Summer school in Germany: An opportunity to support peacebuilding in Colombia

Summer school in Germany: An opportunity to support peacebuilding in Colombia

By Paola Balanta-Cobo
Doctoral Student in Law
Universidad del Rosario

In July and August 2017, through a collaboration project between Colombia and Germany, Instituto CAPAZ provided me the opportunity to attend the summer school at Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany). The project was aimed at directing efforts in the generation of training processes, academic updating, and exchanges between Colombian and German students and professionals, to whom the entire span of the experience became a scenario of continued learning.

I began this trip with academic purposes in mind and came back with an experience that had a great impact on my life in professional, personal and family terms.

I would like to highlight the way in which the summer school is structured. It allowed me to approach the main theoretical and conceptual developments in the international and Latin American arenas in topics relating to human rights, business ethics and comparative constitutional rights. This training went hand-in-hand with German language classes with native professors and academic field trips to cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Potsdam, where we visited emblematic administrative buildings such as the Bundestag and the European Parliament, museums, the Neuengamme concentration camps, churches, parks and other representative places that allowed a broader knowledge of the German culture.

As such, the summer school in Giessen became a platform from which to build relationships and exchange ideas on our research projects or professional work, with professors and students from Germany, the United States, Brazil, Israel and the UK. This allowed me to identify alternatives to recognise the capacity and agency of people situated in the Colombian periphery, who have been the direct victims of the armed conflict. This is a topic that I am working on within the framework of my doctoral studies from a Human and Social Sciences perspective. The summer school at Giessen University was an experience which was full of history, learning and cherished moments