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Ambassador: Learning about Latin America holds value

Areas of Study , Event Recaps , Global Stories | Feb 06, 2013 |

by Jackson Lindauer (GSB ’15) 

Juan Carlos Vignaud has been an Argentinean ambassador since 1999. He has extensive experience in international relations, social development and governments. He lectures around the world on Latin-American foreign policy and teaches a class at Fordham on Latin American trends.

And on Monday, he helped to kick off the Gabelli School’s International Business Week.

Ambassador Vignaud began by acknowledging the complexity of Latin America: culturally, economically and beyond. “We speak of Latin America as if it is a single, homogenous region,” he said. “This is simply not the case.” For the benefit of his audience of more than 80 students, he delved into factors that differentiate Latin American countries, such as natural resources, political structures and economic drivers.

“Latin America is a land of wonders, but also a land of conflict and contradictions,” Ambassador Vignaud remarked. He spoke of the immense wealth and economic success growing in Brazil, in contrast with the increasing poverty in other countries.

Ambassador Vignaud acknowledged the challenges of improving Latin America and fostering growth there. But rather than speak of it as a high-level problem, he framed it as an invitation to students.

“Latin America is a compelling place to study,” he said, arguing that in today’s global environment, no one can be an expert on international relations if his or her toolkit lacks Latin American knowledge. He made the case that exploring democracies in other countries can help students better understand their own, and encouraged all to do so.

After all, he said, “This is our challenge, so we must work to understand it.”



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