A message from our
Program Director

This month in the Regional Office

Dear <<First Name>>,

From analyzing cosmic dark matter to assisting doctors in indigenous communities; from confronting issues of disaster recovery to learning about Peru through its marvelous cuisine; this was an outstanding month of January at the DRCLAS Regional Office. As you will see in this month’s newsletter, five separate January courses involved more than 85 students from Harvard and partner universities in the region. Our expectations for the month’s activities were far surpassed both in numbers and in substance. For example, the Harvard School of Public Health’s eleventh annual course on national health systems led by Tom Bossert shattered all records for longevity.  Close to 200 HSPH and Chilean graduate students have participated in the program. One of the first courses of its kind throughout Harvard, it has served as a model for international engagement in other divisions of the University.
The Regional Office programs were in the news in January. Doug Ahlers’ Kennedy School course on disaster recovery attracted international attention as well as recognition in the national press in Chile. All students had unique experiences. For example, DRCLAS Advisory Committee Chair and master chef, Tony Custer, hosted Johanna Liander’s entire course on the Cuisine and Culture of Peru to a memorable night next to the famous Huaca Pucllana ruins in Lima. The month of January was nothing short of exhilarating.
As we look toward the coming year, we welcome new programs for faculty and students and look forward to continuing the Regional Office’s tradition for innovation.


Ned Strong
Program Director

Community Recovery: Rebuilding Disaster Damaged Communities in Chile

This Harvard Kennedy School experiential learning class, led by Professor Doug Ahlers, brought together for more than two weeks, 20 students who lived and worked in the disaster damaged areas of Dichato, Perales and Cobquecura. In this January-term course, students had the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in complex communities and apply classroom-learned, disaster-recovery skills into real world cases. They worked with their respective communities, municipalities and local leaders to develop plans for economic recovery, community and economic development. 

The students develop the following field-based team projects to assist the residents of the three localities. The Dichato team strategized to create an innovative aquaculture development plan, as a possible new source of income and a viable opportunity for the local fishermen and women. In Cobquecura, students aimed to develop the entrepreneurial capacity of the community, by designing a competition, which asked local entrepreneurs to submit a business plan to start a new enterprise or to expand their existing business. The Perales team worked with government representatives, the local water committee and the community to present a master plan to bring potable water to Perales.

A group of consultants from Harvard and local partners from Recupera Chile offered constant guidance and support for the implementation of each project.  At the end of the course, all three groups presented their project work outputs (client deliverables) to community leaders, local officials and representative from regional universities, who gave remarkable feedback for a more solid end product that will be implemented by Recupera Chile during the year.

Health Reform and Community Medicine

For its eleventh consecutive year, this January course, led by Professor Thomas Bossert, exposed eleven graduate students from the Harvard School of Public Health to healthcare reform and family medicine in Chile. This year, course participants were joined by five family medicine residents from the medical school at the Universidad Católica, who shared their unique perspective on the Chilean healthcare system.

Through interviews with key actors, and visits to public and private hospitals and clinics in Santiago and its surrounding rural areas, students learned about healthcare reform and community health from many angles. During their time in Chile, students met with various stakeholders, including the Minister of Health, Congressional representatives, the health superintendent, physicians from private and public hospitals, economists, and private insurers. As one of the highlights of this year’s course, students had the chance to meet with former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, who pioneered the health reform. With the recent elections and the formation of the new cabinet in January – the cabinet was announced the last day the students were in Chile—there was a lot of discussion in these meetings about the political context of health reform and potential future policy changes.

In the final week of the course, students completed research projects on various health topics, including mental illness, pharmaceutical law, private insurance profits, air pollution, and the Ancora model of patient care. One of the results of this intensive course was a proposal by two of the HSPH students and one of the Chilean residents for a new evaluation of the clinics using methodologies similar to evaluations of U.S. clinics. During the final days of the program, the students reflected on their experience, noting their admiration for the Chilean physicians’ commitment to family medicine, their excitement for Chilean innovations in community medicine, and the similarities in the challenges both Chile and the United States face in providing equitable access to quality healthcare.

Experiential Learning Program: Healthcare in Rural Settings

In collaboration with Universidad Mayor, the DRLCAS Regional Office ran this experiential learning program in the rural community of Padre las Casas, near Temuco, Chile. As part of this January program, twelve Harvard undergraduates were fully integrated into the U. Mayor’s “Trabajos Voluntarios” (Community Service Program), joining over 200 U. Mayor students from various fields of study. Program participants spent their days engaging in volunteer work related to their majors and interests. Moreover, Harvard students had the unique opportunity of being able to rotate specialties on a daily basis. Some of the areas in which participants volunteered included holistic medicine, dentistry, education, agriculture, veterinary care, and construction, among others. The students especially enjoyed working with "los postrados," people that are too ill to leave their house and seek medical care. Jessie Wyatt '16 shared that "besides medical attention, many of "los postrados" just needed someone to talk to and someone that would listen to them. It was very rewarding for me to be able to be there for them in that way." 

After a full day of volunteer work, the volunteers (U.M. and Harvard students) participated in recreational competitions, which included sports games, team-building activities, and dance-offs. Harvard students truly enjoyed the relationships they formed with their U. Mayor peers. At the closing ceremony, Neng Thao '15 commented how enriching it was to work with U. Mayor students: "working with [them], I learned a lot and was able to share my knowledge too. At some point, we had a long discussion about how genetic engineering could revolutionize healthcare and agriculture—something that I have studied at Harvard." After students completed their volunteer work, the program concluded with a DRCLAS-sponsored trip to Pucón, Villarrica and Valparaíso. 

Studying the Dark Matter

Institute for Applied Computational Science of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Universidad de Chile partnered together, with the support of AURA Inc and the Núcleo Milenio de Estudios de Supernovas, to provide a team-based intercultural learning experience this past January.  Led by Dr. Pavlos Protopapas, six Harvard graduate students worked together with six Chilean students in three interdisciplinary teams on a real-world computationally challenging problem drawn from the data of a cutting-edge astronomical instrument, the Dark Energy Camera (DECam). The program included a visit to the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory and Gemini South to meet with the scientists who collect the data. A presentation of the results took place in Cambridge, MA at the “Data Science Symposium” on January 24th.  This January program was made possible thanks to the Harvard Chile Innovation Initiative fund.

Lengua, Cultura, Gastronomía y Servicio a la Comunidad

The Regional Office organized the second iteration of this January program in Lima, Peru. The program was conducted in Spanish and led by Dr. Johanna Liander, Senior Preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures. Through the program, nine Harvard undergraduates had the opportunity to improve their Spanish, while learning about Peruvian culture, history and gastronomy through classes, community service, excursions, and residence with a Peruvian homestay family.

This year, the program offered university lecturers in Peruvian history, anthropology and biodiversity at the Pontificia Universidad Católica, cooking classes at the D'Gallia Institute of Gastronomy, lectures on regional cooking and ingredients at the Cordon Bleu, and visits with recognized chefs at their restaurants. In addition, students spent afternoons working with very young children at an orphanage in the Comas section of Lima, through FUNDADES. Besides learning to prepare delicacies like seco de cabrito, cau cau, lomo saltado and mahi-mahi ceviche, students also had the chance to visit the renowned Escuela de Cocina de Pachacamac, as well as Pisco, Paracas, and Huacachina on excursions outside of Lima. 

The course concluded with a luxurious dinner invitation from DRCLAS Advisory Committee Chair Tony Custer, aside the illuminated Huaca Pucllana ruins. Looking back on the course, Dr. Liander commented that "the sun shone for us in Lima, and we returned with a broad and diverse appreciation of this appealing, thriving metropolis of 10 million inhabitants, and also
hopefullyof their castellano."

Consejo de Curso Summer Academy

Education researchers across the globe agree that summer vacations, though welcome breaks from the school curriculum, often are times when students regress in their academic progress.  Few summer school programs exist in Latin America, and those that do, often cater to elite families. Harvard graduate, Sebastian Marambio ’09, set out to change this picture of inequality with the support of the Harvard Club of Chile and the DRCLAS Regional Office. He created the Academia de Verano at Chile’s Instituto Nacional under the umbrella of El Consejo de Curso, a new concept for school-aged children. In order to participate, students needed only to demonstrate their willingness to learn. Over 600 people attended the inauguration on January 21st.  Classes were offered to 300 students in diverse subject areas such as justice, physics for future presidents, and neuroscience. The students commented that they learned more in their first few days than they had learned all year in their regular classes.

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Chile

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan COL ’87, GSD, HKS ’95, visited Chile on January 6th and 7th.  Part of his agenda was to view Chile’s reconstruction efforts in the Bío Bío region.  The DRCLAS Regional Office arranged a meeting with Professor Doug Ahlers and the Harvard Kennedy School student team in Dichato, who was working there on the Recupera Chile initiative. Secretary Donovan was impressed with Chile’s recovery efforts and expressed great interest in the HKS program, which focuses on economic revitalization and school improvement, in conjunction with twelve partner institutions and government agencies. The following day, the Regional Office and the Harvard Club of Chile hosted Secretary Donovan in a round table discussion with alumni and housing experts in Santiago.

A Summer School in Dichato

Recupera Chile, Harvard´s Initiative for community-based recovery, organized, for the first time, a one-week summer school program for children aged 5 to 14 in Dichato, Chile. This program aimed to address some of the health needs in the community, discovered through research conducted by Harvard Medical School Professor Judy Palfrey, Dr. Elizabeth Peacock and Professor Mario Valdivia, from Universidad de Concepción. In its first year, more than 400 children from the community attended this successful initiative.

The main focus of the summer school was to offer to the children who are in their homes during their summer vacation (or must accompany their parents while they work), a week full of physical activities and entertainment, creating a space for recreation, education and health promotion and prevention. With the support of 
Fundación Tierra EsperanzaFundación Mar de Chile, the Tomé Municipality, the Dichato Public School and the Laboratorio Royal Pharma, the Recupera Chile team, along with the Universidad de Concepción Schools of Education and Medicine, put together a week full of activities for the community. Some of the activities included a talk for parents to promote a healthy seafood diet and a variety of classes and courses on nutrition, preventive care, yoga, painting, singing, art therapy, recreational sports and health promotion. The summer school also hosted local artists that painted a mural at the Dichato Public School, where the summer camp took place. As we look forward to next year, we would like to thank the more than 50 volunteers that made this initiative possible.

Additional Harvard-Chile Innovation Initiative Projects

The National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) awarded funds for three additional programs as part of the Harvard-Chile Innovation Initiative. This initiative provides start-up funds of $25,000 per project for collaborations between Harvard and Chilean colleagues for joint research and programs. The three new programs are:

1. Global Education Innovation Initiative 
This program, led by Professor Fernando Reimers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, analyzes the cutting edge practices around the world in order to apply innovations in the classroom and in educational institutions.

2. Ecological Urbanism Case Studies in a Chilean Context
This program, led by Lecturer Gareth Doherty from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, will introduce the concept of design as a synthetic key to connect ecology with an urbanism that is not in conflict with the environment.

3. Development of Instructional Materials for University-Based Principal Training Programs in Chile
As the second phase of the development of a book of cases created by school directors, this program, led by Senior Lecturer Katherine Merseth from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, 
will work to train faculty at university education schools in the use of case-based instruction.

In this Issue:

Programs Overview

Study Abroad Program in Chile and Argentina 
Application deadline for Fall term 2014: March 1, 2014

The semester-long DRCLAS Study Abroad Programs (SAP) in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina provide Harvard College students with the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Chilean or Argentine culture and the Spanish language for a period of five months, while receiving transfer credit to apply towards their Harvard degree. Harvard students with intermediate knowledge of Spanish are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit the SAP programs site. 

Leventritt Panel Discussion: Border Dynamics
Tsai Auditorium- 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
February 27, 2014, 6-8pm

Photographer David Taylor, along with practitioners and scholars who work in visual arts, culture, and geography, will participate in a discussion about artistic and cultural exchanges, and photography in particular, across the United States–Mexico border. For more information about this event please visit Border Dynamics.

ARTS@DRCLAS Exhibition opening and walk-through: Working the Line
1730 Cambridge St, 2nd floor
February 26, 2014, 5:30pm

In his multiyear two-part project, Taylor documents the boundary monuments marking the United States–Mexico border and the associated activities—border security, drug and human smuggling, and ongoing construction—that reflect the challenges of life on both sides. For more information about this event, please visit Working the Line.

Pre-Texts Seminar

Professor Doris Sommer and neuroscientist Juliana Porto worked with the Un Buen Comienzo program in Chile’s Rancagua Region starting on January 26th. The week-long seminar was directed to 15 preschool teacher leaders and staff members of Fundación Oportunidad, and covered the innovative curriculum called Pre-Texts.  Professor Sommer developed this methodology using classic literature, which she says is “an excuse for making art.”  This active learning process has been proven to develop avid readers and enhanced cognitive skills in children.

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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 Andrónico Luksic for his great generosity, supporting core activities of our Regional Office and contributing to this decade of success. 
Copyright © 2014 David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Regional Office, All rights reserved.

For inquiries about the DRCLAS Regional Office newsletter, contact Marco Perez-Moreno at mfperez@fas.harvard.edu.

Our mailing address is:
David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Regional Office
Dag Hammarskjold 3269, Santiago, Chile
Santiago 7630412

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