Despite the result of the referendum held on October 2, Colombian citizens have been engaging in peaceful marches in many cities, especially in Bogotá where the youth have frequently called for unity and reconciliation in a series of peace camps. One Young World 2016 attendees residing in Canada decided to take action and organize marches in two different cities, Montreal and Ottawa, with a single message: we want peace now.
Recognising that our country has been experiencing an internal ideological and violent conflict for over 52 years, we must focus on what bring us together instead of what separates us. Despite our different opinions on how it should be done, we all agree on our end goal: we all want harmony and a better future for our families and fellow citizens.
We have had enough of living with fear. Colombia is ready to move forward. However, it will be a long journey, during which we need to overcome many obstacles. Today, it is no longer a matter of 'yes' vs. 'no' voters; it is about getting a nation together to finally and successfully achieve much-needed long-lasting reconciliation.
After almost three years of negotiations between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC, the result of the referendum was certainly unexpected. Some could label it as a “failure”, yet we prefer to see it as an opportunity to unify our country, to listen to others’ concerns and to further collaborate towards building a better place for all.
One Young World Ambassadors Jonathan Lopez, Maria Cristina Silgado, Juan Sebastian Castro, Juan Diego Ubaque, Alicia Rémont
Inspired by the positive impact the marches in Colombia have had, One Young World Colombian Ambassadors in Montreal helped organize a march in which Colombians of all ages were able to send a message to Colombia and to the world. We wanted to show our support from Canada and encourage our government to continue the negotiations with the FARC to devise a more inclusive agreement.
Support for the Colombian peace efforts from those around the world came to light when Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 7 for his efforts to bring the conflict to an end.
In Ottawa, One Young World Ambassadors Paola Andrea Pardo and Tania Guevara assisted in the organization of a gathering in front of the Canadian Parliament where many citizens called for understanding and perseverance.
Colombia remains optimistic about finding a prompt solution to this conflict. Meanwhile, Bogotá gets ready to welcome One Young World in 2017 and show all the positive things Colombia has to offer to the world.
Jonathan Lopez is a One Young World Ambassador representing Colombia. He is a student at McGill University and co-founder of Moniversity which provides accessible financial knowledge to university students in Montreal.