The 16th Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates was held in Bogota, Colombia from February 2-4, 2017; the first time this summit had ever been held in Latin America. It brought together 27 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates (12 organizations, 15 individuals), over 500 students (and their teachers) from 50 schools and universities, 25 countries and five continents. The summit was also open to the public. Through the good offices of the Albert Schweitzer Institute and its director David Ives, I and another law professor from Quinnipiac University School of Law had the opportunity to bring four law students, as part of a 50-person Quinnipiac delegation, which included about 40 students and a dozen or so faculty and staff.
There were nine plenary sessions over three days covering many aspects of peace, e.g., peace &…democracy, education, reconciliation, and sustainable development. Each one involved one or more of the Laureates or their representatives. As a student of dispute resolution, the session I found most riveting was Session 7: The Colombian Peace Process: Lessons Learned. This session, the first on Day 3, described a negotiation process between two warring parties, which spanned five years. The final agreement, first rejected by Colombian voters, then revised and approved by the Colombian Congress, ended the last war in the Western Hemisphere, a 52-year civil conflict that began in 1964.
What was extraordinary about this session was the panel’s composition, as it included the lead negotiators from both sides and represented the first time they had appeared together in public since the signing of the revised peace accords on November 24, 2016. The panelists, in the order in which they spoke, were:
- Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel, Panel moderator, currently vice president of the Toledo International Centre for Peace, and formerly an Israeli ambassador, Foreign Minister and Knesset member.
- Humberto de la Calle, Colombia, Head of the Colombian government’s negotiating team in Havana.
- Sergio Jaramillo Caro, Colombia, High Commissioner of Peace under President Juan Manuel Santos and a ranking member of the Government’s negotiating team.
- Ivan Marquez, Colombia, Chief Negotiator for the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo).
- Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor, Nobel Peace Laureate, 1996.
- Lord David Trimble, Northern Ireland, Nobel Peace Laureate, 1998.
- Jean Arnault, France, Special Representative, UN Mission in Colombia.
Continued in Part 2 forthcoming next week...