When Nestor Kirchner, Secretary-General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and former President of Argentina, spoke at The New School in last September, it was a testament to the longstanding relationship between the university and many of South America’s political and intellectual leaders. Sadly, that was one of Kirchner’s last appearances in the United States: he died in October 2010, just a few days after his visit to The New School.
Thanks to the efforts of The New School’s Observatory on Latin America (OLA) and the Universidad Nacional de San Mart√≠n in Argentina, President Kirchner’s legacy of public service lives on through the Nestor Kirchner Fellowship. This competitive award will bring young South American leaders to The New School for two weeks of seminars and exchange programs culminating in a public lecture by the fellow.
The initial announcement of the program last April generated interest across the continent. We received over 100 applications from every nation in South America,, said Michael Cohen, director of The New School’s graduate program in International Affairs, which oversees OLA. Our applicants were a truly diverse group: educators, environmentalists, journalists, even a forensic anthropologist.,
The applications were reviewed by a jury of South American political leaders and scholars, and the first winners were announced last month. New School president David E. Van Zandt and OLA director Margarita Gutman traveled to Buenos Aires to participate in a ceremony honoring the three inaugural Kirchner Fellows:
Lucila Agustina Rosso (Argentina) holds a law degree from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and is a candidate for the master’s degree in international relations and negotiations from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), affiliated with the Universidad de San Andr√©s and the Universidad de Barcelona. Rosso has worked in the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Security Ministry and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. The Kirchner Fellowship, which will bring her to New York in November, will support her ongoing study on the economic implications of Argentina’s and Brazil’s pre-payments of their debts to the International Monetary Fund.
Erika Paredes S√°nchez (Ecuador) earned a master’s degree in development studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Sanchez currently works at the United National Development Programme in Ecuador. Her academic project is entitled The Union of South American Nations: At The Onset of a Socio-Regional Integration,, which is a fitting topic, given Nestor Kirchner’s final position, the Secretary-General of UNASUR. Sanchez will come to The New School in early 2012.
Mauricio Santoro Rocha (Brazil) is a journalist with a PhD in political science from the Instituto Universit√°rio de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro. Rocha has worked as a reporter for Globo Network and as an international cooperation officer at the Brazilian Institute of Social Analysis. In government, he worked at the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade and was a member of the Brazilian National Youth Council. As a Kirchner Fellow, Rocha will travel to New York in early 2012 to further his studies of media, democracy, and foreign policy in Brazil.
To Professor Cohen, Rosso, Sanchez, Rocha and all the applicants for the Kirchner Fellowship represent the rising democratic leadership embodied by the award’s namesake: The applicants reflect a new generation of politically engaged leaders, with academic interests and records of public service. The response to the fellowship illustrates that there’s a network of young people in South America who are looking for opportunities to influence their nations and the world.,