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Cristal has a Master’s in Latin American Studies from New York University and a Master’s in Political Science from the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. She is Colombia Case Study Manager of the Managing Exits from Armed Conflict initiative at United Nations University – Centre for Policy Research.

Previously, Cristal was Senior Policy Advisor at the UK Mission to the UN in New York, where she leads the UK’s work at the Security Council on the Colombia and other Americas files and Women, Peace, and Security. Prior to this role, she was a researcher with the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, and before that worked for IOM in Colombia, providing research and analysis to feed into the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC.


Research Interests

  • Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR)
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacekeeping
  • Women, Peace, and Security
  • Children and Armed Conflict
  • Colombia
  • Latin America


Doctoral Research

What factors facilitate or constrain former child combatants’ entrance to and longevity in the reintegration programme in Colombia?

Colombia's reintegration programmes for adults and children formerly associated with armed groups have been praised as among the most comprehensive in the world, and indeed these programmes do address a broad range of aspects. However, some former child recruits do not enter a programme, and others enter but do not finish the programme, or may even return to illegal activity. This study will therefore seek to answer the question: What factors facilitate or constrain former child soldiers' entry to and longevity in the reintegration programme(s) in Colombia? Using mixed methods to provide a more comprehensive understanding of why some children never enrol in the reintegration programme, and why others do not remain in and complete the programme, the research aims to identify obstacles to effective child reintegration and offer clues to how to effectively and sustainably support former child soldiers' reintegration.


  • Dr Kieran Mitton
  • Dr Jaremey McMullin (external - University of St Andrew's)