Featured Voices

Francia Márquez is an Afro-Colombian environmental and human rights activist, community leader and Vice President of Colombia. In 2018 she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for spearheading a campaign to stop illegal mining in her community of la Toma, Cauca. Márquez is one of Colombia`s most recognizable and outspoken social leaders. Her name is synonymous with resistance, territorial defense, and the rights of women, Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples.  

The views she shared on peace are outlined here.

Senator Aida Quilcué is an indigenous leader from Tierradentro, Cauca. A member of the Nasa group, Quilcué has occupied a number of leadership roles for various organizations, including the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) and the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC). Quicué is a currently a Senator from Colombia`s Alternative Indigenous Social Movement (MAIS).  She has led dozens of indigenous mobilizations, including the 2020 Minga Indígena that culminated with tens of thousands of peaceful indigenous protestors from Cauca arriving to Bogotá, urging the national government to take action against the rampant violence affecting Colombia`s indigenous territories. 

The insights she shared on peace and development towards the indigenous communities of Colombia are outlined here.

Professor Lucy Herney is an Afro-Colombian teacher from Timbiqui on Cauca’s Pacific coast.  With more than 40 years of experience in education, Prof. Lucy – as her students affectionately call her – holds a tremendous understanding of how schooling is traditionally employed in rural Colombia, as well as valuable insights into how best to use education as a tool for peace and positive social change.

Her experiences with educational practice and schooling’s role in bolstering peace in Colombia are outlined here.

Mario Rodríguez challenged the state for over 15 years as a former FARC combatant until he was one of the first to demobilize with the signing of the Colombian peace accords in 2016.  Since then, he has joined with others who have laid down their arms to organize a coffee cooperative to provide employment and social welfare to themselves and their families.

His insights on experiencing violence from both sides of the conflict are introduced here.