Using Christmas to end war
During his lifetime, Jose Miguel Sokoloff had never experienced one day of peace in his own country.
For more than 50 years, F.A.R.C. guerillas had terrorised the population of Colombia.
Their operations were mainly funded by kidnap and ransom and many innocent Columbians had lost their lives at the hands of their fighters.
As a creative working in the advertising industry, Jose challenged himself to think of ideas to help put an end to the violence.
He had to find a way to communicate with an audience who were extremely reluctant to change their ways.
His task was made harder by the fact that these soldiers hid in the forests that covered large areas of the country.
‘Operation Christmas’ was Jose’s inspired response.
Christmas tree lights were hung from trees in the forests with written messages like the following:
“If Christmas can come to the jungle, you can come home. Demobilise. At Christmas, everything is possible.”
In one season, more than 300 guerrillas returned to their families which represented 5% of the guerrilla force at that time.
And that was just the beginning.
Along with his ‘Rivers of Light’ campaign, these initiatives led to thousands of guerrillas abandoning their weapons and coming home.
Jose’s ideas helped to connect Colombians and steer the nation towards a more peaceful future.
If you’re interested in finding out more, then check out his TED talk.
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