April 18, 2019
The NYU Brademas Center and NYU Washington, DC welcomed distinguished experts and international leaders to discuss the crisis in Venezuela, as well as the next steps in rebuilding the country’s economy, infrastructure, and institutions. Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented economic and political crisis. Opposition leaders within the country and the international community are looking ahead to a democratic transition of power, while at the same time focusing on the reconstruction of Venezuela’s economy. At this crucial tipping point, any decision regarding this South American country will determine its future trajectory.
During this event, Dr. Cynthia J. Arnson, Director, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Miriam Kornblith, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, National Endowment for Democracy, and Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue discussed the effects of this turmoil on the region as well as possible options to address the growing crisis. Geovanny Vicente Romero, Founder, Dominican Republic Center of Public Policy, Leadership and Development (CPDL-RD) and writer for CNN, moderated the discussion.
Dr. Cynthia J. Arnson is director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She is a widely-recognized expert on Latin American politics, political economy, and international relations, including U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. She is quoted frequently in major U.S. and Latin American media and has testified on numerous occasions before committees of the U.S. Congress.
Arnson is editor of Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America (Stanford, 1998); In the Wake of War: Democratization and Internal Armed Conflict in Latin America (Stanford, 2012); co-editor of Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century (Johns Hopkins 2013); and author of Crossroads: Congress, the President, and Central America, 1976-1993 (Penn State, 2d edition, 1993), among other publications. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica, the Spanish-language edition of the distinguished journal Foreign Affairs. She is also a member of the advisory boards of the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) and Human Rights Watch/Americas. She served as associate director of the Americas division from 1990-1994, covering Colombia and Central America. In the early 1980s, as a consultant to Americas Watch, Arnson wrote many of the organization’s first reports on human rights conditions in El Salvador.
Arnson served as an assistant professor of international relations at American University's School of International Service from 1989 to1991. As a foreign policy aide in the House of Representatives during the Carter and Reagan administrations, she participated in the national debates over U.S. policy and human rights in Central and South America.
Miriam Kornblith is the Senior Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C, which she joined in 2006. From 1998 to 1999, Miriam Kornblith was vice president and member of the board of directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela, where she oversaw five electoral processes. Kornblith is a Sociologist from the Catholic University “Andrés Bello” in Caracas, and followed doctoral studies in Political Science at the Central University of Venezuela. Kornblith is an emeritus professor at the Central University in Caracas, and is currently a part time professor at the Graduate School of Political Management at GWU.
Geovanny Vicente Romero is a columnist for CNN based in Washington, DC. He is a political strategist, international consultant and lecturer. He’s published many articles on development, human rights, governance, democracy, elections, the environment, as well as the role of women in a society. He is the founder of the Dominican Republic Center of Public Policy, Leadership and Development (CPDL-RD). Geovanny has a masters degree from The George Washington University in political communications and strategic governance. Reach him on Twitter @GeovannyVicentR.
Michael Shifter is president of the Inter-American Dialogue. He was previously vice president for policy and director of the Dialogue’s democratic governance program. Since 1994, Shifter has played a key role in shaping the Dialogue’s agenda, commissioning policy-relevant articles and reports.
Shifter writes and talks widely on US-Latin American relations and hemispheric affairs. His recent articles have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Financial Times, Current History, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Journal of Democracy, Harvard International Review and in newspapers and journals in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Chile, Panama, Argentina and Brazil. He is often interviewed by US, Latin American, European and Chinese media, and appears frequently on CNN and BBC. Shifter has lectured about hemispheric policy at leading universities in Latin America and Europe and has testified regularly before the US Congress about US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean.
Prior to joining the Dialogue, Shifter directed the Latin American and Caribbean program at the National Endowment for Democracy and, before that, the Ford Foundation’s governance and human rights program in the Andean region and Southern Cone, where he was based, first, in Lima, Peru and then in Santiago, Chile. In the 1980s, he was representative in Brazil with the Inter-American Foundation, and also worked at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program.
Since 1993, Shifter has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches Latin American politics. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Latin American Studies Association and is a contributing editor to Current History. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Washington Office on Latin America and on the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch/Americas Division, and the Social Science Foundation of the Graduate School of International Relations at the University of Denver.
Shifter graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Oberlin College and holds a MA in sociology from Harvard University, where he taught Latin American development and politics for four years.