In war-weary Colombia, Adventists look ahead to post-conflict challenges
On March 30 of this year, both sides of the decades-long Colombian conflict (the Colombian government and the largest rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) “announced an agreed framework for [peace] talks aimed at ending the conflict.”
Around the same time, “A two-day peace forum held last month at the Adventist Church’s South Colombia headquarters in the capital, Bogotá”—and organized by Gabriel Villarreal, country director of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Colombia—“brought together religious leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics, and others, to discuss strategies for supporting post-conflict reconciliation and rebuilding.” The International Religious Liberty Association and the Seventh-day Adventist Church supported the forum.
“The main goal of this forum was to develop a deeper understanding of the basic elements of the post-conflict phase in Colombia and the peace-building process,” explained Villarreal. He said the presentations focused on ways that NGOs and religious groups could contribute to peace efforts, while also helping to support vulnerable populations in Colombia. Villarreal said that, when peace comes, it is vital for the Adventist Church and ADRA Colombia to be prepared to make substantial contributions.