Peacebuilding and Urban Violence


Since Spring 2016 Duke’s CLACS has been working with the Sanford Latin American & Caribbean student group (Sanford LAC), with participants from the Masters of International Development Policy and Masters of Public Policy program, to organize events in the series on “Peacebuilding and Urban Violence in Latin America.”

The objectives are to discuss and develop innovative approaches in public policy to address crime and violence in the region and strengthen networks between Latin American policymakers and the Duke community. We see this collaboration as an important means for us to build ties with future program alumni who will return to their countries and become leaders there.



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Social movements and indigenous struggles 

Monday, May 17. 4:30-6:00 pm. EST

PARO COLOMBIA | COLOMBIA HUELGA Movimientos sociales y luchas indígenas, by

Colombia entered into a general strike on 28 April responding to a tax reform presented by the government to congress to raise revenue amid the Covid pandemic and economic hardship.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in the capital Bogotá in addition to demonstrations in other major cities and smaller towns. While this year’s protests were triggered by the now-suspended tax reform, they are a continuation of nationwide anti-government protests which began in November 2019.

Indigenous groups have also joined in the protests. They are among those hardest hit by the continuing violence in rural areas, and the pandemic, where dissident members of the FARC rebel group, drug dealers (former factions of paramilitary units), and criminal organizations fight the security forces as well as rival armed groups to secure territories left by the rebels and never claimed by the state. Indigenous leaders are among those killed since the beginning of the protests (Indepaz).

This event presents visions of such events that brought indigenous groups, youth movements, and large segments of the population to the streets.



Laura Quintana. Director Department of Philosophy, Department of Social Sciences. Associate Professor. Universidad de los Andes. (Her work focuses on the formation of political subjects in Colombia from the perspective of social sciences and the humanities)

María Fernanda Fitzgerald Galindo. Journalist and producer at 070 / Cerosetenta (an independent journalist outlet working within social movenents especially youth in Colombia).

Didier Chirimuscay and Piapya Fernández. Indigenous leaders. Movimiento de Autoridades Indígenas del Sur Occidente-AISO

Moderated by: Miguel Rojas Sotelo. Duke CLACS

Organized by: Laura Vargas & Mateo Villamizar-Chaparro. Duke University

The first event was held April 15-16, 2016, and featured panelists Enrique Betancourt of Chemonics International, Wayne J. Pitts from RTI International, and Andrés Villaveces of the World Bank. Funding was generously provided by the Hanscom Endowment/Office of Global Affairs, the Sanford School for Public Policy, the Duke Center for International Development, and the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center. Read the report on the 2016 event.

A Working Group on Latin American Politics has been meeting since 2018 with policymakers regarding issues of social participation, electoral practices, localized violence, and governance in the region. 



In April 17, 2020, a private session for an upcoming film on the Migration of Indigenous youth from Guatemala to New York City (Five Years North, Optimist Films, 2020) was organized with members of the BASS CONNECTIONS project: Migration and Deportation among Guatemalans in the U.S. and Guatemala (Spring 2020)

Historically, migration has had an important cyclical component, with migrants leaving and returning home many times in response to family needs in their communities of origin as well as opportunities at their new destination. In today’s world, the circular nature of migration is often forced as governments are deporting millions of migrants every year. From the Turkish government’s proposal to deport millions of displaced Syrians, to the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to deport tens of thousands of Central Americans from the U.S., it is increasingly important to understand the implications of deportation for the migrants themselves, the communities from which they are taken and the communities to which they are forcibly returned.

Five Years North is the coming-of-age story of Luis, an undocumented boy in New York City desperate to bring the American Dream back home to Guatemala. Alone, he struggles to work, study, and evade Judy—the Cuban-American ICE agent who patrols his neighborhood.


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In June 3, 2020 a Book Club featuring books of the Duke UNC-CH Translation Series revised twenty years of Self Defense organizations in Mexico. Our first book is Self-Defense in Mexico: Indigenous Community Policing and the New Dirty Wars (UNC Press 2020) by Luis Hernández Navarro.

Luis Hernández Navarro is a journalist and the opinion editor of La Jornada in Mexico City. He has a long record of covering social movements and activism and participated in the San Andrés Accords during the 1994 Zapatista uprising.