Major Leadership Features of the Peace Process in Colombia
Keywords:peace process, peace negotiation, colombia, political leadership
This article examines the main leadership components of peace negotiations between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana, Cuba. It identifies the leadership factors associated with the success of the four-year peace process that started in 2012; while comparing it to previous peace dialogues in Colombia to draw out the political learning process. The hypothesis is that three components, namely political learning in its complexity, the inclusion of women, and the inclusion of victims, have been crucial for the success of the peace process. Firstly, the concept of political learning is understood as materialising as a political leadership function. Second, in an idiosyncratic and to some extent patriarchal culture like Colombia’s, it is essential to examine the role of women in the peacebuilding process as engaging negotiators and mediators, rather than as only being passively exposed to politics. Third, the inclusion of victims in peace negotiations was an uncommon decision, and it appears to have eased the Accords. This article also contends that leadership as process, and in particular leadership styles, are fundamental to understanding the complexity that led to ending the world’s longest-running civil war.