January 6, 2016

Latin America at a Crossroads

“Latin America at a Crossroads,” the Georgetown University Latin American Conference, was the product of an unprecedented collaboration among six student groups from across the university.

The Latin American Policy Association (McCourt School of Public Policy), Graduate Association of Mexican Students (GSO), Latin American Law Students Associations (Law Center), Latin American Business Association (McDonough School of Business), Latin American Graduate Organization (School of Foreign Service), and the Latin American Student Association (College) worked together to host the day-long conference, which drew over 160 students as well as national and international media to the Healey Family Student Center.   

Three panels of distinguished guests addressed the conference’s organizing question: whether Latin America is truly a region on the rise, or if internal challenges will cloud a positive forecast. The first, on “Democracy, Public Governance, and Public Sector Capacities,” addressed the “crisis” of democracy as well as innovation and management policies for local governance. The second, on “Investment, Business Development, and the Rule of Law,” discussed foreign and domestic investment and the business climate in the region. Finally, a panel on “Challenges Ahead for Latin America in the Global Context” took a high-level view of the region as well as endemic challenges such as poverty and inequality.   

The conference also included a keynote address by Gustavo Rivera Loret de Mola, special projects coordinator of the Legorreta-Hernandez Foundation, who discussed fighting corruption in Latin America. He proposed that corruption in Latin America, although it “is not cultural,” nevertheless remains pervasive because it “helps solve the problems of everyday life.” His work with the foundation aims to “increase the cost of being corrupt and the benefit of being ethical.”   

In addition to the Legorreta-Hernandez Foundation, “Latin America at a Crossroads” received support from the Georgetown Latin American Board, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the Office of the Vice President for Global Engagement.   

The conference attracted students from across Georgetown, as well as other area universities, and is anticipated to be the first in an annual series.