In September 2015, the Colombian government and guerrilla groups pledged to sign peace agreements by March 2016. If successfully implemented, these agreements will end five decades of civil war.

Claudia Navas Caputo is a newly hired advisor on justice and security in the Ministry for Post-conflict, Security and Human Rights, a new office formed by President Juan Manuel Santos.

“Our greatest challenge is thinking about how to respond in that critical moment immediately after peace accords are signed,” says Claudia. “People need to feel that the accords have tangible impacts in their daily lives, especially those living in the areas most affected by war.” 

To prepare for Colombia’s transition to peace, Claudia and her colleagues are examining issues that could imperil the accords and affect citizens’ confidence in the peace process. Based on that research, they are designing projects for the regions most affected, focusing on projects such as road repair and the restoration of community centers, hospitals and schools. 

“Maximizing ‘peace dividends’ and making them visible will be a crucial aspect of the peace process,” Claudia says. 

As a peace studies master’s student at the Notre Dame, Claudia studied both peace theory and practical approaches to conflict. 

“I now have a more holistic understanding of how peace can be built,” Claudia says. “My peace studies education has prepared me to see opportunities for peace even amid the chaos and uncertainty that violence creates.” 

Before coming to the Kroc Institute, Claudia conducted research for the Conflict Analysis Resource Center in Bogotá and also monitored media coverage for the presidential campaign. 

“What I enjoy most about my current work is witnessing and contributing to this historic moment in my country after 50 years of conflict,” Claudia says. “To work side-by-side with leaders so committed to the peace process is truly a privilege.” 

— Renée LaReau, December 2015