Women leaders from Chile and Colombia share their experiences in conflict resolution and peacebuilding

12 Jun 2024

Women leaders from Chile and Colombia share their experiences in conflict resolution and peacebuilding


In Cauca, Indigenous Mapuche women from the Araucanía region in Chile, Nasa and Misak women from Colombia and local women leaders shared their experiences as part of the International Conference of Women Mediators for Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution.

The conference of Indigenous women of the Mapuche peoples of the Araucanía, Chile, and Indigenous women of the Nasa and Misak peoples, from Cauca, kicked off with a ceremonial ritual with plants, seeds and natural distillates commemorating the ancestral traditions of spiritual healing and renewal. This forum, held last 22 May, was part of the four-day binational conference between Colombian and Chilean women leaders to share experiences and proposals for peace from the territory with an intersectional gender and ethnic approach.

Araucanía, in Chile, is a multi-ethnic region that, like Cauca, has faced social development challenges throughout its history, exacerbated by different political, social, and economic conflicts. Women, particularly Mapuche women, have played a fundamental role in promoting women’s organizational processes in defense of the territory, environmental protection, and women’s rights.

In Popayán, the ceremony was the prelude to the panel discussion ‘Weaving the word and knitting territorial peace from and for women,’ in which participants shared their thoughts, visions and strategies to redefine the value of women as peacebuilders from their own worldview. The panel discussion centered on the defense of life and territories, as well as their efforts to bring attention to the role of women within their communities and territorial peacebuilding agendas.

“For us, the Indigenous women of the CRIC, sharing these experiences taught us about the resilience of our Mapuche sisters. They keep on leading their processes, are resilient and have managed to move forward as Indigenous women,” said Mayer Sánchez, Coordinator of the Women’s Programme of the CRIC, at the conference's closing.


Dialogue with women peace signatories and women’s organizations

At Casa de las Manuelitas, in Popayán—a symbol of the struggle for peace, reconciliation, and memory reconstruction—Chilean and Colombian Indigenous women held a dialogue with women signatories of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian government and the extinct FARC-EP, and with community leaders from Cauca. Women in the process of reintegration shared their stories of resistance and how they are building alternative lifestyles.

To conclude the visit, the delegates from the Araucanía talked with spokespersons of state organizations, including the Office for Women of the Government of Cauca, the Unit of Land Restitution, the Rural Development Agency, and Universidad del Cauca at the United Nations Verification Mission Regional Office in Popayán. Sergio Pivaral, Head of the Popayán Regional Office, stressed the importance of binational dialogue and creating a network to share experiences and knowledge among women peacebuilders.

Peace environments

Teresa Coroso Quinchao—a Mapuche Indigenous woman leader from the Araucanía region—acknowledged the courage of women from Cauca who continue seeking peace through dialogue. “They are building peace environments and have faced complex situations. I think their enormous strength is a lesson for us. I will take that strength with me to continue working with my network of women, with the message that we can build a better world in our territories.”


National Conference

In addition to these conferences of women in Popayán, there were spaces for dialogue at the national level with female justices of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the School of Gender and the Center for Peace Process Monitoring of Universidad Nacional de Colombia, as well as representatives of the National Summit of Women and Peace, former negotiators of the peace process between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, and the adviser for Gender Equality and Feminist Foreign Policy (PEF) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, who highlighted the relevance of South-South cooperation in the framework of the PEF and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda.

“The objective of this meeting of women peacebuilders is to promote the exchange of knowledge, experiences and capacity building in the field of mediation, conflict prevention and resolution from an intersectional gender and Indigenous approach, strengthening regional alliances within the framework of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda,” explained Devanna de la Puente, Gender Advisor at the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.

This conference was a continuation of the Conferences of Latin American Women Peacebuilders, which began with the first conference in Colombia in 2022, and in El Salvador in 2023. This event was sponsored and supported by the Embassy of Chile, UN Women, and the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia. It included a delegation of Mapuche women leaders, representatives of the National Indigenous Development Corporation (CONADI), the Presidential Commission for Peace and Understanding, and Universidad de la Frontera (UFRO).


By: Daniel Sandoval
Public Information Officer
United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia


Note for editors

We share a link with Photos and video fulles of the 4 days of the Meeting of Women Peacebuilders: