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News from the Regional Office

Dear <<First Name>>,

Committed to the advancement of Latin America, groups of Colombian, Chilean, and Argentinean students at Harvard, MIT, and other universities convened prominent political leaders and scholars last month, to foster dialogue and find solutions to the pressing peace, public policy, and economic issues faced in their respective countries. The student-led events Colombia: Building Peace, Políticas Públicas Chile, and Pensando Argentina 2030 are remarkable examples of the work and dedication of Latin American students to create transformational change in the region.

Another outstanding example last month of students making a difference in Latin America involved the launch of a water supply system in Perales, marking a milestone for the rural community. Through a January course on disaster-recovery in 2014, a group of Harvard Kennedy School students identified Perales' dire need for water and designed a plan for the community to implement and address the issue with local partner support.

I invite you to read more about these and other inspiring initiatives that made a difference at Harvard and in the region last month.


Marcela Rentería
Program Director, Regional Office

Conference—Colombia: Building Peace

The Colombian Student Associations at Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and Tufts organized the 2015 Colombian Conference, Colombia: Building Peace, in late April in Boston. With support from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the MIT D-Lab, and the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center, the conference created a space for discussion on the challenges and opportunities that exist at the current historical junction in Colombia, as peace talks are reaching its defining stages to end 50 years of internal conflict. Bringing together stakeholders, scholars, and students, the conference fostered reflection and debate on the complex social, economic and political transformations necessary for long-lasting peace construction. The conference featured prominent speakers including Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT, Harvard faculty Janet Halley and James Robinson, Luis Carlos Villegas, Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, and Sergio Fajardo, Governor of Antioquia. 

Drinkable Water Initiative in Rural Perales

The Recupera Chile project reached a milestone last month with the implementation of a rural drinkable water system, giving access to potable water to 75 families living in the highlands of Perales, a community affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami. In January 2014, through the faculty-led course Community Recovery: Rebuilding Disaster Damaged Communities in Chile, a group of Harvard Kennedy School graduate students identified the Perales community's dire need for regular access to drinkable water as a pressing problem to be addressed, as well as a unique opportunity to improve life quality and facilitate community building. To advance the water provision initiative, the Perales community, in collaboration with Iván Cartes, Professor of Architecture at Universidad de Bío-Bío, and Laura Aravena, Mayor of Coelemu, organized a drinkable water committee to develop policies, such as implementing a monthly fee, to ensure the long-term sustainability of their water supply. In addition to addressing critical community needs, this initiative helped empower and develop a sense of community in Perales, which is one of the fundamental strategies for post-disaster recovery.

Forum: Políticas Públicas Chile

Organized by Chilean graduate students and fellows from Harvard, MIT, and University of Chicago, and co-sponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the second annual symposium Políticas Públicas Chile took place at Harvard this spring. Bringing together prominent academic and political leaders and Chilean students pursuing public policy degrees in the United States, the forum served as an opportunity to create dialogue on the challenges faced by Chilean politics, discuss public policies that have made positive changes in other countries, and share scholarly and practical research. Panelists featured at the forum include Harvard faculty Ricardo Hausmann, James Robinson, and Lant Pritchett, José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, and Juan Gabriel Valdés, Ambassador of Chile to the United States. For more information about the event and to access panelist presentations, click here

Seminar: Pensando Argentina 2030

With support from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Harvard Argentine Student Society and the MIT Argentine Club organized the seminar Pensando Argentina 2030 in early April. The seminar provided stakeholders, scholars, and students the opportunity to discuss the current state of Argentina, identify social, financial, political, technological, and institutional challenges faced by the country, and predict their impact on the country's international and regional course for the next 15 years. Featuring Harvard faculty Rafael Di Tella, Candelaria Garay, and Eduardo Levy Yeyati, the seminar fostered reflection on possible ways to reach internal consensus and design a framework for an effective national development plan.

Harvard Recruitment Event in Buenos Aires

Last month, admissions representatives from the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the Harvard Business School (HBS) visited Buenos Aires to lead an information session for prospective applicants to graduate programs at both professional schools. With support from Mundo Sano, the HBS Latin America Research Center, the Harvard Club of Argentina, and the DRCLAS Regional Office, the event attracted over 100 highly talented prospective students, who had the opportunity to learn more and ask questions about graduate programs, the application process, and financial aid. Advancing Harvard's recruiting initiatives in Argentina, Matthew Clemons, Director of Admissions at HKS, participated in a breakfast meeting with over 20 leaders of Argentinean universities and nonprofits to share more information about HKS graduate programs and create a local network to help expand Harvard's recruiting outreach in Argentina, and increase the number of Argentinean applicants and accepted students at Harvard.

Teacher Development Initiatives in Chile

In collaboration with Recupera Chile, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad imparted teacher training workshops to a group of graduating students from the School of Education at Universidad de Concepción (UdeC). The workshops provided resources to the soon-to-be teachers to build their students' vocabulary, listening comprehension, and critical thinking skills, and develop fruitful relationships with their students' families. In addition, the UdeC students learned pedagogical strategies from Fundación Educacional Oportunidad's Un Buen Comienzo initiative, which provides support and training to teachers in rural public schools with the goal of improving early education. In the upcoming academic year, the workshop participants will implement these teaching strategies and resources in rural preschools in the communities of Coliumo, Punta de Parra, Buchupureo, Perales and Dichato, which were affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.

Research on Financial Management in Chile

C. Fritz Foley, André R. Jakurski Professor of Finance at the Harvard Business School, spent this past spring semester in Santiago conducting research on a variety of finance topics, including tax reform, the growth and regulation of consumer finance, education reform, and financial management practices in Chile. Through fieldwork and interviews with stakeholders and key actors, Professor Foley plans to use his findings to develop case studies and research projects. Last month, the Harvard Club of Chile and the DRCLAS Regional Office invited Professor Foley to present on his work at a breakfast event for local Harvard alumni and special guests. In his presentation titled "Financial Management in Chile: Preliminary Ideas for Case Studies," Professor Foley engaged in discussion with participants on the challenges and opportunities in the Chilean private sector.

In this Issue:

Argentina 2030: en Harvard, pensando el futuro del país
En la Escuela John F. Kennedy de la Universidad de Harvard, unos 40 argentinos de diferentes ámbitos, intereses y colores políticos aceptaron reunirse para identificar metas comunes que permitan avanzar en los próximos años. Read more here.

Un especialista de Harvard pidió eliminar rápido el cepo y comparó a la Argentina con Venezuela
Ricardo Hausmann, uno de los economistas más reconocidos del mundo, aseguró que la Argentina crecerá menos que Brasil, Colombia y Chile. Recomendó llevar la inflación a un dígito y generar condiciones para la inversión privada. Read more here.

La Provincia participó del Seminario “Pensando Argentina”, en Harvard
La Provincia de Buenos Aires participó del Seminario “Pensando Argentina 2030”, en Boston, un evento que congregó a científicos, periodistas, artistas, políticos, profesores y empresarios, organizado conjuntamente por la Asociación Argentina de Estudiantes de Harvard y MIT. Read more here.

Las 10 frases de Hausmann, el economista de Harvard, tras su paso por la Argentina
El director del Centro para el Desarrollo Internacional de Harvard, Ricardo Hausmann, advirtió hoy que “el crecimiento de la economía argentina requiere diversificación productiva”, y evitar a la vez el riesgo de limitar la estrategia de desarrollo al agregado de valor de las materias primas. Read more here.

Director de Emprendo participó en actividad de Recupera Chile
El Director de Emprendo, Dr. Pedro Vera, participó como jurado en el Concurso de Proyectos Emprendedores, organizado por Recupera Chile. La iniciativa, que estaba dirigida a estudiantes del Liceo Polivalente Diego Missene Burgos en Cobquecura, buscaba propuestas para rescatar el patrimonio cultural y dar valor a los productos naturales propios y característicos de la zona. Read more here.

Peru: Memories always remembered, lessons never forgotten
"Lima. Delicious food. People hustlin’ and bustlin’ 24/7. Criolla music. Immense cultural diversity. Host family. City life. Night Life. The Inca’s Machu Picchu. Endless exploring. Volunteer work. Independence. Adapting and assimilating. New friendships. New perspectives. New appreciations." Read more Luisa's story in the Regional Office blog.

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The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies is grateful to its friends and donors for their commitment and support. We are particularly grateful to the Luksic family for their great generosity, supporting core activities of our Regional Office and contributing to this decade of success. 
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