The New School, New York
The Spring Public Lecture of the President Nestor Kirchner (PNK) Fellowship 2016-2017 took place on March 8th 2017 at the famous Orozco Room at The New School in New York. With this lecture, the OLA celebrated the culmination of the 6th edition of the PNK Fellowship, a join initiative of the Universidad Nacional de San Martin (UNSAM) in Argentina and The New School, in New York.
Our Spring 2017 Fellows, Bianca Moro de Carvalho from Brazil and Javier Pérez Ibañez from Argentina, presented their respective works at an event entitled: “Social and Environmental Costs of Development”.
This President Nestor Kirchner (PNK) Public Lecture was introduced by Mary Watson, the Executive Dean of the New School for Public Engagement. She was joined at the Panel by Emmanuel Lobo Andrade, Deputy Consul from Brazil.
Dean Watson congratulated the OLA for another edition of the Fellowship. She pointed out that throughout the years, the PNK Fellows have enriched the university by bringing new perspectives and new topics that are sometimes understudied or are unknown. Watson pointed out that the political moment we are currently living in the U.S can only benefit from the experiences and perspectives each Fellow has as a scholar and as a member of a different community.
The introduction by Mary Watson was followed by comments from Margarita Gutman, Director of the PNK Fellowship, who shared with the audience the process of selecting the four fellows awarded for the period of 2016-2017. Professor Gutman explained that this year the Fellowship received 100 applications from 13 countries of Latin America, this being the second year the Program included Fellows from all Latin America and the Caribbean. Four applicants were awarded for the 6th edition, each from a different country: Isabella Esquivel, from Mexico; Sergio Miranda, from Bolivia; Bianca Moro, from Brazil; and Javier Perez, from Argentina. Professor Gutman noted that while Brazilian Fellows have been awarded in five years and Argentines in each of the 6 years, this was the first year the Fellowship was given to someone from Bolivia, and the second year to had a Fellow from Mexico. Up to now, the PNK Program has received 20 fellows from 5 different countries.
To introduce Javier Perez, from Argentina, Gutman highlighted Javier’s career in the public sector as a professor at the National University of Avellaneda, Argentina and how his academic research contributes to understanding interests, institutions and initiatives that promote or affect development in Argentina.
Following this introduction, Javier Perez opened his presentation with the following questions: What is the role and degree of influence of big corporations in shaping development policies in Argentina? How do corporations undermine the State’s relevance in guiding development? In order to answer these questions he conducted a case study of the soybean commodity chain in Argentina.
Javier argued that corporations have power to transform policies in order to benefit their own private interests to the detriment of development itself, making a case for the relevance of the state to participate in and foster development. During his presentation, he explained three different lenses to understand the relationship between the State and corporations: the neoliberal model; the structuralist- dependency model; and the economic sociology approach of “embedded autonomy”. He showed how depending on the economic and development model the production of soy is affected and how right now the balance has shifted towards benefitting corporations from this production. He concluded his intervention by arguing the importance of State participation in the economy in order to guarantee equitable development.
Present at the venue to introduce the Fellow from Brazil, Bianca Moro, was Deputy Consul Emmanuel Lobo Andrade from the Consulate of Brazil in New York. Deputy Consul Lobo Andrade highlighted Bianca’s long-standing work leading community participation and promoting initiatives that involve local communities, particularly in the Amazon region of northern Brazil.
Bianca Moro‘s study is focused on Macapa, capital of the State of Amapa, in northern Brazil. She described during her presentation the problems faced by the region of Macapa due to urban development. Amapa is the largest rainforest protected area in the world, a vast area secluded in the Amazon and isolated from the rest of the country.
She explained how the city of Macapa grows encroaching the wetlands that endangers the ecosystem capacity to regulate water levels and temperatures. Thousands of residents are under the poverty line, have little to no social protection, and dwell in substandard conditions. Such conditions, she emphasized, worsen in riparian areas, mostly government-owned land that is informally occupied.
Bianca’s work is not only done through the academic lens, but has been mostly developed at a community level, with the participation of students from the University of Macapa, as well as other community members. She presented a video of the work students have done, as they present different models for reducing the impact of this growth on the environment and well-being of the community.
The presentations ended with a lively discussion chaired by Dean Mary Watson. Comments and questions from the audience to both presentations included a reflection on how this type of research can contribute to change current paradigms in international and national policies.
THE PNK FELLOWSHIP REACHES ALL LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES, AND WILL
AWARD FOUR FELLOWSHIPS FOR 2017-2018!
This program is supported by the JULIEN J. STUDLEY FOUNDATION
and UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE SAN MARTÍN, ARGENTINA