Advice for Peace: Ending Civil War in Colombia

By — on / Great Negotiator Award, Pedagogy at PON, Teaching Negotiation

Colombia Peace Advisory Team

Check out this freely available video of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his Peace Advisory Team as they discuss lessons learned from the Colombian peace process negotiations with the FARC guerrillas.


The civil war in Colombia lasted 52 years, taking the lives of at least 220,000 people and displacing up to seven million civilians. In 2012, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos initiated peace process negotiations with the FARC guerrillas that resulted in a historic agreement in 2016. Before the start of the negotiations, President Santos convened a team of international negotiation advisors to bring best practice negotiation advice from other peace processes around the world. This Peace Advisory Team made over 25 trips to Colombia over the ensuing seven years. Upon receiving the Program on Negotiation (PON) Great Negotiator Award in 2017, President Santos remarked that if there were one piece of advice he would give another head of state embarking on a peace process, it would be to convene such a Peace Advisory Team.

In October of 2018, PON hosted a small conference with President Santos and his Peace Advisory Team to draw out the lessons of this pioneering innovation in international peace process negotiations. In this 45-minute video, the members of the Peace Advisory Team reflect on the Colombian peace process negotiations, explain what happened behind closed doors, assess what worked well and what did not, and distill what lessons can be carried forward for resolving future conflicts.

(This video has been made freely available by the Program on Negotiation for educators and diplomats to learn about using a team of negotiation experts to bring about peace.)

This video features:

  • Juan Manuel Santos, Former President of Colombia, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
  • William Ury, Harvard Negotiation Specialist
  • Dudley Ankerson, Political Consultant, Expert in Latin America
  • Jonathan Powell, Chief British Negotiator of the Good Friday Agreement
  • Bernard Aronson, US Special Envoy for the Colombian Peace Process
  • Shlomo Ben-Ami, Lead Negotiator at Camp David

Produced by:

  • The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School


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