Tag Archives: Latin America

Small Staff, Tight Budget-Challenges Carla Nodi Faced at UN Women in Chile

As an International Relations student focusing on women’s rights, I had the privilege of working with UN Women during my semester in Santiago, Chile. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was actually the inaugural director of the organization in 2011, which makes the shared office space, small staff of four women, and equally small budget primarily sourced from the European Union an interesting challenge.

As an intern, I was responsible for facilitating internal operations through research, document drafting, and excel database development. I supported project implementation through inter-agency collaboration, communication with community stake-holders, and management of event logistics. I was able to participate in international campaigns such as the UNiTE campaign against gendered violence and the HeForShe campaign promoting an inclusive approach to gender equality; as well as domestic projects focusing on increased female political participation and leadership; street harassment; and closing the gendered wage gap in Chile.

In our world, 1 in every 3 women globally experiences physical or sexual violence. Millions of girls are being denied the opportunity to study, and two thirds of the illiterate population is made up of girls. Women struggle to enter the workforce, to be taken seriously, to rise to positions of leadership, and a significant wage gap leaves women more vulnerable to poverty. Only 22% of national parliaments are comprised of women, with only 11 serving as heads of state and 13 as heads of government. Women are disproportionately affected by health issues related to poverty, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, war, and lack of reproductive rights.

Organizations such as United Nations Women become ever more critical in the global fight for equal access to education and quality health care; the right to equal wages and the ability to actively participate, serve, and lead in our political systems; the right to live without fear of violence and harassment. I am incredibly grateful for the perspective I have gained during this semester and I hope to see both the financial resources and program capacity of this young organization grow as the world begins to recognize the need to prioritize women’s rights for the benefit of society.

Carla Nodi (far right) holding up a UN women Sign in Santiago
Carla Nodi (far right) holding up a UN Women Sign in Santiago

 

 

Edward Lynch, Latin America Security Assistance at the Center for International Policy

Edward Lynch & Nicole Martinez in front of South Lawn of the White House for Pope Francis' visit
Ted Lynch & Nicole Martinez in front of South Lawn of the White House for Pope Francis’ visit

Edward “Ted” Lynch is an MPA/MAIR student in the Maxwell School’s Public Administration and International Affairs Department.

This past fall I interned at the Center for International Policy (CIP). In the center’s Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) program, I focused on the region of Latin America, researching and writing about U.S. security assistance and military cooperation. Substantively, interning at a mid-sized think tank, within a collaboration oriented program afforded me opportunities to direct work towards my own interests as well as the more salient political developments which took place in the last half of 2015.

Most U.S. foreign policy junkies will remember 2015 as the year of the Iran Nuclear deal, the Paris bombings and the continued emergence of ISIL. By focusing on Latin America I was privy to more subtle developments in regional foreign policy.

We saw the downfall of Guatemala’s president through a corruption scandal, the recently concluded hunt for El Chapo Guzman in Mexico and closely contested elections in Argentina. The U.S. government took tougher measures with their partners in the region, withholding and reprogramming Merida Initiative security assistance to Mexico. The U.S. Department of the Treasury took the lead on tackling organized crime in Honduras, aggressively extraditing business magnates and political heavyweights in that country.

With relation to Colombia however, the U.S. backed down from longstanding extradition requests in an effort to foster peace negotiations between the FARC guerillas and the Colombian government which have been in protracted conflict for around 60 years. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars in Latin America to counter the illicit drug market, and one of my projects was to put this budget into context, comparing the amount of money transferred to the different regions of Latin America (the Andes, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean) with the global counternarcotics strategy.

Outside of my internship, I took advantage of Syracuse University’s course offerings at CSIS to expand my knowledge of geographical regions outside of my specialty with the aim of becoming a well rounded practitioner. The DC campus opens up Maxwell students to a wealth of practitioner expertise, and I was lucky enough to learn about Africa from a development practitioner and South Asia from a former Pakistani diplomat. The Maxwell staff at CSIS, Ryan Williams and Samantha Clemencé, were instrumental in helping me process my internship experience and opening the Maxwell Alumni network to me, enabling me to find work and stay in DC for my final semester.

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Ted Lynch(The third from the right) and the Security Assistance Monitor team at the Center for International Policy
Ted Lynch (third from right) and the Security Assistance Monitor team at the Center for International Policy

Ryan Drysdale Gains First-Hand Info on US Foreign Policy Impacts in Chile

Ryan Drysdale spent his Summer and Fall Semesters in Santiago, Chile, improving his Spanish, interning at TechnoServe and taking courses through SU’s university partnerships. He is a MAIR student.

Chilean Diego Rivera, Maxwell MPA alumna Eliana Briceno, and Ryan Drysdale in front of the Chilean executive office called La Moneda
Chilean Diego Rivera, Maxwell MPA alumna Eliana Briceno, and Ryan Drysdale in front of the Chilean executive office called La Moneda

The Santiago Center through Syracuse University Study Abroad offers graduate students a unique opportunity to study at two of the best universities in Chile and South America while interning at a variety of organizations. During the Fall 2015 Semester, I was able to intern with the global NGO TechnoServe helping their Monitoring and Evaluation program track the progress of their initiatives working towards helping small entrepreneurs improve their business performance.

In addition to my internship, I took the two courses offered by the Santiago Center: 1) Environmental Policy in Chile and 2) Dictatorships, Human Rights, and Historical Memory in the Southern Cone. The highlight of the academic experience in Santiago was the latter course taught by historian and the center’s director, Professor Mauricio Paredes, a former member of the resistance against the Pinochet dictatorship who was detained and tortured.

Through declassified US government documents, visits to local museums and torture centers with Professor Paredes, and his engaging lectures, we gained a firsthand look at the impacts of US foreign policy and how those effects still linger today in Chile. The United States establishment in the 1970s during the Cold War, led by President Richard Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, feared the rise of democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende in the US sphere of influence. According to declassified documents, during a National Security Council meeting in 1970, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird stated: “We have to do everything we can to hurt Allende and bring him down.”

The US helped orchestrate a failed coup attempt against President Allende in 1970 and supported the successful coup against Allende in 1973 which brought General Augusto Pinochet to power. Seventeen years of military rule resulted in tens of thousands tortured and disappeared, over 400,000 forced into exile abroad, and the ushering in of neoliberal economic policies crafted by Milton Friedman which has led to Chile being one of the most unequal countries in the OECD today based on a Gini coefficient of 0.51 out of 1.0

Forty-five years after the US first started to meddle in Chile’s internal politics, the ramifications still exist. Our experience in Chile, however, coincided with a historical announcement by socialist President Michelle Bachelet to start a four year process to finally rewrite the current constitution implemented in 1980 under Pinochet’s brutal military rule. A major takeaway from the semester was seeing and hearing firsthand about the drastic impacts that foreign policy and geopolitical decisions can have for decades on a country and more importantly the people of that country.

Ryan Drysdale and Maxwell MAIR-ECON student Julianne Dunn on top of the Santa Lucia hill in the heart of Santiago, Chile
Ryan Drysdale and Maxwell MAIR-ECON student Julianne Dunn  on top of the Santa Lucia hill in the heart of Santiago, Chile

 

Ryan Drysdale is Repelling down a 75 foot cliff outside of Pucón, Chile
Repelling down a 75 foot cliff outside of Pucón, Chile