E1-S3 Working on the intersection of faith and peacebuilding in conflict-ridden Colombia with Julio

Summary & Key Takeways

Julio grew up in an area of high conflict in rural Colombia and through lots of smarts and lucky breaks Julio managed to end up in Bogota –the capital- and later in the U.S. where he completed his Master's in Divinity. Julio works in the intersection of faith,  peace, reconciliation and poverty alleviation and unlike many who leave their humble origins to never return, Julio manages to develop local projects with youth from his town in an effort to create sustainable solutions for peace in one of the most dangerous areas in the country. Episode 1 of the Season 3 of The Social Change Career Podcast is brought to you by The Rotary Peace Fellowship.

*Due to the sensitive nature of Julio’s work we will protect his identity in this podcast

Listen to Julio here

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In this episode we discuss:

  • Julio’s brothers and him grew up free until the rebels took over the area when he was 6th.
  • Julio’s family moved to prevent the children to being forcibly recruited by rebel forces.
  • After high school, Julio moved to Colombia’s capital in Bogota where he worked as a messenger. That’s when he met people from his church who later took him to the U.S.
  • Julio’s first job as a messenger in Bogota.
  • Julio received his degree in Theology in Medellin.
  • How Julio met his wife who also works with him in the Church
  • Julio and his wife moved to the U.S. where they lived for 6 years when he completed his masters in divinity
  • While his father is illiterate and his mum has three years of school, his parents taught him to never forget where he came from and to serve
  • Julio had three jobs in Chicago: washing windows in -10 degrees Celsius, teaching Spanish and driving for a family. Also finishing his Masters degree and taking care of his children.
  • After 6 years in the U.S., Julio, his wife and his two sons return to Colombia to work in his church in peacebuilding.
  • Obstacles of working in faith –based issues and peacebuilding according to Julio
  • What it means for Julio to work in the intersection of faith and peacebuilding
  • Julio talks about his work with other ecumenical groups for peace and poverty alleviation
  • Julio’s take on the implementation of the Colombia’s peace agreement from a national and regional view
  • Julio’s own reconciliation process
  • Best career advice that Julio’s has received
  • How Julio and his wife manage his passion and make a living
  • Julio’s take on failure
  • Three things for a career of impact according to Julio


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This episode was brought thanks to the Rotary Peace Fellowship: Are you an existing or emerging peace leader looking to take your career to the next level? You might be eligible to receive full funding to pursue a MA or professional certificate in peace & conflict studies. Learn more about Rotary Peace Fellowships at www.rotary.org/peace-fellowships

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