by Erika Paredes Sánchez, 2011-2012 PNK Fellow
Being a President Nestor Kirchner fellow is a privilege for every Latin American citizen. It is a privilege that reflects the interest and commitment to the projects, strategies and policies that are being implemented in South America. It is a privilege, because as fellows we feel deeply honored to know that we are representing academics and researchers at the highest level of the region.
Being a Néstor Kirchner candidate and a fellow is an achievement in itself, because it means that we are working by and for the region. At the same time, it exemplifies a commitment to academic research or to working inside public and private institutions that promote pragmatic solutions for the common regional good.
The experience of this fellowship was been exiting and highly rewarding for three main reasons. First of all, the encounters with representatives of academia, governments, and multilateral organizations have enriched my vision of South America and Latin America. This was made possible through bilateral exchanges with academics from multiple universities such as The New School, Columbia University, and the City University of New York (CUNY). Furthermore, dialogues with representatives of the United Nations' Department of Political Affairs, as well as multiple permanent missions to the United Nations have broadened my vision of regional integration.
Secondly, regarding my research on the "Union of South American Nations: At the Onset of Socio-Regional Integration"; the dynamic in which the different encounters took place allowed me to strengthen my research from the methodological and pragmatic perspectives. Personally, I was enriched by the different academic and pragmatic application of integration in South America. Thanks to these spaces I have established a concrete and real structure to strengthen my investigation. Furthermore, the public conference in which I had the opportunity to present my thesis was a highpoint of my professional and academic career, as it allowed me to share my research results. It is, undoubtedly, a moment to be I will always value and remember.
Finally, the Observatory of Latin America promotes a space for Latin American brotherhood through links with students, teachers and people interested in regional research. For this reason, through many formal and informal meetings I have succeeded in creating partnerships that will surely accompany me throughout my career and my life for a long period.
Thus, it is with firm conviction that I invite you all to be part of this wonderful experience that will decidedly make an impression on your lives.
Quito, March 2012