November 16th, 2016 | The New School, New York
The Public Lecture of two of the President Nestor Kirchner Fellows 2016-2017 took place on November 16th, 2016, at The New School in New York. The Fellowship Program, a joint initiative of The New School and Universidad Nacional de San Martín from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is in its 6th edition. The Fellows, Isabella Esquivel, from Mexico and Sergio Miranda Hayes, from Bolivia presented their research at the event entitled: "Fighting for Social Justice in Latin America".
This President Nestor Kirchner (PNK) Public Lecture was introduced by The New School's President, David Van Zandt. Van Zandt reminded the audience of the importance of the President Nestor Kirchner Fellowship as part of the legacy of the late Julien J. Studley, a former New School Trustee, and a symbol of his interest in academic research and Latin America.
The introduction by David Van Zandt was followed by the Director of the Fellowship from Observatory on Latin America, Margarita Gutman who shared with the audience the process of selecting the four fellows awarded for the period of 2016-2017 . They were selected among a list of more than 100 applicants from all Latin America and the Caribbean. She emphasized on the Fellowship's approach to identifying young leaders who have shown commitment in both public practice and academia and highlighted the difficulties of choosing the finalists considering the diverse and competitive backgrounds of applicants.
Present at the venue to introduce the Fellows, were H.E Ambassador Sacha Llorenti Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the United Nations and Paulina Estrassburger, Political Attache at the Consulate of Mexico in New York.
First, Ambassador Llorenti referenced the relevance of Sergio Miranda's work, emphasizing the importance of breaking with Western-centrism, in an environment that still shows tendencies to exclude indigenous communities from policy making and governance narratives. He mentioned that such exclusion of non-western populations and narratives is one of the reasons why Bolivia took so long to elect an indigenous president considering that indigenous populations represent almost half of the country's population.
Sergio Miranda Hayes, from Bolivia, opened his presentation with a personal reflection on the importance of diversity in cities and countries, from this, his first visit to New York. As he expressed it: "Diversity is the key to a country's wealth". He then presented his critical work on "Indigenous Rights and Legal Pluralism in Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador", a comparative study focused on the different models of incorporating indigenous rights in the Constitutional frameworks using Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador as examples. Sergio explained the Bolivian and Ecuadorian systems are plurinational, meaning different systems of rights and justice coexist within the same national territory, while the Colombian system is pluralistic, which means indigenous law and ordinary law may coexist, but if they face against each other in a certain case, ordinary lay prevails. Sergio provided examples on how particular rights such as land rights, as well as linguistic and educational rights, explaining how they vary from one constitution to another. He ended his intervention reminding the audience of the importance of fighting one's beliefs and arguing this has effects in justice and equality.
Paulina Estrassburger, Political Affairs Attache from the Consulate of Mexico in New York, introduced Isabella Esquivel, from Mexico. Mrs. Estrassburger acknowledged the contributions Isabella's work has in rethinking gender practices to inform policymaking in Mexico. She mentioned how Isabella's involvement in public affairs and the approach she has been pushing is likely to have significant impacts in preventing violence against women in Mexico.
Isabella Esquivel Ventura's presentation started pointing out that gender-based violence did not use to be measured in Mexico. However, recent advances in official data-recording have been made andthese numbers are showing that around 50% of Mexican women suffer some kind of violence.
Isabella's research analyzes the extent to which masculinities studies have been incorporated into policies designed for violence against women. She considers that current policies do not target men, eventhough they are the key agents that could contribute to reducing violence against women. Isabella walked the audience through the debate about violence through the lens of masculinity, understanding it as a social configuration that reproduces power, hegemony, domination, and control. In this sense, she mentioned that all violence is masculine not because it comes from men but because it is essentially a mechanism for exercising the hegemony of one particular social configuration defined by masculinity. This means gender-based violence and violence in masculine terms, can be exercised by men as well as among women, not only between a man and a woman. She concluded her talk by expressing the need to design gender-based policies acknowledging violence in terms of masculinity and targeting social beliefs and behaviors.
The presentations ended with a lively discussion chaired by Michael Cohen, Director of the Observatory on Latin America. Comments and questions from the audience to both presentations included a reflection on how this types of research can contribute to change current paradigms in international and national policies.
The PNK Fellowship has been expanded to all Latin American and Caribbean countries, and will award four fellowships for 2017-2018! Information is open, and submissions are received from March 1st to May 22nd, 2017
Read more about the President Néstor Kirchner Fellowship Program
This program is supported by the JULIEN J. STUDLEY FOUNDATION
and UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE SAN MARTÍN, ARGENTINA