President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia has been voted the winner of this year’s Chatham House Prize.

The Chatham House Prize is presented annually to the person, persons or organization deemed by members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.

This year, members of the institute voted for President Juan Manuel Santos in recognition of his role in formally ratifying a peace agreement with the FARC rebel group and bringing an end to the armed conflict in Colombia.

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 conflicts, 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.

Nominees

The nominees for the Chatham House Prize 2017 were:

  • Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana
  • Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia
  • Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO

Event

President Santos will be presented the award at an event in London on Thursday 9 November.

About the Chatham House Prize

The Chatham House Prize is presented to the person, persons or organization deemed by members of Chatham House to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.

The selection process is independent, democratic and draws on the deep knowledge of Chatham House's research teams, making the Prize a distinctive and unique award in the field of international affairs.

A short-list of nominees is selected by the institute's three presidents from a longer list submitted by the research programmes and departments in their areas of expertise. The recipient is then determined by Chatham House's broad membership base on a one-member, one-vote basis. The award is presented on behalf of the institute's patron, Her Majesty the Queen, representing the non-partisan and authoritative character of the Prize.

The Chatham House Prize was launched in 2005. Previous recipients of the Prize include Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, Médecins Sans Frontières, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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