HKS Latin American Caucus - Harvard Kennedy School - 79 John F. Kennedy Street,  - Cambridge, MA 02138

latamconf2019@gmail.comCel: 617 999 2754



PANEL I | Mobilizing for Democracy in Venezuela and Nicaragua

The deep political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has mobilized local and international communities searching for a path out of the deteriorating conditions and for a recovery of the rule of law. Meanwhile, Nicaraguans also look for ways to organize and protect democracy in a context of repression, criminalization of social protests, and the persecution of the media, activists, and even NGOs and international officers.


This panel will discuss the different approaches experimented by political and social leaders to keep or recover democratic spaces, protect civil and human rights, and plan for the future, considering the local contexts and history and trends in organization and communication practices.


  • Alex Arana, Leader SOS Nicaragua Global

  • Jeancarlo López,  Member of the Verification and Security Comission and a dialogue member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy in Nicaragua

  • Francisco Marquez, Executive Director Vision Democratica Foundation

  • Maye Primera, Journalist | Editor for Latin America at Univision Noticias


Moderator: Cecilia Nicolini, Research Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

PANEL II | Migration in Latin America: New Trends and Approaches

Migration has been a relevant dimension in Latin America development, where economic opportunities, natural disasters, and political instability have led to the displacement of thousands of people within the continent. Overall, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has generated the largest migration wave recorded within Latin America, challenging the existing region´s institutional devices to deal with it and creating opportunities and friction with local communities.


This panel will discuss migration trends and policies from different perspectives, focusing on how cities, countries and the region respond to migrations waves and prevent crisis, ensure the safety of migrants and refugees, and integrate them in destiny communities.


  • Tamoa Calzadilla, Senior Investigative Journalist en Univision Communications

  • Sharon Granados, Development Associate at Scalabrini International Migration Network

  • José Tomás Vicuña SJ, Director at Jesuit Service to Migrants in Chile

  • Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, Expert on refugees protection, member of the working group on crisis of Venezuelan migrants and refugees of the OAS


Moderator: Juan Carlos Iragorri, Journalist and Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University

PANEL III | Innovating to Address Sustainable Development and Climate Change

Record rains, droughts and temperatures have hit the world in recent years and Latin America had been no exception. In the region, all countries have signed the Paris Agreement which has forced them to adopt a new look that urges for a change in behavior and attitude towards climate change. However, the challenge remains to implement change and foster sustainable development. It is amidst effective dialogue between Latin American countries to that we can effectively negotiate as a block around the common issues and develop viable strategies that can speak for the region as a single voice. 



This panel will discuss the collaborations and innovations that governments, international organizations, and the public sector are working on to promote sustainable development while mitigating the impact of climate change.


  • Ramón Bueno, Climate & Development Specialist

  • Matilde Mordt, Head of the Sustainable Development and Resilience Cluster UNDP

  • Michel Santos, Director Global Sustainability, Bunge Ltda.


Moderator: Julio Lumbreras, Visiting Scholar, Sustainability Science Program, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

PANEL IV | Organizing to Advance Gender E quality

In line with the #MeToo movement, Latin America has seen a surge in mass demonstrations across countries to demand public policies that guarantee the rights of women. Femicide, sexual violence and the lack of legislation surrounding abortion rights are the main demands of the feminist movement in this so called fourth wave. In doing so Latin American activists and women have shown that new strategies and organization are key to build alliances and ensure their voices are heard.



This panel will discuss about how are Latin American women advancing gender equality and human rights and empowering women in the region and the world, taking into consideration the current social, economic and cultural challenges and opportunities found in our region.


  • Karina Banfi, National Representative for the Buenos Aires Province | President of the Network of Women Parliamentarians of the Americas

  • Mercedes D’Alessandro, Cofounder Economía Femini(s)ta

  • Tarcila Rivera Zea, Executive Director of CHIRAPAQ, Center for Peruvian Indigenous Cultures | UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Member

  • Lucía Riojas, Mexican Federal Representative



Moderator: Candelaria Garay, Ford Foundation Associate Professor of  Democracy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government