by Juan Martín Graña, 2014-2015 President Néstor Kirchner Fellow

graa confUpon learning that I had won, despite the recognition it means one has no idea of the magnitude of the experience that involves this fellowship. In the weeks prior to the trip, recognition of its importance grows when the resources of the Observatory of Latin America are set to your services in order to connect with personalities very relevant to your field of study. But again, the road has just begun, and the two weeks of work in New York are really enriching. The meetings with people impressive backgrounds, where discussions on the topics you’re interested in are sincere and interesting, are the first step. Then presentations to a group of graduate students and faculty of the New School provide feedback and suggestions from all disciplines to improve not only this presentation but future individual works. Finally, the experience of the Public Lecture is unmatched. In an incredible room, surrounded by murals of Orozco, one presents his work in front of an interested audience and receive more feedback from the discussants and the audience.

Having discussed the specific issues our countries face with from across the region and the world, allows one to put in perspectives what the region has accomplished and its problems. But it is there where this fellowship is different from the others. That particular feature of the fellowship and the Observatory –the combination of academics and political engagement- means that the discussion is not limited to the academia but it also empowers us for our political action. So, when returning, one not only advanced in the field of their own public intervention, but also recognizes a greater commitment to the country and the region.

Surely, this set of experiences related to the Fellowship brings us one step closer to fully understand the problems of our region allowing us to move forward in solving pressing problems that our people face.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 2014

 Read more about the President Néstor Kirchner Fellowship Program

This program is supported by the JULIEN J. STUDLEY FOUNDATION