BACUP was set up by a group of academics working in the UK on Colombia literally to offer ‘back up’ support to the Colombian peace process from the UK. The BACUP network is open to all academics in the UK from any discipline who have an interest in Colombia. It acknowledges the significance but fragility of the peace talks, which began in Oslo and then moved to Havana for discussion of the five point agenda in November 2012 and which will continue throughout 2013. These peace talks offer an opportunity to address one of the multiple sources of violence in the country (the longstanding armed conflict with the FARC), arguably the most emblematic of the country’s troubled recent history. As a network of scholars, BACUP understands its role as building a group of critical friends to this peace process, contributing deeper understanding of the diverse historical roots of armed conflict and violence as well as looking forward to what a Colombia ‘under peace’ might look like.
Our first aim is to open inter-academic debate around the various thematic areas of the peace process and to follow its progress. Secondly, we wish to promote informed public debate in the UK and Europe about its significance, its impact, its limits and potentiality. With respect to the first, we will organise a series of academic encounters during 2013, and with respect to the second, we will disseminate the findings from these encounters via a website (Peace by Piece/Paz por Pasos), making the debates accessible to a wider audience. We also aim to organise an international event in the course of the year. We consider ourselves a resource for policy makers and the press on background analysis of the talks and we will be closely linked to organisations on the ground in Colombia with whom we will maintain communication and dialogue. While the peace talks are extremely important, we recognise the many obstacles to a deep and lasting peace in Colombia, a peace that tackles the drivers to the multiple violences in the country. Our objective is also to look beyond the immediate talks towards issues concerning how sustainable peace is built over time, as well as to the problems faced with the prospect of a post-conflict transition.
The blog entries and the materials included on this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of all BACUP members.