Our Team

Ricardo Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas

Founder and Director

Ricardo is the founder and director of Sembrandopaz. A human rights lawyer and Mennonite peace activist, Ricardo has dedicated his entire life working for the benefit of Colombia’s most marginalized people. He also founded Justapaz, the Christian Center for Justice, Peace and Non- Violent Action, in Bogota and was its director for 13 years. He was also the Protestant representative on the National Peace Council which serves as an advisory board for the President of Colombia when he convenes it. Ricardo has served on the boards of many organizations and has also co-founded many other organizations and networks.

While being especially gifted at grassroots organizing, he is also an accomplished speaker, mediator, and teacher. He recently was instrumental in establishing a Social Conflict and Peace-building Master’s Program at the University of Cartagena.

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NarcisoNarciso Diaz

Farm Manager

Narciso is the manager of Sembrandopaz’ model farm, Finca Villa Barbara. Narciso is a peasant farmer who had to abandon his own farm in the province of Cordoba after being shot in the face by illegal armed forces and having to flee for his life. As a displaced person, he understands firsthand the plight of the displaced people with whom Sembrandopaz works and is an eloquent speaker for visitors to the farm. He has recently become convinced of the virtues of sustainable farming which will help him manage the farm in more harmony with nature.

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LillianLillian Hall

International Relations Coordinator

Lillian Hall works in a variety of areas within Sembrandopaz. Having received degrees in international agriculture from Cornell University and the University of California, Davis, and having worked as an agronomist and owned her own farm in Nicaragua, she helps manage Sembrandopaz’ farm, Finca Villa Barbara, in conjunction with other members of the Sembrandopaz team. Her skills in international relations and project management, from her fourteen years as in-country director of a small non-government organization in Nicaragua, enable her to help Sembrandopaz in these areas. Having led student delegations in Nicaragua for many years as a way to create bridges of understanding and solidarity, she hopes to develop this area within Sembrandopaz. She also contributes to the social communication work and the Chòcoro Cultural Space. Her personal interests include studying foreign languages, gardening, baking, soap-making, and reading.

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vero1Veronica Montaño Chamorro

Coordinator of Legal Services

Veronica Montaño Chamorro is from Sincelejo, Sucre, Colombia. She graduated from the law school at the Corporacion Universitaria Del Caribe. Veronica joined Sembrandopaz in 2013 helping as a volunteer in the peaceful mobilization of hundreds of peasant victims of the violence in the High Mountain Zone of Montes de Marìa. With this march, the peasant farmers demanded their rights to transformative and integral reparations, a dignified return to their lands, guarantees of no repetition of the violence, and subsidies for the losses of their avocado crops which is their main cash crop. Currently, Veronica is a member of the political and legal team at Sembrandopaz from which she accompanies several communities in their demands to the state for rights as they are entitled to through the national Victims and Land Restitution Law. Veronica is also a founding member of the Sucre chapter of Movice, the Movement of Victims of Crimes of the State.

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Osman Osmar Jose Ortega

Facilities Manager

Osmar Jose Ortega is someone who helps in everything for caring for and maintaining the building to helping with logistics in the administrative offices. He is a lover of nature and is in charge of taking care of our green spaces. He likes to be helpful, responsible, and joyful. He has been with us since late 2012 and he feels very content with the work Sembrandopaz does given the human warmth of the organization. He admires the organization’s dedication, commitment and quick responses to the communities with whom we work.

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DarisDaris Luz Padilla Guzman

Administrative Assistant

Daris contributes in the administrative area as assistant in the Chocoro Cultural Space, and in book-keeping. She studies accounting. She likes to travel, read, cook, and listen to others. She feels privileged to belong to such an excellent group because it’s a space whose processes are enriching both to one personally as well as to the communities. She has been accompanying the work of Sembrandopaz for 8 years.

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lani Lani Pickard

Community Volunteer

Lani currently lives in Sincelejo, Sucre. Her work with Sembrando Paz consists of supporting the community leaders in the peace processes and economic development of the community, psychosocial support of the community, learning and sharing traditions and customs. She has been with Sembrando Paz since December 2013. In May 2013, she completed a Master’s of Social Work degree at the University of Denver, with a focus on trauma therapy and working with Latinos and Latinas. She has experience teaching, practicing therapy, and coaching. She is originally from Minnesota, USA, but has lived in Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia. She loves to cross country ski, bake, read, explore, and play frisbee. Her favorite color is yellow.

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StellaStella Ramos Doria

Financial Administrator

Stella, financial administrator, contributes to Sembrandopaz by keeping track of the finances in a precise, opportune, and credible manner as to keep the organization informed of economic movements and the general financial state. She is also in charge of administrative tasks at Sembrandopaz’ main office. Stella has a degree in Book-keeping and Finances from the Universidad IAFIC, Sincelejo campus, and has ten years of experience in book-keeping. Four years ago she joined the team at Sembrandopaz and thanks God for this wonderful opportunity.

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Etel Etelvina Salas

Agricultural Administrator

Etel, agricultural administrator, has been part of the Sembrandopaz team since 2008. As coordinator of productive projects, she visits the communities to provide advice and accompaniment regarding the productive projects and to gather information for reporting on their progress. She also advises and accompanies the productive processes at Sembrandopaz’ own farm, Villa Barbara. She also collaborates in the writing of socio-economic proposals.

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LarisaLarisa Zehr

Community Liaison

Larisa, Community Outreach Liaison, is part of the Sembrandopaz Communities Team which makes up part of the political program. She accompanies processes of organizational formation, transformative education, and work with youth and women in the High Mountain Zone of Montes de Maria. Larisa spent her first two years with Sembrandopaz living in a rural community which gave her the opportunity to accompany local community processes. She studied Peacebuilding and Development at Eastern Mennonite University.

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Volunteers

  • What Can Those in the U.S. Learn from Colombia (continued): Lessons from Sembrandopaz What Can Those in the US Learn from Colombia (Continued): Lessons from Sembrandopaz on Coalition-Building by Angie Lederach, PhD candidate at Kroc Institute for Peace and International Affairs, Sembrandopaz volunteer January 29, 2017 In light of the new political reality emerging in the US, I am taking time to reflect on Sembrandopaz’s decades long work to build peace ...
  • Learning to Document Historic Memory Learning to Document Historic Memory by Allie Prescott, communications volunteer posted on February 9, 2016 Sembrandopaz, in conjunction with the National Center for Historical Memory (CNMH), has been collaborating on a historical memory project during 2015 with 13 leaders and youth selected from various communities across the Alta Montaña of El Carmen de Bolivar, with the initial impulse ...
  • Frisbee for Reconciliation Ultimate is a limited-contact team field sport played with a flying disc (frisbee). Points are scored by passing the disc to a teammate in the opposing end zone. From its beginnings in the American counterculture of the late 1960s, ultimate has resisted empowering any referee with rule enforcement, instead relying on the sportsmanship of players and invoking the “spirit of ...
  • Meet Volunteer Molly Morrill Molly is from Pittsburgh, PA and is living in El Carmen during June and July. She has studied political science, and is currently working towards a Masters in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. She is interested in restorative justice and conflict resolution, and will be accompanying the work of Youth: Provoking Peace from ...
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