our words make worlds

Keynote: The Language of Peace in Colombia

Title: The Language of Peace in Colombia (13:00-15:00, Wednesday 13 June)

Keynote speaker: Juan-Luis Suárez, Director, CulturePlex

Chair: Catherine Boyle, King’s College London

Our Keynote lecture looks at words used by the negotiating parties of the peace agreement signed in 2016 between the Government of Colombia and the FARC guerrillas. It specifically explores language of “conflict” and its inseparable term, “victims”. The attempt to avoid the word “war” and its replacement by “conflict”, “internal conflict” and “armed conflict” provokes a cascade of linguistic effects related to the temporality of peace, the political and legal condition of victims, and the analysis of the causes of Colombian war.


Juan-Luis Suárez is currently a full Professor at Western, holding a joint appointment in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature, and in the Department of Computer Sciences.  He obtained a PhD in Hispanic Studies from McGill University, and a PhD in Philosophy from the Universidad de Salamanca.  He also holds several other advanced degrees, including an executive MBA.  

An internationally-recognized scholar in his field, Dr. Suarez’s research interests are on 16th and 17th century globalization, on current sectors affected by digital innovation, and on cultural analytics and digital humanities. He has published over 70 articles and several books. He is currently the director of the CulturePlex Laboratory, which helps explore how culture affects the spread of ideas and changes the ways people think and behave. His most recent work focuses on the analysis of language around peace in Colombia, the use of computing techniques to assist in processes of transitional justice and the societal, legal and philosophical issues emerging out of the massive introduction of AI in human systems. 

Dr. Suarez is a creative, multidisciplinary collaborator who has established extensive and wide-ranging, international connections. Much of his multidisciplinary work involves using big data analytics, digital innovation and engagement with companies and organizations to help them better understand and adjust to the digital world.