"The Women Building Peace Award honors women of extraordinary commitment, leadership and impact who are working to build peace and resolve violent conflict in their communities," said USIP President and CEO Lise Grande. "This prestigious annual award celebrates women who are building peace in countries impacted by conflict."
"María Eugenia Mosquera Riascos is a champion for justice, dignity and peace in Colombia," said Grande. "She is a great peacemaker."
Mosquera Riascos is the legal representative of Comunidades Construyendo Paz en Colombia (CONPAZCOL), a grassroots network of 140 victims organizations in 14 departments across Colombia where violent conflict continues. As a peacebuilder and human rights defender, Mosquera Riascos has worked for over 30 years with women, Afro-Colombian, indigenous and small-scale farming communities that have been the victims of social and armed conflict in Colombia.
"Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights and environmental defenders," said Manuel Müller, program coordinator of FOR Peace Presence, an independent organization that accompanies Mosquera Riascos to provide physical safety, political visibility and solidarity. "Despite the difficulties, María Eugenia is at the frontline defending the rights of the most vulnerable communities."
The independent Women Building Peace Council, which is made up of distinguished experts and advisers in the fields of gender and peacebuilding, guided the process of selecting six finalists from this year's nominations and chose the award winner.
In selecting Mosquera Riascos, the council cited her skills and track record in using the many instruments of peacebuilding, her effectiveness in representing traditionally marginalized communities during the peace talks in Havana, and the impact of her 30-year commitment to advancing peace in Colombia.
The award will be presented to Mosquera Riascos at a ceremony in early 2023 at USIP's headquarters on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.