The German-Colombian Peace Institute (CAPAZ, in Spanish) is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD, in German) with financial resources from the Federal Foreign Office in Germany (Auswärtiges Amt). The institute aims to accompany the peace process in Colombia from a perspective that combines research, teaching and outreach. The CAPAZ Institute seeks to establish itself as a cooperation platform for disseminating knowledge about peace studies in order to contribute to the consolidation of a society that transcends the post-conflict stage.
The Institute will be established in three phases, starting with a three-year development phase (2016- 2019), followed by a four-year institutionalization phase and a three-year consolidation phase after mid-term evaluations.
The successful consortium on the German side consists of Justus Liebig University (Giessen) as lead agency, Georg August University (Göttingen), Freie Universität Berlin with the Institute for Latin American Studies and the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt; an additional partner is the clinic for psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy of the Albert Ludwigs University (Freiburg).
In Colombia, a parallel consortium – the Colombian Alliance of Universities for Peace (Alianza Universitaria por La Paz) – has been established and will be coordinated by Universidad Nacional, the Universidad Externado de Colombia, the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, the Universidad de los Andes and the Universidad del Rosario, additional institutions as well as individual partners have already and will be taken on board, including regional universities in Colombia (such as Universidad Industrial in Santander (Bucaramanga)).The two lead partners have entered into a cooperation agreement and the consortia will provide the necessary stability to serve as a foundation for the establishment of the CAPAZ.
Professor of Public Law and International Law at Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany, and head of the newly established International Law Research Group of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt. He chairs the German National Committee on International Humanitarian Law, is a member of the Advisory Board on United Nations Issues of the German Foreign Office and First Vice-President of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.
Thilo Marauhn has held visiting professorships at the Universities of Bergen, Madison (Wisconsin), Rovaniemi, Tromsø and California Western School of Law, San Diego; he holds a permanent visiting position at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland. Among the various externally funded research projects, the most recent one addresses “UN policing – legal basis, status and directives on the use of force” (German Foundation of Peace Research).
The CAPAZ will be unique in linking research, teaching and consultancy in the midst of an ongoing peace process and an evolving post-conflict situation. This requires sustainable academic structures addressing Colombia’s violent history and aiming at a peaceful future.
The CAPAZ will be based upon experience, challenges and expertise in Colombia. Its work will be enriched by lessons learned in Germany and embedded in a broad international discourse. The CAPAZ will thus contribute to build robust peace in a post-conflict society.
While its main activities will take place in Colombia, the future CAPAZ will also be of benefit to German partners and the broader international community. It will perform and support cooperative research projects, staff and student exchange, summer schools, graduate programs for peace studies and transitional justice, and knowledge exchange.
The CAPAZ will not be purely academic but aims at practical effects. It operates on an interdisciplinary basis and builds bridges between academia, organized civil society, government institutions and other relevant actors. Based upon the above-illustrated focus, it will primarily build upon the disciplines of law, political science and education, accompanied by others on a needs-based assessment. It will employ various approaches: research, graduate teaching (Master’s and PhD level), transfer of knowledge (including consultancy) and further education.
This includes consultancy and various outreach activities. Beyond existing academic communities, it aims to allow students from marginalized groups of society to access its study program. This will enhance the distribution of knowledge, strengthen multipliers and thus contribute to capacity building. It will promote ownership of all aspects required for sustainable peacebuilding, in all parts of the country, thereby meeting demands from particularly affected regions.
This illustration shows an overview of the three pillars of CAPAZ’s working structure.
The CAPAZ will be established at the seat of the Universidad Nacional, which will act as a host. Core staff of the CAPAZ shall include a full professor, a secretariat, and a German as well as a Colombian research/teaching assistant.
The academic advisory board, in addition to its advisory role, will be in charge of all basic decisions concerning the establishment of the CAPAZ. It will include members of the consortium, with Professor Marauhn and Ambos as well as PD Dr. Wolff already having consented to participation. Colombian members will join the academic advisory board subsequently.