Laura Cuellar, 2016, Colombia, Spain

On selecting Fletcher: I was convinced that my next step out of college was to pursue a PhD in history, particularly Colombian insurgency, anticommunism, and counterinsurgency. However, working for the Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR),  I realized that the aspects of Colombian history that interested me most were ongoing issues, such as the peace agreement with the AUC, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of the AUC, and the potential peace agreement with the FARC. It was then when I decided to shift my career goals by approaching these interests from a practical rather than a theoretical perspective. There was so much to be done in Colombia and I wanted to be a part of it. I began my quest for a program that would utilize my background in history while providing me the tools that would enable me to contribute to conflict resolution and reconstruction in Colombia. Fletcher was the perfect fit. In addition to considering my background an asset, Fletcher’s MALD program encouraged me to take courses in fields as diverse as Development Economics, Human Security, and Conflict Resolution, enabling me to structure my degree in the way that I consider most useful for pursuing my career goals.

 On how Fletcher will contribute to my goals: I plan to use my experience at Fletcher to contribute to conflict resolution and post-conflict development efforts in Colombia. I intend to help mitigate the causes that fueled the armed conflict (poverty, lack of state presence, limited access to education, etc.) and contribute to easing the trauma caused by decades of conflict. Specifically, I am interested in helping build the socioeconomic conditions that will increase welfare and that integrate the unemployed into the formal economy. I would like to work with existing mechanisms that manage reparation to victims and that provide ex-combatants with psychosocial assistance, education, and occupational training.

Favorite newspaper
El Espectador

Favorite food

Favorite musician or band
Gustavo Cerati

Favorite city

Most pressing world issue
The role of the international community in addressing violent non-state actors

Fields of Study

  • Development Economics
  • Human Security

Activities involved in at Fletcher

  • Latin America Club
  • International Development Club

Education before Fletcher

  • BA, History, Universidad de los Andes

Experience before Fletcher

  • Translator, Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, Colombia
  • Volunteer, Colombian Agency for Reintegration, Colombia


  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • English