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The Edinburghs

The Duchess Of Edinburgh makes important visit to Colombia

The Duchess of Edinburgh, has returned from a four-day solo trip to the Republic of Colombia.

The purpose of the visit was to meet with female survivors of gender-based violence. Many of these women and girls were attacked during a 52-year conflict that recently ended with a peace agreement in 2016. Her Royal Highness is a champion the survivors of conflict related sexual violence and the rights of women and girls.

Starting in Bogota, the Duchess of Edinburgh met Francia Márquez who is the country’s first Afro-Colombian Vice President, Minister of Equality and Equity and renowned environmental activist.

At the Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation, women impacted by the armed conflict, joined Sophie to view an exhibition of artwork, “Spinning with Patience to Weave Hopes for Peace.” It was here that Her Royal Highness participated in a discussion with the UK and Canadian Embassies and women from the Colombian Armed Forces, about how women must be included at all levels of peace processes.

Her Royal Highness then went to Cali to meet with women business owners and organisations. This area was highly impacted by years of conflict. Sophie had to opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of the region.

The second day of her visit was agriculture-based. The Duchess of Edinburgh visited the Trópicos Fruits of Hope Coffee Farm. This farm helped rebuild the economy and employed over 100 former FARC soldiers and are incorporating women into building peace.

In her role as honorary president of LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), an organisation dedicated to sustainable food production, Sophie went to the Centre for Research on Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) Seed Bank. CIAT promotes food security through climate adaptation and the role of women in science.

The Duchess of Edinburgh is a champion of the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). Colombia has a large number of women who are survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). Her Royal Highness met with survivors to hear their stories and how they are playing a role in the peace process. Next year, Colombia will chair the International Alliance on PSVI.

Her Royal Highness is the Patron of the London College of Fashion. In Colombia, she had the opportunity to attend a peace and sustainable fashion showcase called ‘Moda-Paz-Sostenibilidad’. The event showed the connection between peace and the environment. It featured the work of designers impacted by the armed conflict. They help the economy by creating jobs in areas that have been decimated by conflict and their fashion brands are sustainable, protecting the natural world.

During her trip, Sophie met local dancers from Incolballet, the Colombian Ballet Institute. She had the opportunity to hear about the impactful role arts play in helping communities rebuild and bring about peace.