A message from our
Program Director

This month at the Regional Office

Dear <<First Name>>,

This past month, we continued playing a role in bringing the best minds together to address the major issues facing the Region. In this issue of the DRCLAS Regional Office Newsletter, you will find news on how we accomplished this through a myriad of diverse activities, such as a policy forum bringing together Argentina’s civic and business leaders, a synthesis of significant findings on challenges facing pre-school education in Chile, and a multi-million dollar effort to discover the origins of the Universe.  The Regional Office acted as a catalyst for these programs, generating new ideas for positive change.

We are most grateful to members of the Harvard community, alumni clubs, our partner universities and organizations, and our friends and supporters. Without your backing, none of this would be possible.   


Ned Strong
Program Director

Un Buen Comienzo Symposium

This past month, Harvard Medical School researcher Mary Catherine Arbour visited Chile to continue her work on Un Buen Comienzo with the Fundación Oportunidad. She keynoted a symposium on the results of the comprehensive 5-year study completed last year. The study, the first of its kind in Latin America, was carried out by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Universidad Diego Portales. It reported significant improvements in teaching practices, revolutionizing in-classroom teaching methods. Results of child learning outcomes are, however, more complex, showing less significant improvements. The study shows that attendance rates were a major contributing factor to these modest improvements. Where attendance rates were over 90%, student cognition and communication skills increased significantly. Where the rates were lower, no significant increases were noted. Overall average of attendance in the schools studied was abnormally low, only 80%, creating a barrier to positive learning outcomes. Mary Catherine pointed out that these data have informed Fundación Oportunidad and UBC’s work in the Rancagua Region, where a new model of continuous improvement has already led to increased child development as well as teacher improvement.

Today, UBC is in seven communities in the Santiago Metropolitan area and reaches over 5,000 students per year, and in the Sixth Region of Chile, UBC works with three communities and over 1,000 students annually.

Antarctica Museum and Educational Center

The collaboration between the Regional Office and the Chilean Corporación del Patrimonio Marítimo to establish a museum and educational center at the Arturo Prat Naval Base in Antarctica continues in its development stage. The Chilean government has begun a feasibility study to build a new Antarctic base adjacent to the old one, converting the old base into a museum. The Arturo Prat base was inaugurated in 1947 and is one of the oldest permanent bases in Antarctica.


The Regional Office has been instrumental in connecting the former acting head of the Harvard Museums, David Ellis, to the Chilean Navy as a formal advisor. The Regional Office is also working with Professor James McCarthy to develop a course on climate change at the Arturo Prat Base to be offered to 10 Harvard and 10 Chilean students in January 2015.

In the Land of Ñandutí: following the lines, threads and figures of the river

As part of his Spring 2014 course, Professor Jorge Silvetti of the Harvard Graduate School of Design conducted an Architecture Design Studio with twelve graduate students to a segment of the Paraná River shared by Paraguay and Argentina, specifically to an area where the cultural, natural and historic maps associated with Guarani culture overlap. 

This Design Studio is the first initiative of an ambitious long-term research project jointly undertaken by Harvard Graduate School of Design and counterparts in Argentina and Paraguay. The focus in this first project is exclusively on the architectural scale emphasizing environmental conditions, influencing the aquatic nature of the landscape, the progressive, sustainable conscious and forward looking use of local technologies and materials, and the traditional forms of settlement and movement that establish the physical infrastructure of the region. Ñandutí is the word in Guaraní that means “spider web” and is used to name the fine lace work that the original guaraní population made after learning from the Spaniards the craft of encaje de Tenerife. It embodies a productive, positive spirit that this Design Studio would like to foster and practice: an imported cultural craft that was welcome, incorporated, appropriated, absorbed and transformed into a different practice re-invigorated with new meanings. This process may well serve architects to find opportunities and hope in the accelerated world of cultural globalization. 

This studio was funded by partial grants from DRCLAS Course-based field trip grant, Entidad Binacional Yacireta and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The Design Studio also received contributions and help from individuals of the following institutions: Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina), Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (Argentina), and El Museo del Barro (Asuncion, Paraguay).

Forum on Argentina: Red de Acción Política

The Fundación Red de Accion Política (RAP) and DRCLAS organized the second symposium on Argentina’s public policy at Harvard in March. The symposium included over 50 business and political leaders. Harvard faculty members, including Merilee Grindle, Jorge Dominguez, Lant Pritchet, Steve Levitsky, Ricardo Hausmann, and Rafael Di Tella gave presentations and led discussion sessions among participants on a range of topics at a critical time in Argentina’s history, anticipating national elections next year. Topics centered on two overarching themes, economic development, and the current and future state of political institutions in Argentina.

Giant Magellan Telescope

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) Director, Charles Alcock, visited Las Campanas, the site of the Giant Magellan Telescope in March.  He hosted a group of astronomers and donors interested in the progress of the project. The DRCLAS Regional Office organized a meeting with Harvard Club of Chile members to discuss the efforts and engage Harvard in the development of a museum of astronomy in Northern Chile. CfA is part of a 10-member consortium developing this $1.0 billion project. Set to be the largest optical telescope in the world, the partners have already raised half of the funds necessary to complete the telescope. Two of the important capabilities of this instrument will be to discover Earth-like planets in other solar systems and to observe the early stages of the formation of the universe.

Educational Initiative Implemented by Recupera Chile

Beginning in March, ten students from the Graduate School of Education at Universidad de Concepción (UdeC) started their daily and weekly internship programs at public pre-schools in Cobquecura, Buchupureo, Dichato, Coliumo, Perales and Punta de Parra. Through these internships, students aim to apply Un Buen Comienzo's best practices to enhance the quality of education in the Bio Bio region. This is a new educational model for Recupera Chile, and features experiential learning for local pre-school students, who will actively participate in a classroom routine that promotes continuous improvement and a close interaction between teachers and students. The internship program is under constant supervision from a team of local professors, led by Carolyn Fernandez from the UdeC School of Education, and their role is to facilitate the implementation of new techniques focused on vocabulary and other relevant subjects, with the help of the new library books given by Recupera Chile. Recupera Chile has performed a crucial role in facilitating and financing this project, as well as working collaboratively with the participating faculty in this new endeavor.

UTEC Peru and Harvard

The Regional Office continues to work with the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), DRCLAS Advisory Committee Chair, Tony Custer, and Eduardo Hochschild, the founder of the Universidad Tecnológica (UTEC) to develop a collaborative agreement to address areas in which Harvard could collaborate in UTEC’s development in Lima. Regional Office Program Director, Ned Strong, met with SEAS Administrative Dean Fawwaz Habbal in March to discuss the project.  The potential partnership has many complementary components, including opportunities for Harvard students to be exposed to massive engineering projects such as mining in Peru, and opportunities for UTEC students to able to take part in the innovation infrastructure of Harvard and Cambridge.

Parasitic Diseases

The Regional Office and Argentina’s Mundo Sano are developing a program to address the growing problem of parasitic diseases in the Region. Mundo Sano is a non-profit subsidiary of the international pharmacological company, INSUD, based in Buenos Aires. Mundo Sano works mostly in addressing “neglected” diseases such as chagas and soil transmitted parasites in several countries in Latin America, Europe, and Africa. They have established collaborations with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, among others. Regional Office's Ned Strong and Maria Jose Ferreyra met with Mundo Sano's Vice President Guillermo Alonso to explore ways in which Mundo Sano can address one of the biggest challenges it faces, establishing effective delivery systems.

In this Issue:

DRCLAS Programs and 
Events in the Region

- Un Buen Comienzo Symposium

Harvard en Chile: Graduate Programs Information Session and Fair
Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 
Santiago, Chile
April 29, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

We are pleased to announce the first Harvard University joint recruitment event in Santiago, Chile on April 29th at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The event will provide an opportunity for a select group of highly talented prospective applicants to learn more about graduate programs at Harvard. It will be a chance to examine how professional aspirations can be matched with more than 70 programs of advanced study in the seven schools represented. For more information and to register, please click here.

20th Anniversary of DRCLAS and 2014 Advisory Committee Meeting
May 9th and 10th, 2014

The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies will mark its 20th anniversary at its 2014 Advisory Committee Meeting in Cambridge on May 9th and 10th. Our grateful thanks to our supporters, alumni, and friends for a successful first twenty years and a strong foundation for the next twenty.

To receive updates and news from the Regional Office on real-time, connect with us through our social media platforms below, and bookmark our website. 
Like Us
Follow Us
Visit Us
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

Add us to your address book

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 
Like Us
Follow Us
Visit Us