The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

PBPL 85 Travels to Bogota, Colombia

18F PBPL 85 Colombia

The 18F Public Policy 85: Global Policy Leadership course with Professor Charles Wheelan ’88 in Bogota, Colombia during interim.

18F PBPL 85 Colombia

Students meet with local policy leaders: politicians, academics, civil society leaders, journalists, business leaders, diplomats, and other in-country experts who help inform their analyses.

18F PBPL 85 Colombia

The shoe incident threatens a timely arrival.

Article Type 

The Public Policy 85 group landed in Bogota around 6am this Tuesday. Not a group to be tired out easily, we went straight to the hotel spa to change into outfits more appropriate for the three meetings we had lined up in the afternoon. After a quick shower, we all enjoyed a delicious breakfast of hot coffee, omelets, and fresh fruit in the hotel courtyard. Breakfast left just enough time for a walk to the Plaza de Bolivar, a square surrounded by the Cathedral of Bogota, Lievano Palace, and the Palace of Justice.

 

But by 11:30am we were on our way to our first meeting with Angelika Rettberg Biel at the Universidad de los Andes. Professor Rettberg Biel has founded the Research Program on Armed Conflict and Peacebuilding and leads the Peacebuilding master’s program. She also served as a member of the Colombian government’s teach during negotiations with the ELN. We discussed the growing support for the rule of law in Colombia, newly formed police units dedicated to ensuring the safety of former guerillas as they demobilize, and the role of the Mexican cartel in the Colombian drug trade.

 

Our next meeting was back in the library of our hotel with Borja Paladini Adell of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Paladini Adell leads the institute’s Barometer Initiative, a program designed to monitor the implementation of the 2016 peace accords. During our meeting we covered the difficulties of implementation following the initial handshake and the areas in which Colombia has seen progress so far.

 

Our final meeting of the day was in the Bogota office of Ideas Para la Paz with Executive Director Maria Victoria Llorente. We braved the rain to make the meeting, but in a strong reminder that traveling abroad usually involves a few small hiccups, Alexa’s heel was stuck in the grate outside the office, threatening our timely arrival. Thankfully, a team effort was able to dislodge the shoe and we were on our way. The office’s focus on security and crime dominated the conversation, which spanned reintegration measures for the FARC (limited under the Santos administration), what is working and not working with crop substitution programs implemented as a part of the peace accords, and aerial herbicide spraying versus manual eradication as policies for addressing coca cultivation. Ms. Llorente stressed the need for the establishment of local security in marginalized rural areas and infrastructure to bring the legal economy to the Colombian farmers living in extreme poverty. 

 

To cap off the day, we had a group dinner filled with burrata, pasta, fish, and a Colombian fried plantain specialty at a quiet restaurant nearby our hotel. After dinner, everyone headed off for a well-needed sleep, ready to convene again in the morning for our next meeting.

Written by Lexi Curnin '19, a 18F PBPL 85: Global Policy Leadership course participant

This is part of a series where student reflect on their experiences during the field research portion of the PBPL 85:Global Policy Leadership course. The 2018 PBPL 85: Global Policy Leadership class is conducting two weeks of research in Colombia during the off-campus portion of the course. While in country, students meet with local policy leaders: politicians, academics, civil society leaders, journalists, business leaders, diplomats, and other in-country experts who help inform their analyses.

Close
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences