Latin America has undergone a spectacular transformation over the past few decades. The region, which was once among the poorest and least developed on the planet, has achieved an impressive level of integration and progress in many areas. Education and health standards have improved dramatically, changing the lives of entire generations. In the economic arena, financial integration has been at the heart of the region’s growing exposure and relevance as a key player in world financial markets. The importance of the region as a powerful block has been enhanced by the consolidation of the democratic processes taking place in almost every member country.
Despite these titanic achievements, the region still faces daunting challenges. Citizen-participation levels in the building of democracy are still far from optimal. Inequality, especially regarding the gender gap and the distribution of wealth, remains an area of concern. The wealthy few still hold the majority of the resources, and most women have not yet enjoyed the same economic and social opportunities afforded to men. Insecurity has reached alarming levels, threatening peace and social stability. More than ever, democracy needs to be protected, and indeed fostered, throughout the region.
This is the aspiration of the Latin America Policy Journal (LAPJ) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University: to create a strong community of Latin American emerging and consolidated leaders, one in which we can reflect, dialogue, and act in unison to face the most pressing problems of our region.
Latin Americans have come to understand and deeply believe in the importance of strengthening the bonds in our region. We recognize the value of a strong identity that builds upon our shared heritage and our shared present and future. We understand that there is something greater than being Mexican, Colombian, or Argentinian. That something greater is being Latin American. We understand that because we share similar challenges, we can and must learn from and assist each other.
This journal allows us to think critically, engage in dialogue, act, and learn from different practices across the region in order to continue the spectacular transformation that Latin America has undergone thus far.
An HKS Student Publication
Jessica Grisanti | Editor-in-Chief
Jessica Grisanti is a second year student in the Master in Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to coming to the Kennedy School, Jessica was the senior economist at Ecoanalitica, a prominent Venezuelan economic consultancy firm. For three years, Jessica also served as an Adjunct Professor of Macroeconomics at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, where she received an award for teaching excellence. Jessica was born in Venezuela. Jessica during the summer of 2016 was a consultant in GPSURR at the World Bank where she work in different projects in Central America about local economic development, infrastructure and crime prevention. She is a social and urban policy enthusiast and an avid dog lover.
Johanna López | Executive Director
Johanna Lopez is a Colombian economist, currently studying a Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She previously worked as an Economist at the Central Bank of Colombia and as a Research Assistant at the Public Finance Secretary of the Government of Bogotá (Colombia). Highly experienced in fiscal policy with an emphasis in public debt sustainability, analysis of the implication of legislative reforms, and macroeconomic management of natural resources. Her main interest is the process of economic development and the provision of public infrastructure.
Richard Medina Gómez | Senior Editor
Richard Medina Gómez is a Dominican economist who currently is a graduate student at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Richard worked for the Dominican Ministry of Finance for four years, with a focus on macroeconomic research, financial analysis and public debt management operations. Richard is interested in exploring how a developing country’s institutional framework could be strengthened through more capable public employees and decision makers. He is also interested in pre-college education policy in developing countries.
Richard Medina was the Editor-in-Chief of the 5th Edition of the LAPJ.
Daniel Stagno | Senior Editor
Daniel Stagno is a Presidential Public Service Fellow currently pursuing a Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Before joining the Kennedy School, Daniel worked at the Latin American and Caribbean Economy System as Director of Studies and Proposals. Daniel has also held joint appointments at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello and at IESA Business School, as Adjunct Professor of Introductory Macroeconomics. Born and raised in Venezuela, Daniel is interested in structural transformation, competitiveness, literature and exotic gastronomy.
Juan Manuel Gustale Cardoni | Editor
Juan Manuel Gustale Cardoni is a Paraguayan lawyer who works for the Central Bank of his country (currently on leave, doing the MC/MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School). He graduated from the National University of Asuncion and holds a Master of Laws in Banking and Financial Regulation from the London School of Economics. He has published a number of articles and has participated as a speaker in several international conferences related to financial regulation and supervision. While he spends most of his time at the Library, he also enjoys running, playing soccer and watching Suits on Netflix.
Laura Hincapié | Editor
Laura is an economist with a master in economics, and a MPA/ID student with a focus in social policy design and implementation on field. Before HKS, she worked at the National Planning Department in Colombia, as the adviser of the Sectoral Deputy Director, where her main role was to be part of the coordination group that designed the National Development Plan for 2014-2018, and other responsibilities such as the coordination of technical divisions in several projects. She also has professional experience in designing evaluations of sectoral and national policies for the early childhood and social inclusion sector. Her professional goal is to work in a developing country designing policies on field. She loves running and reading novels.
Michelle Infanzón | Editor
Michelle Infanzon is a Master in Public Policy and International Development (MPA/ID) candidate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She holds a Bachelors and Master Degree in Economics at Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de México (ITAM). Michelle has tree years of experience designing, implementing and evaluating Social Programs in Mexico. Some of the topics she has analyzed as the Research Manager of QFD (www.qfd.org.mx) include technology adoption in agriculture, use of technology in education and, financial inclusion. She has also worked as Research Assistant and Consultant for different organizations such as OECD and ITAM, on environmental and educational projects. Upon graduating from the Kennedy School, she looks forward to returning to Mexico and work towards improving the Mexican Education Public Sector.
Astrid Pineda | Editor
Astrid Pineda is a first year student pursuing a Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS). Before coming to HKS, Astrid was working with J-PAL on the impact evaluation of education policies in the Dominican Republic. Astrid has also worked as a consultant at the Social Protection and Health Division of the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB). She has a keen interest in poverty-alleviation strategies, and is passionate about improving education policy in her home country, the Dominican Republic. In her free time, she enjoys watching films and reading fiction.
Jimena Romero | Editor
Jimena Romero is a first year peruvian student in the Master of Public Administration and International Development (MPAID) in Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Jimena holds a BA in Economics from the Universidad del Pacifico and has worked in the Ministry of Education of Peru, Apoyo Consultoria and the OECD. Her principal interest is the design and implementation of policies in education, economic growth and poverty reduction, and the role that the private sector can take through private public partnerships. She is a music and movies enthusiast!
Daniela Serrano | Editor
Daniela Serrano is a candidate for a Masters in Public Administration in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Daniela worked in management consulting in Latin America before attending the Kennedy School, and spent the summer of 2016 analyzing survey data at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis. Daniela was born and raised in Ecuador. She is interested in using technology to further sustainable development in her home, the Galapagos Islands, as well as the region at large.
Manuel Gonzalez-Schuler | Editor
Manuel is currently a 1st year MPA student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to joining HKS, he worked as a research fellow at the Labor Markets Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington DC, where he led the construction of an online platform on labor and pensions indicators -namely The SIMS-. Before that, he worked in two different United Nations’ agencies (UNESCO and ILO) supporting the organization of global forums for youth, such as the UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris (2011) and the ILO Youth Employment Forum in Geneva (2012). He is interested in topics related to innovation, city management and urban development. He is also a soccer fan of Millonarios FC and a cheeseburger lover.
Manuel holds a B.A. in Finance and International Relations from Externado de Colombia University and completed an international exchange program at SciencesPo School of Public Affairs in Paris.