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3rd Annual Penn in Latin America & the Caribbean Conference
9:00 AM - 7:30 PM

Right, Left, Right: U-Turns and their Impact in Latin America and the Caribbean

3rd Annual Penn in Latin America & the Caribbean Conference

All around the world voters are choosing leaders and policies that promise to break away with the politics of the recent past. From Brexit, to the victory of the No in Colombia’s Peace Accords referendum, to the selection of a political outsider to the U.S. presidency, we are witnessing major shifts in voters’ preferences, which are leading to important changes in legislation and policy-making. In Latin America, after almost two decades of leftist governments and social redistribution policies, right wing governments are back in power in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Paraguay, promising to cut down public spending and reversing most of the socio-economic policies of their predecessors. How will Latin American populations, particularly the most vulnerable sectors, be impacted by these political swings? What can we learn from the past? What is likely to happen with the delivery of health services, educational services, urban planning, and protection of the environment in the region? Will drug trafficking and violence recede in Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela? What will happen to international trade agreements, such as NAFTA? How will hemispheric migration evolve? These are some of the questions we will reflect upon in the PLAC 3rd Annual Conference, which will bring together colleagues and scholars from multiple disciplines across the University of Pennsylvania. This event will showcase Penn’s outstanding and cutting-edge research on Latin America and the Caribbean.

The PLAC 3rd Annual Conference is being organized and co-sponsored by the Latin American and Latino Studies Program (SAS); the School of Nursing; Penn Global; and the Perry World House, Harnwell College House Latin America Residential Program and International Program.



8:30-9:00am | Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:15am | Welcome

  • Dean Antonia M. Villarruel, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing

  • Tulia G. Falleti, Class of 1965 Term Associate Professor; Director of Latin American and Latino Studies Program; Senior Fellow Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

9:15 – 10:00am | “The End of the Left-Right Cleavage in Latin America?”

Inaugural Presentation by Marian Vidaurri, Chief of the Political Analysis Section in the OAS Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy (with César Rosales).

10:00 – 11:30am | Panel 1: Law, Transitional Justice, and Politics in Changing Times

Moderator: Tulia G. Falleti, Class of 1965 Term Associate Professor; Director of Latin American and Latino Studies Program; Senior Fellow Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

  • “Counter-narratives of Security, State Violence, and Terrorism,” Jennifer Ponce de León, Assistant Professor of Latina/o Literature and Culture, Department of English.

  • “Politics turn, corporations remain: The undone Transitional Justice in Brazil,” Eduardo Saad-Diniz, Professor in Ribeirão Preto Law and Program for Latin American Integration at the University of São Paulo.

  • “The International Criminal Court and Latin America” Andrea Matačić Cayley, Penn Law School.

  • “Overview of Current US Immigration and Refugee Laws” Fernando Chang-Muy, Thomas O’Boyle Lecturer in Law, University of Pennsylvania School of Law

  • “NAFTA: Future uncertainty, prospective factual analysis negotiation, and potential implications.” Diego Alejandro Sanchez Labrador, M.A. Candidate in International and Human Rights Law, Syracuse University College of Law; Samuel Torres-Landa, Research Fellow, Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Veronica M. Zoghbi, Periopoerative Safety Fellow, Perioperative Services, Hospital of the Univerisity of Pennsylvania; Serguei A. Castaneda, PGY3 Radiation Oncology Resident, Department of Radiation Oncology, Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University Hospital.

11:30 am - 12:00 pm | Lunch Break

12:00-1:00 pm | "Trading Fictions: Love, the Law and the Enterprise of the Spanish Conquest of the Americas”

Lunch time Keynote Lecture by Nicole Legnani, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Princeton University

1:00-1:15pm | Coffee

1:15pm-2:45pm Panel 2: Local Politics, Global Consequences

Moderator: Catherine Bartch, Associate Director of Latin American and Latino Studies

  • “Look to the South: Mexico’s Indigenous Heritage in the 21st Century”, Richard M. Leventhal, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Executive Director of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the Penn Museum; Tiffany C. Cain, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology; Kasey Diserens, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology; and Aldo Anzures Tapia, PhD Student, Graduate School of Education.

  • “Gender, Patriarchal Participation and Infrastructural Publics in Quito, Ecuador,” Julie Gamble, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow, Professor- Research, College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Universidad San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador.  

  • “The Return of the Right in the City: The Case of São Paulo” Daniel Aldana Cohen, Assistant Professor of Sociology.

  • “Decolonizing the Caribbean Subject: Responses to the Danilo Medina Presidency in the Dominican Republic,” Ana Almeyda-Cohen, PhD Student in Hispanic Studies.

2:45-3:00 pm | Coffee Break

3:00-4:00 pm | Roundtable discussion: School Choice in the Americas – A Comparative View of US and Chilean Experiences

Alejandro Carrasco, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Policy, School of Education, and Director, Center for Educational Policy and Practice (CEPPE), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile;  Sigal Ben-Porath, Professor of Graduate School of Education, and Michael Johanek, Senior Fellow at the Graduate School of Education.

Moderator: Nancy Biller, Assistant Dean for Global Health Affairs, School of Nursing.

4:00-5:00pm: Poster Presentations (with Coffee)

Poster Group 1: Politics and Health Outcomes

Moderator: Kent Bream, Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health, Perelman School of Medicine

  • “Stuck Healthily in the Left Lane: Leveraging Nicaragua's Socialist Platform to Pioneer Rural Surgical Care for the Poor,” Jordan Swanson, MD, MSC; Jesse A. Taylor, MD; Scott Bartlett, MD, Division of Plastic Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine.

  • “Donation of Rescued Medical Supplies to Venezuela: A Feasibility Study,” Veronica Zoghbi, Safety Fellow, Perioperative Services, Hospital of the University of Pennyslvania.

  • “Perceptions of Spirituality and Religion among Haitian Immigrants/Descendants with Cancer”, Christy Charnel, Undergraduate Student, Nursing School, Du Bois College House Research Fellow.

Poster Group 2: Politics and Health Policies and Interventions in Guatemala  

Moderator: Johnny Irizarry, Director of the Center for Hispanic Excellence: La Casa Latina

  • “Bettering the Quality of Care Where the Government Overlooks: Implementing an Electronic Patient Registry and the Use of Mobile Health in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.” Zoe Barbati, Undergraduate Student, College of Arts and Sciences.

  • “Establishment of a sustainable dermatology global health outreach and residency partnership program in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala,” Peter B. Chansky, MD Candidate, Perelman School of Medicine.

  • “Is obesity the cost of being food insecure?  An analysis of food environments and behaviors in rural Guatemala,” Lynn Hur, Biology, College of Arts and Sciences.

  • “Creciendo Juntos (Growing Together): A Mobile Early Childhood Development Intervention for Community Health Workers in Guatemala,” Esha Khurana MD, MPH Candidate, Perelman School of Medicine.

Poster Group 3: Cuba: From Revolution to Tourism

Moderator: Katelyn Leader, Senior Program Associate, Perry World House

  • “Political nostalgia and the Cuban Revolution: past wars will make you win,” Azahara Palomeque, Associate Director, MSSP Program, School of Social Policy and Practice.     

  • “Revolutionary and Counterrevolutionary Women: State Violence, Gender Politics, and Resistance in Cuba and in Exile, 1952-1962,” Amanda Nart, Undergraduate Student, College of Arts and Sciences.

  • “Perspectivas: Social Policy, Race, and Tourism in Cuba,” Melissa Beatriz Skolnick, Research Fellow, School of Social Policy and Practice.

5:00-6:15 pm | Screening and Discussion of Documentary, Four Days in May

Presentation and Discussion of the experimental documentary Four Days in May (2017, 45 minutes (English, Jamaican Patois)) by Deborah A. Thomas, R. Jean Brownlee Term Professor of Anthropology; Deanne M. Bell (University of East London), and Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn (Kingston and New York).  Executive Producer, John L. Jackson, Jr., Richard Perry University Professor; Dean, School of Social Policy and Practice; and Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor (University of Pennsylvania)

6:30-7:30pm | Talk and Performance by Cuban Feminist Rapper, La Fina