strengthening of relationships, inclusion of different actors, promoting a long-term vision, and constructing relational platforms. The thesis findings also support literature highlighting the importance of hybrid approaches that combine local peacebuilding initiatives and with top-down approaches. The study found that Sembrandopaz integrates elements of conflict transformation, traditional approaches to liberal peace, nonviolence, social justice and a long tradition of campesino movements in Montes de María.
Conflict transformation, Local Peacebuilding, Local Peacebuilding, Colombia