Daniel Suárez Zúñiga
Fellow Since 2001
Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá
This profile was prepared when Daniel Suárez Zúñiga was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Daniel Suárez is creating a series of concrete steps by which businesspeople can participate in building peace in Colombia. Having targeted a subset of business leaders already committed to peace initiatives–the Peace Group of Bogotá's Business Leaders Forum–Daniel is leading participating members of a pilot group to "get their own houses in order," identifying ways in which their own practices need to be more transparent, their resolution of internal conflicts more peaceful, and their attention to communities more mindful of social justice. After its first year, the group will expand to include other business leaders, and eventually it will seek to place business representatives in the national peace dialogues alongside political representatives. Although it is not commonly noted, there are enormous incentives for businesspeople to participate in Colombia's peace process. Businesspeople are targets of kidnappings and ransom demands, which are both dangerous personally and costly from a business point of view. It is also hard to do business without peaceful norms in the country. Daniel believes that no other segment of Colombian society has as much potential for positive impact as the business sector has. Business is economically and politically powerful, and it has expertise in implementing solutions to challenges. It is also integrated into all aspects of society, into the Colombian social fabric. Daniel asserts that if businesspeople do not get directly involved in promoting peace, Colombia will have a difficult time building a lasting one.