Colombia 's Political System And Policies

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I was a stranger in a foreign country and I was surrounded by numerous people known to have killed in the past. This is how I spent many afternoons during the summer of 2014. That year, I traveled to a city called Cartagena in the South American country of Colombia. At this time, I had big plans of studying law and getting involved in politics. I was involved in a joint program between my undergraduate university and the University of Cartagena, which is where I was introduced to Professor Germán Ruiz. Professor Ruiz worked in the university’s global and public policy office and I was offered an internship with him. I assumed I would be learning about Colombia’s political system and policies but I was surprisingly mistaken. The first day of my internship was the day Professor Ruiz told me about Bonché. Bonché was a social project aimed at combating urban youth violence by using sports to help generate a sustained dialogue between rival street gangs. The project would engage youth gang members in certain outlets that would eventually lead toward open conversations between enemies in an effort to better their communities as a team. I had the opportunity to be involved in the beginning stages of this project. Professor Ruiz, one social worker, one former gang member, and I would travel to the outlying neighborhoods in Cartagena and convince known violent gang members to take part in our project and figure out how best to implement it. The first day of fieldwork we went to a

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