University of Bath School of Management University of Bath School of Management

Dr José Restrepo explains how HE is spreading peace in Colombia

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In his 19 October talk, Dr José Restrepo, president of Universidad del Rosario external website and School of Management alumnus, spoke about the role of universities in the transition to peace in Colombia.

Opening the seminar organised by the International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM) and the Society for Research in Higher Education, Professor Bernie Morley, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, emphasised the importance of the topic in times of global conflict.

DBA (HEM) graduate José then discussed how political crises and organised crime have led to escalating conflict and distrust in Colombia. Prestigious universities have worked hard in many ways to address this and promote peace after more than 50 years of armed conflict.

Speaking after the seminar, Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, Dean of the School of Management and Vice-President of the University of Bath said:

'Every citizen in their heart of hearts seeks a peaceful transformation of society towards a future that ensures inclusive economic and social development.

'This ICHEM seminar highlights the vital role that universities can play in ensuring peace rather than strife.'

4 Rs for peace

José explained how the 4Rs framework (redistribution, recognition, reconciliation and representation) has been vital within higher education in Colombia.

Redistribution

Scholarships for students from low income families and areas of conflict have increased access to higher education. Student numbers have risen by around 15% since 2010, with more than 30,000 benefiting from the 'Se Pilo Paga' programme. This allows the best students with limited economic resources to study at top universities.

Recognition

Key issues like gender equality and diversity are now subjects of university courses, together with courses that promote remembrance, truth and reconciliation. There's also a focus on training of indigenous communities and ex-combatants, many of which have suffered in the post-conflict era.

Representation

Top universities are working together to promote interdisciplinary research to develop capacity to rebuild society. Institutions are also looking to the future by sharing curricula on human rights and writing textbooks to teach new generations.

Reconciliation

Dealing with the legacies of Colombia's past is another priority. Universities contribute to this in many ways, including promoting peaceful conflict resolution and offering workshops for entrepreneurship linked to citizenship.

These measures, which help to promote a better Colombia and keep people from suffering from the country's past, offer lessons for universities in other countries.

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General Notes For Editors:

The School of Management is one of the UK's leading business schools. Currently ranked joint 1st for universities that students would recommend to their friends (Times Higher Education 2016) and 1st for Marketing (The Complete University Guide 2018), we are a leading centre for management research - placed 8th in the UK in the latest REF2014.

We are one of a select number of international business schools accredited by EQUIS, the European Foundation for Management Development's quality inspectorate and the Bath MBA has been accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) since 1976.

The centrality of research to teaching is an essential feature of all our programmes. The School offers a full range of programmes from undergraduate to postgraduate up to PhD level and post-experience programmes including the world-ranked Bath MBA. The School also provides tailored executive development programmes for middle and senior management.

The School of Management has a faculty of over 100 teaching and research staff, including visiting academics, with a professional support team of around 90 managerial and administrative staff. Research income averages £2 million per annum. There are approximately 2,400 students in total comprising some 150 MBA students, over 500 Master’s students, 250 full- and part-time research students, and over 1500 undergraduates following BSc degrees.