In 2016, after four years of negotiation, Juan Manuel Santos led the Colombian government in ratifying a peace agreement with the FARC. Success was by no means certain: after coming to a ceasefire and disarmament agreement in June, followed by a peace accord in September, Santos was forced to return to the drawing board with FARC negotiators after a referendum in October rejected the initial deal. But Santos persevered, drafting and signing a new deal that incorporated changes suggested by the No camp and was ratified by the Colombian congress on 24 November 2016.
The deal ended one of the world’s longest running armed conflict, during which 220,000 people were killed and 6 million displaced. This was a complex, sensitive and intense process which required exceptional political diplomacy and perseverance. Ultimately, his determination and commitment to peace guided the main parties and international partners to one of the biggest successes in brokering peace in modern history.