Campaign India Team
Jun 23, 2017

Cannes Lions 2017: ‘There must be a commitment to more than great ideas’: Juan Manuel Santos

The president of Colombia spoke about how his nation used creativity to usher in peace

Cannes Lions 2017: ‘There must be a commitment to more than great ideas’: Juan Manuel Santos
Nobel peace prize laureate and Colombian President, Santos says that it’s impossible to solve the world’s problems without communication 
The Colombian President has worked as a journalist and served in the navy in his previous avatars. But he’s a firm believer that it’s harder to make peace than war. 
In a discussion where the President spoke about how he managed to push the agenda of a peace in a country that had a bloody civil war for about 50 years, he said that he used a three pronged strategy. One was studying how every other country had approached the peace process by taking lessons from South Africa to Sri Lanka.
The second was to have a team with top bureaucrats from across the globe. One of their negotiators was involved in the negotiations between Arafat and Israel, another had worked as the chief of staff for Tony Blair.
The third, and most important approach was in using the power of creative ideas to resolve the problems of women, as they suffered the most in the conflict.  
He says the biggest hurdle in the path of peace is the popularity of fake news. “There is something that is fashionable called fake news. The campaign against peace in Colombia was full of lies and distorted messages. They saw peace as a way to generate fear. As war continues in rural areas, their campaign very effective in that effect,” he said. 
He says that peace can change sentiments and bring down prejudice. “It’s difficult to tell the ones who have suffered to forgive. We are just trying to reconcile.”
He added that the most important things that armed forces have is legitimacy. He said the army used the power of creative ideas, to decide on how to create incentives for guerrillas to demobilise them. The creative campaign used in the peace process received a global acclaim.
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