A Rotary peace fellow in Bogotá

Published 2:24 pm Friday, July 28, 2017

As a child in Bogotá, Colombia, Lucas Peña was shocked to learn that violence between government forces and insurgent groups prevented his family from visiting relatives elsewhere in the country. Years later in college, he studied the conflict from what he calls an “academic, analytical point of view.”

Only after graduating and joining the effort to demobilize ex-combatants did he really begin to understand the issues behind the violence that has plagued the nation for decades.

Thanks to the Rotary Peace Fellowship, Peña earned his master’s degree in conflict, security and development at the University of Bradford in Bradford, England, in 2015.

He now works for the World Wildlife Fund as a specialist in land governance. A member of the Bogotá Capital Rotary Club, Peña encourages other Colombians to become peace fellows. And it’s working: Five peace fellows were selected from Colombia for 2017.

When asked what he learned from his time as a Rotary Peace Fellow, Pena said peace-building is not only a matter of local communities, not only a matter of national government and not only a matter of the international community; it’s a mix of all those levels. “Another thing I learned,” he said, “is that the world itself is getting safer, in that the number of people killed in conflicts has decreased proportionate to the population. It’s a very long and slow process, but the world is becoming more secure.”

One more Rotarian doing good in the world.