By Diego Salvatierra
Last month LASO, the Latin American Student Organization, hosted its first ever Latin America Week. This weeklong series of events was a great way to bring Latin American culture and issues to campus. The week began on Monday, March 26th with a relaxed lunch conversation with former Argentine Minister of the Economy, Domingo Cavallo. Over sandwiches and coffee at the Union League Café, a group of about 15 students discussed Latin American and Argentine economic issues with Mr. Cavallo, a renowned public servant and Yale economist.
The week continued with a visit by Arturo Valenzuela, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under Obama and adviser to the Clinton White House, on Tuesday and Wednesday, from Georgetown, where he currently teaches. In his State Department post, Mr. Valenzuela was in charge of US policy towards Latin America, responding directly to Secretary Clinton, from 2009 to 2011. Co-organized by the Yale Law School, Mr. Valenzuela’s visit included an event on Tuesday aimed at Law School students but open to everybody, and a more intimate event with undergraduates on Wednesday. During the second event, Mr. Valenzuela was introduced by our very own Dean García, and gave us a first-hand account of how US diplomacy is carried out, narrating anecdotes from both the Clinton and Obama administrations, as well as discussing US-Brazil diplomacy, inter-Latin-American relations, and other topics.
On Thursday LASO hosted Patricio Navia, a renowned Chilean political columnist and academic at NYU. Mr. Navia, whose columns feature regularly in Latin America’s major newspapers, discussed the region’s changing politics in the context of economic growth. He argued that as Latin America becomes increasingly middle-class, movements like Chile’s 2011 student protests might spread to other countries. He noted that the recent Chilean protests sparked not from hardship, but out of a desire for the country’s increasing prosperity to be shared more widely.
We finished the week with a Latin American food night on Friday in the SY Branford Room. With a great turnout of both Latin Americans and non-Latin Americans, we enjoyed Peruvian specialties such as Ají de Gallina and Lomo Saltado, accompanied by Inca Kola, a popular Peruvian soft drink. We also had Mexican tamales, Colombian empanadas, and flan with Leche Condensada for dessert.
All in all, a great success, a lot of fun, and we hope to do it again next year!
Here was the schedule for the week:
Monday, March 26, 1:00 PM, Union League Cafe
- "Institutions and Economic Growth in Latin America" Economic Discussion over Lunch with Domingo Cavallo, former Argentine Economy Minister and Senior Fellow of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.
Tuesday, March 27, 4:30 PM, Sterling Law Building, Room 120
- "Challenges and Opportunities for US Foreign Policy in Latin America" The Yale Law School welcomes Arturo Valenzuela, President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the US Department of State from 2009 to 2011
Wednesday, March 28, 3:30 PM, LC 211
- "Latin America and the Western Hemisphere" A more intimate conversation with Arturo Valenzuela, moderated by Rosalinda Garcia, Assistant Dean of Yale College.
Thursday, March 29, 5 PM, WLH 116
- "South America: Middle-Class Politics?" Political Discussion with Patricio Navia, Master Teacher of Liberal Studies Program at NYU and renowned Chilean political commentator: Patricio Navia, at 5pm in WLH116. He will be discussing South America’s changing politics. With student protests in Chile, a rising middle class, and new presidents inPeru and Brazil, the times-are-a-changing! Mr. Navia is a renowned South American political commentator and scholar, writing regular columns for major newspapers in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, and other countries, as well as OpenDemocracy and America’s Quarterly. He currently teaches at NYU’s Liberal Studies program and at Chile’s Diego Portales University. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago, and a PhD from NYU.
Friday, March 30, 5:30 PM, Saybrook-Branford Room
- Latin American Food Night: Delicious food from amazing Latin American restaurants
Sponsored by: La Casa, Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies, Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee