AUSTIN, Texas—A free and public symposium at The University of Texas at Austin on Friday (Feb. 25) will bring scholars, government officials and human rights activists to campus to examine the forces affecting democracy in Latin America.
The symposium, Challenges to Fragile Democracies in the Americas: Legitimacy and Accountability will be held in the The Sheffield Room at the UT Austin School of Law, 727 East Dean Keeton St. It will open at 10 a.m. Friday with welcoming remarks by Michael Sharlot, dean of the UT Austin School of Law, and an introduction by Professor Nicholas Shumway, director of the Institute of Latin American Studies.
The conference will look closely at how the instruments of government survived the periods of authoritarianism and are handling current challenges to determine what it takes to regain true democratic legitimacy. Recent events illustrate that the judiciary, the legislature and the executive branches each have different parts to play in this process. How each branch responds plays a critical role in the reestablishment of the public trust that is at the heart of any democratic system.
The first panel will be Presidential-Legislative Relations: Confrontation or Coordination? Panel participants will include Professor A.R. Brewer-Carias of Universidad Central de Venezuela, Congresswoman Lourdes Flores Nano of Peru, Professor H.W. Perry of UT Austin and Professor Carlos Rosenkrantz of Universidad de Buenos Aires.
The second panel, beginning at 2 p.m., is Protection of Civil Liberties During Times of Transition. It features Professor Martin Bohmer of Universidad de Palermo in Argentina, Professor Sarah Cleveland of the UT Austin School of Law and Helen Beatriz Mack Chang of Fundacion Myrna Mack, Guatemala.
The third panel at 4 p.m. deals with Accountability for Past Human Rights Abuses: Facing the Legacy of Authoritarianism and includes Professor Steven Ratner of the UT Austin School School of Law, Professor Roberto Saba of Universidad de Palermo, Argentina and Jose Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch/Americas Division.
The conference will end with concluding remarks by Vice Provost Gerald Torres.
The symposium is sponsored by UT Austin’s School of Law, the Institute of Latin American Studies, the College of Liberal Arts Democracy in the New Millenium Program, the Texas International Law Society and the Office of the Provost. For additional information contact Sylvia Sexton at the School of Law, (512) 232-1315.