The Peace Process in Colombia: Communities and Organizations Working for a Better Future
Marcia Mejia Chirimia is an indigenous woman leader of the Sia people in the southwestern Pacific region of Colombia. She lives between the Nonam indigenous community of Santa Rosa de Guayacan, where her family resides, and the coastal port city of Buenaventura. Although she grew up living calmly in her riverside community, she became a victim of the armed conflict in 2010 when her community was displaced to the city of Buenaventura due to threats from the armed groups operating the river. After eleven months of displacement and living in a shelter, Marcia and her community made an autonomous return to their territory and re-founded their community as the Santa Rosa de Guayacan Humanitarian and Biodiverse Reservation, which provided a way of protecting their land and establishing a territory of peace only for the unarmed civilian population. Now, Marcia defends the culture and human rights of her ancestral community, especially focusing on the defense of women's rights. She works with ACIVA, a network of indigenous communities in the Colombian department of Valle del Cauca, and she is also a spokeswoman for CONPAZ. Through her work as a human rights defender, Marcia works for a lasting and true peace for all Colombian communities.
Sponsors of this event include the Dean's Advisory Committee on International Initiatives, American Indian Studies Program, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Department of Sociology, Division of Student Affairs, Intercultural Engagement Center, Hispanic and Latino Cultural Center and American Indian and Indigenous Community Center