SIL began its work in Colombia in 1962 in response to an invitation from President Alberto Lleras Camargo. Upon signing a  working agreement SIL began to carry out its service to language communities under the auspices of the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano (ILV). 

In June 1998, the Colombian Congress decorated ILV with the "Orden de la Democracia" (Order of Democracy) award in recognition of its service to the country over a span of 36 years. On May 31, 2000, the working agreement was closed with a formal ceremony celebrating the great privilege of being able to work in cooperation with the Colombian government on behalf of the indigenous languages of Colombia. Although ILV as an entity was dissolved in 2002, SIL International continues to serve language communities by partnering with organizations and institutions in Colombia.