Experts and Leaders from Latin America, U.S. Will Discuss Challenges To Fragile Democracies
AUSTIN, Texas The University of Texas School of Law will host the "Challenges to Fragile Democracies in the Americas" conference on April 11-12 in the Townes Hall Sheffield Room and John Jeffers Courtroom. The former presidents of Colombia and Peru are scheduled to participate in the conference along with other distinguished speakers from Latin America and the United States, including scholars from various components of the University.
The conference, which will focus on structural challenges to domestic prosperity, begins on Thursday, April 11, at 4 p.m. with a keynote address by The Honorable Valentín Paniagua, former president of Peru. The conference is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.
Friday's events begin at 9:30 a.m. and feature 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 final panel will look at external shocks to Latin American economies, such as insurgencies and narcotrafficking.
The conference will conclude Friday at 5:30 p.m. with an address by The Honorable César Gaviria, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States and former president of Colombia. Among the panelists are 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.
The ultimate success of Latin America's attempts at consolidation of democracy turns on the notion of reform, in particular the elimination of structures and practices at all levels of government that benefit certain elites at the expense of the welfare of the general public, UT Law Professor Steven Ratner 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, 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. This is the second such conference; the first was held in 2000 and examined institutional constraints on democratization, including presidential-legislative relations and civil rights.
Please contact Katrin Flechsig at (512) 232-4857 for further information.