Latin American Network Initiative

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Vivan Marcelino

Isabel Pereira


The Latin America Network Initiative (LANI) is a students’ initiative dedicated to the promotion of Latin America in the Graduate Institute.

Our purpose is to form a bridge between the academic and professional communities, creating scenarios for dialogue and interaction. Furthermore, LANI aims to be a source of information and support to students interested in researching about or working with/in Latin America.

At the Graduate Institute, LANI aims to act as a facilitator. We aim to enhance the presence of Latin America by academic debates concerning the region, organizing events, and promoting partnerships with institutions in and out of Latin America

Background Information

With a sizeable 15% of IHEID students hailing from Latin America, LANI recognized the under-representation of this region in regard to academic, social and professional activities. During Fall 2013, a group of motivated students seeking to cultivate increased interest in the region founded LANI.

Ever since, LANI has expanded. Currently, 6 students form LANI’s Executive Board and over 15 collaborate with the initiative on a regular basis. This semester, LANI’s board started holding regular meetings every 15 days-

During spring semester 2014, LANI has striven to expand its partnerships with Geneva’s International community. We are happy to say that we have successfully reached out to different Latin American missions in Geneva and we expect to further expand our partnerships during the fall semester.

Summary of Events

Around the World in 80 Plates – Multicultural Night

  • LANI’s first appearance was in the Around the World in 80 Plates – Multicultural Night, organized by GISA. LANI worked promoting the event among the Latin American students and stimulating them to cook a dish. LANI’s members also cooked and brought music to make sure we had a fun night.

Movie Night – Motorcycle Diaries

  •  LANI’s first movie night was the screening of the Movie Motorcycle Diaries.

Movie Night and Debate – Xingu

  •  LANI’s movie night and debate of the spring semester was with the Movie XINGU, which shows the debate for natural resources and the struggle for the protection of indigenous communities in Brazil. Professor Marc Hufty opened the night with a provocative talk. Following the screening of the movie, Mr… of the … Indigenous Community  commented on the situation that they (and other Latin American Communities) are currently facing regarding land grabbing and illegal exploitation of natural resources located in indigenous lands.

Debate Político – Human Rights and Security: the Case of Mexico

  • LANI’s first Debate Político, which aims to foster the debate concerning current pressing political issues in Latin America by bringing specialists and representatives to the Graduate Institute, was on the current Human Rights situation on Mexico and had the presence of Mr. Nabor Carrillo – Executive Secretariat of the National Commission on Human Rights of Mexico. Mr. Carrillo talked about the challenges in promoting Human Rights in a scenario of conflict and his talk was followed by a debate.

La Rumba Saborosa – LANI’s launching and fundraising event

  • La Rumba Saborosa was LANI’s last event of the spring semester of 2014. With this event, LANI aimed at promoting the Initiative and at raising funds for future activities. During the night, students were invited to enjoy Latin American food and drinks, to participate in a salsa workshop, to hit LANI’s mascot Piñata (Petunia) and to dance to the sound of Groovah, a Geneva based band that uses different Latin American rhythms to create their own unique music. Over 100 students attended La Rumba Saborosa.

Other Activities

During fall semester, LANI reached out to the Latin American Missions in Geneva. We have held meetings with the Brazilian’s Mission to the UN and WTO, with the El Salvadorian Mission to the UN, the Colombian Embassy and Mission to the UN and with the Peruvian Mission to the UN. We currently have meetings scheduled with the Mexican Mission and we shall me meeting the Ecuadorian mission soon.

In addition, we hold a meeting with members of the IHEID administration to address the presence of Latin America at the Institute and the plans to expand the number of partnerships with universities in the region and of Latin American visiting professors and scholars. We have also met with different professors to present LANI and discuss future plans.

Future Goals

For the next semester, LANI is planning to organize a number of conferences with prominent Latin American representatives and organizations and to continue with our movie nights and Debates Políticos. Moreover, we aim to promote cultural and social events.

Furthermore, LANI aims to enhance its partnerships and continue to network with the professors and the IHEID administrations. LANI also aims to involve the new students in the coming semester and organize welcome activities (TBD).

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