28 June 2021, Geneva, Switzerland/ Bogotá, Colombia: On 30 June 2021, 16.00-18.00 CEST, The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) brings together a unique virtual panel of artists, peacebuilding and human rights practitioners from Colombia and the Latin American continent to discuss the power of storytelling and art as tools for reconciliation. Featuring among others 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum and the musicians Juanes and Marta Gómez, the panel members will share their diverse experiences in using different forms of artistic expression and storytelling to support communities in moving from mistrust and violence to a culture of dialogue and peace.

In times when societal and political polarization has become a widespread phenomenon across many democratic countries in Latin America and around the world, nurturing narratives of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and reconciliation has become increasingly important. Especially the young generation in Colombia and on the continent is seeking alternative ways to channel their energy to create a vision for a just and inclusive future for themselves and their communities. With the panel event, UNITAR is advancing a dialogue on how to leverage arts and storytelling to bring together different parts of society to counter dynamics of exclusion, violence and to work towards sustainable peace.

Alongside the panel discussion, UNITAR will be sharing the artwork and unique capacity building tools resulting from the project: “Youth-Led Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia: a Transformational Approach”, which has been implemented in Colombia, in partnership with the Colombian NGO Ciudad Don Bosco (CDB) between 2019 and 2020, with the support of a network of 37 local organizations and institutions and the generous funding of the German Federal Foreign Office. The virtual exhibition “Perspectives of Peace” sheds light on diverse lived experiences of reconciliation and resilience across Colombia. The stories and artworks that make up the exhibition, have been collected and curated by Colombian youth, using an empathy-based approach to interviewing community members in conflict-affected areas of the country. The main idea behind this work was to enable an exchange of perspectives and to build a culture of peace by learning to stand in somebody else's shoes and to see through their eyes.

Consistent with the theme of the panel, the event will end with a short musical performance by Latin Grammy Award-winning artist Marta Gómez, with a repertoire of songs connected to reconciliation and peacebuilding.

The panel event is open to the interested public via Zoom with previous registration and will be live streamed on UNITAR’s Facebook channel.

List of speakers, panelists and performer

Confirmed list of speakers

Welcoming remarks

Mr. Nikhil Seth, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNITAR.

Opening remarks

H.E. Mr. Peter Ptassek, German Ambassador to Colombia.

Keynote speaker

Ms. Rigoberta Menchú Tum, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, social leader, activist, political leader, writer and spiritual guide.

Master of Ceremony and Moderator

H.E. Ms. Mónica Beltrán Espitia: Minister Plenipotentiary of Diplomatic Career. Deputy Head of Mission at the Colombian Embassy in Canada.


Mr. “Juanes” Juan Esteban Aristizábal, Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning Colombian musician and singer-songwriter and social activist.

Ms. Pastora Mira, Colombian social leader, representing victims of the armed conflict.

Ms. Luz Marina Monzón, Director of the Colombian Unit for the Search of Disappeared Persons

Mr. Leonardo Párraga, Youth peacebuilder and founder of Fundación BogotArt.

Special performance

Ms. Marta Gómez, Latin Grammy Award winner, Colombian singer-songwriter.

For more information

Please contact:

Sara Casadiego: Sara.CASADIEGO@unitar.org


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a principal training arm of the United Nations, working in every region of the world. We empower individuals, governments and organizations through knowledge and learning to effectively overcome contemporary global challenges. UNITAR was established in 1965 as an autonomous body within the United Nations with the mandate of enhancing the effectiveness of the work of the United Nations and its Member States. In 2020, UNITAR’s reach extended to over 300,000 beneficiaries through mostly e-learning and webinars, and some face-to-face seminars and workshops or other training-related events. (www.unitar.org)

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