AUSTIN, Texas—Former presidents of Colombia and Peru will participate in the Challenges to Fragile Democracies in the Americas conference, April 11-12, hosted by The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. The event will focus on structural challenges to domestic prosperity.
University scholars and several speakers from Latin America and the United States also will participate in the conference, which is free and open to the public. A keynote address at 4 p.m. April 11 by Valentin Paniagua, former president of Peru will begin the conference in the Townes Hall Sheffield Room and John Jeffers Courtroom at the law school.
The closing speech for the conference will be by César Gaviria, secretary-general of the Organization of American States and former president of Colombia. He will speak beginnning at 5:30 p.m. on April 12.
Conference events on April 12 will begin at 9:30 a.m. with discussions on three panels. The first will address impediments to democracy at the national level, in particular the difficulties of devising macroeconomic policy and the issue of corruption, and their linkages to solidification of democracy. The second panel will examine the challenges of implementing structural reforms at the local level. The third panel will look at external shocks to Latin American economies, such as insurgencies and narcotrafficking.
Conference panelists will include Roberto de Michele, head of the Argentine government’s anti-corruption unit; Carol Wise of the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies; Eduardo Gamarra of Florida International University and Myles Frechette, former U.S. Ambassador to Colombia.
Professor Steven Ratner of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law said the conference will explore different aspects and levels of reform, attempting to gauge what efforts are most likely to lead to successful results and what barriers remain to be overcome. Impediments within the governmental structures, as well as those outside it, will be considered.
The conference is sponsored by the School of Law, the College of Liberal Arts, the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the Organization of American States, the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.