By: Maria Alejandra Ramírez – Participant AlaPAZ 2019-I
May 24 th – 2018
Today is a very special day for all of us, the 42 graduates and their families and friends, Dr. Juan Manuel Santos, Dr. María Margarita Zuleta and Dr. Diana Betancourt, the ambassadors, the media, and other attendees; I welcome you and extend my warmest greetings.
We express our eternal gratitude to the members of Compaz Foundation, to the School of Government “Alberto Lleras Camargo” of the Universidad de los Andes, to the ALAPAZ Leadership for Peace Academy, to the facilitators, monitors and to Maite Careaga who will always be in our hearts, although we didn’t have the fortune of meeting her.
It is an honor for me to share with you the feelings of my 42 fellow leaders of AlaPAZ, coming from different regions of Colombia. From the pearl of the pacific embraced by deep forests; from the strength of the indigenous people of Cauca and Valle del Cauca; from the peasants of the largest páramo in the world; from the green sea of Colombia that meets with the sound of the harps; from the land of the Cundinamarca cliffs; from the corralito de piedra; from the Serranía de la Macarena; from the musical capital of Colombia; from the beaches where you witness the birth of whales; from the land where the Escarabajos were born; from the region where the bambucos resound and the city that brings us 2.600 meters closer to the stars.
When we arrived here, we had many questions and were full of uncertainty, but also had our hearts open to learn how to continue building peace within our communities. As the days went by, and with the help of the coaches, we understood that what they were really looking for was to lead us to discover and explore our essence in order to strengthen our spirit, to understand that feelings are fundamental in our work as leaders and guardians of the territory in peace. With each tool they gave us, they guided us in a journey to the depths of our being, discovering emotions that we ignored in our daily lives. Here we were able to laugh, cry, scream, hug, sing, dance, love, look into each other’s eyes and be able to reflect in those of others and understand that I am you and you are me.
We were also reminded that in every human being there is something that we have, that does not change, that does not go away, and that lasts in our being regardless of the pain that left scars in our heart. We were taught to recognize, to forgive, and to transform pain. We learned so much, that we were able to gather enough energy to touch the sky, push mountains and smile with our hearts.
We learned to love and accept ourselves as we are. We have learned that we must first find our inner peace in order to conquer an outer peace, the feminine power that moves the world. We have learned to recognize ourselves in our humanity and how to weave networks to build an integral and peaceful society, to know ourselves as leaders in order to get to know the other members of our community.
We will never forget the qualities of the coaches of AlaPAZ, their empathy, their serenity, their kindness, their smiles, their tears, their poems, their spontaneity, their affection, their love, their creativity, their efficiency, their humanity and, above all the angel that each one of them represents. Thank you so very much, this experience has changed our lives.
We are not the same people who arrived here last week. We leave with a great responsibility towards our territories. Above all, we celebrate the beggining of a collaborative network formed by stories as unique as the different regions of Colombia.
We represent diversity: educators, social leaders, defenders of the territory (indigenous peoples, peasants, and Afro-colombians), agents of reconciliation that have left behind the labels of victim or victimizer, to build peace.
We also need to highlight the legacy of women in every victory of humanity, claiming their rights to a comprehensive transformation of the society. AlaPAZ not only empowered women in the importance of their role, but also raised awareness among men to value the role that women have in society, questioning the patriarchal system and getting closer to our essence, our true humanity.
One of the most beautiful experiences was the creation of a mural of peace, where we could represent our regions, our diversity, our thoughts and feelings. We put into practice values such as coherence, equanimity, human dignity, forgiveness and compassion, thus understanding that we are interdependent beings and that we must be in harmony with our mother earth and with the universe. We must return to the origin remembering that we are a cosmic family finding the divine love, and equally, discovering that the greatest power that human beings have is to give meaning to things, therefore we decide the meaning we give to the things that happen to us.
We hope our legacy will be our joy, our tumbao, our tears and the meaning of our ancestral culture that shone bright these days.
Today we return to our territories with the strong conviction to continue working, but now more determined to explore without fear, to experiment from different perspectives. We return to put into practice the spiral of conscious leadership that will guide the path we must take to achieve the change we desire, understanding that the smallest of actions can have great impact.
Again, THANK YOU, we hope that our energy and endless love will be an example for the leaders of our country. Our time is now and we must work together to achieve peace with social and environmental justice.
Dear family, we are the guardians of peace and we are ready to take on this great challenge with our hearts and souls.
Peace leaders – AlaPAZ 2019-I