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Juanita Serrano Zapata

Academic Background: Bachelor in Government and International Relations and Master in International Affairs with an emphasis in Peace, Security, and Conflict at Externado University in Colombia. Specialist in Public Policies and Gender Justice.

Areas of Interest: Peace-building, conflict resolution, community dialogue, International Relations, Gender Equality, Collective Action, exile, and migration.

Prior to joining this year’s class as a Rotary Peace Fellow, Juanita worked for three years in The Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition of the armed conflict. This is an autonomous entity parallel to the Colombian state, focused on leading the research of the causes, consequences, impacts, and the specific events that hundreds of victims suffered on the Colombian- Panamanian border due to both the armed conflict and international criminal organisations. In this process, Juanita carried out a research process formulated from gender and ethnic-territorial perspectives.

Juanita also worked as the coordinator of the technical, administrative, and financial protocols of the “Peacebuilding Young Women” project in the region of Urabá, a place in Colombia where people have been significantly affected by the armed conflict. She provided working guiding actions that set the necessary bases for inter-institutional articulation, adaptations of methodology, political incidence, and social strengthening for participants of the project. The project aimed to encourage 965 young women between the ages of 14 and 28 years old to participate in training processes for social leadership, gender equality, and female empowerment for the construction of peace that allowed them to develop peaceful solutions to the violence present in their communities.

She also had the opportunity to prepare a diagnosis for the Norwegian Refugee Council, with regards to the situation of victims of the armed conflict, people who held refugee status, and asylum seekers on the Colombian-Panamanian border, from a gender, differential, and territorial perspective. Juanita worked specifically in Colombia's Urabá Antioqueño and Darien regions and lived in Panama for almost a month. Juanita worked with municipal mayors, territorial entities, social leaders, and victims of the armed conflict, by taking individual and collective interviews with Colombians settled in Jaqué, (Panamá) because of the armed conflict in Chocó (Colombia) as well as a compilation of secondary sources.

Her work experience has been based on the analysis, systematisation, evaluation, and elaboration of recommendations for different entities, to restore the rights and dignity of victims of the armed conflict in Colombia.

Juanita Serrano Zapata

Juanita Serrano Zapata