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Jonatán Carné

Blog Team 2017

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#SABF2017 – Day 2

To begin the second day on a high note, the students went to the Student Lectures. Six students were selected in order to delve into their essays with the rest of the participants.

Augusto Ferraro (Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina), focused on evaluating Latin America’s levels of democratic participation and governability. In order to do that, he explained how the region brought different government models without previous adaptation to the reality of local societies. In a region where delegation of the power discourages citizen participation, he left evidence of the need for modernization and adaptation of these models.

Martín Gonzalo Zapico (Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Argentina), talked about where we come from and where we are going and how it connects with reality. He asked about what is truth opening up for debate its ties with power doing a brief recap on different perspectives throughout history. He concluded that seeking the truth is key in order to find our own identity.

Amal Atrakouti, from the AI Akhawayn University of Morocco, discussed in her lecture about the international laws that everybody accepts but only represent a few. She talked about knowledge on her continent, where war can be seen daily and it can reach agreements on how it should be in a time when there should no longer be any.

Rodrigo Varela from ITBA, Argentina, emphasized the importance of coming together on the way we think and our adaptation to the new world and its possibles changes. He proposed considering facts objectively and focussing on subjective information such as opinions, arguments and ideologies in order to debate.

Lene Mortensen from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, exposed in her lecture that thanks to the internet we have at our reach more information than ever, yet there’s a great gap between information and ignorance in order to improve decision making processes. She stresses the importance of press being responsible with the truthfulness of the information that offers.

Lucas Hernán Minutella from the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (Buenos Aires, Argentina) focused on user empowerment regarding the information they generate in his talk. People are always generating information from opinions expressed to actions taken. He emphasized how ideal it would be to be neutral and not profit with others person’s information. In order to do that, users should know about the tools available and use them to take control over their own information.

During the second activity of the morning, Interactive Lessons offered different spaces where the participants could listen to and talk with experts on different fields.

Andrés Snitcofsky, graphic designer of Cargografías, showed us different charts in order to demonstrate the importance of understanding them. Visualizing them is different from making them visible and we have to understand and apprehend the information that surrounds us.

Silvana Bonnet, Canales’s Head of Communication, talked about how little knowledge there is about the needs, the language and ways of communication of hard of hearing people around the world. She focused on breaking some myths and delved into the idea of how is the inclusion of hard of hearing people in the world of hearing people. Nowadays inclusion is a theme with growing relevance.

Dan Phillips, Founder and designer of The Phoenix Commotion shared with us his work with building recycled housing from raw and free materials that served as a starting point towards discussion. “I might not win my battles but I know what my battles are”, Dan says.

Eduardo Otero Torres made us think about paradigms regarding sexuality and the social shift currently happening. He explained how sexuality has not to do with sexual practices but with our gender and how we take care of our body. Through gender’s theory he broke the idea of having one determined gender because of our sex.

Matías Attwell, Manager of Media Partnerships for Latam at Google, talked about current global tendencies regarding online consumption habits and the future that comes with virtual reality.

In a third set of activities the participants gathered for Dynamic Activities.

Debate Activity

After going through the best practices for debating with Argentine Debating Association, the participants discussed about several relevant topics while learning and practicing how to carry a debate.

Art as Activism

Amen Ra y Natasha Hopper invited the participants to reflect on different topics, exposing their ideas through poems.

Fact Checking 101

The activity by Chequeado, a local organization that works towards verifying speeches, was led by Nira Dinerstein, from the Education Team and Ana Paula Valacco, from the Communication Department. Throughout different activities the students learned about the method that the Editorial Staff uses in order to check the information, the definition of a checked statement and how to use data in everyday life to validate speeches.

Empathic Design in Action

The activity led by Escuela de Posgrado ITBA aimed for each participant to successfully take the place of someone else, achieving to empathize with their needs. Afterwards, everyone thought about different initiatives that could help to solve these needs.

During the fourth segment of the day, the participants chose between two activities: Project Generator and Mentoring Sessions. The first, focused on making a project out of an idea and the second, aimed to teach how to go on an introspective journey.

During the project generator segment, Demian Brener (Head of the OpenZeppelin project). He explained what’s blockchain and how they worked. Afterwards he shared his experience with this technology and business, where the opportunities are plenty. When blockchain first appeared, Demian had a lot of ideas that were ahead of the time, since they relied on a bigger market, like the one there’s today. However, this didn’t keep him from undertake new businesses.

Paula Coto, part of the Education team at CIPPEC, highlighted the need for educative projects that merge different players (parents, teachers, neighbours) in the bringing up of the students and the importance of working towards common objectives in order to build education. “Knowledge Communities”, the project she leads, aims for a school transformation not only as an educative institution but also as a social one, from a perspective that also includes the neighbourhood. She also seeks to know how to build a space where all those players can express themselves and give sense to a shared space.

Alexis Caporale (Director of Energy for the Baikal Institute) shared how he began his own enterprise and gave different recommendations to the participants so that they could improve in their field of passion. He highlighted the need for a workplace where the purpose and direction of the company are known. Usually, the main reason why a project does not succeed is the lack of clearness on the objectives on what’s been done. He states that this generation of participants has been made to break the rules and it’s up to them to find their passion, without taking up on obligations that are not aligned with themselves.

Melina López (Marketing Manager at Google Cloud Brasil) told us about her experience with an organization she founded with some of her university classmates, Nuevas Puertas. Even though the project finally ended, she still works with them on matters regarding education. Furthermore, she explained how was the process of getting hired at Google, where she is now Marketing Manager at Google Cloud Brasil. Among her recommendations two stand out: “Be vocal about your references”: expressing her interest of working in Google helped her find out about the internship program and “Prepare and be honest”: prepare and have an honest CV.

The mentoring sessions were in charge of Dan Phillips (Founder and designer, The Phoenix Commotion), Faustino Arias (General Manager CALSA), Félix Peña (Director of Instituto Comercial Internacional Fundación ICBC), Rick Dow (Director of The DOJO Group), Rob Britton (Strategic and Marketing Consultant at AirLearn), Susan Giuliano (Leadership Development Lee Hecht Harrison Argentina Director), Valeria Venegas (Partner of CocoLab).

Some quotes about these sessions:

“ He helped me understand how a professional career evolves, that works doesn’t necessarily comes right away but that it can also arrive as a surprise”. – Vincent Le Régent (Participant, France) on Feliz Peña’s sessions.

“Even though it’s difficult, you have to be truth to yourself.” – Dora María Racca (Ex Organizer) on Rob Britton’s session.

The day that politics became part of consumer goods

Are the political party, the electoral platform, the electoral promises, the government objectives and / or the candidate’s experience and training important? Do we consider some of these variables when we have to vote? How much do we empathize with political candidates depending on the words they use, colors, how they communicate or their advertising spots?

Today politics have become a consumer good. It is a product that is created precisely with the goal of being consumed, being elected and meeting certain personal goals or a space. This is not new, but the turning point is when the image becomes more important than the content.

For the image to become relevant, it is necessary to have a team behind it that builds from zero a candidate. Therefore, candidates become mere products of a market that moves according to the demands and perceptions of civil society. This construction takes into account from the physical image, to speeches, verbal and non-verbal language, political discourse, and the actions they perform. Even though they are part of a political party, they seek to avoid being categorized merely in the party and reach as many spaces as possible. The parties are used as mere promotion platforms, losing the sense of belonging to it and generates a collective identity in which we know what to say and how to say it.

To achieve this, polls of public opinion on issues of interest are closely followed. The strategy is no longer based on purely political analysis, but also on marketing. It is important a strategy with a clear and persistent basis, but that also has the capacity to adapt to the fluctuations of everyday life. Precisely, the essence is creativity.

It is often said that brands in industry use marketing not only to meet needs but also to create them. Politics are beginning to use the same conception. Candidates respond to certain needs that civil society evidence, but candidates also through discourse create the imaginary collective of new needs that they and only they are able to satisfy. This becomes a key when people internalize that need. For this, the need must be well thought out, it must be deeply designed.

The media, although they are positioned as actors that objectively report reality, they are not. That is why politics uses them as a mechanism of transmission, not for official campaign advertising, but in daily programs, from news to programs of general interest. Today’s politicians must have the ability to interact with political analysts in the same way that journalists do. Why? Because the politics has become a show. It takes the politicians off the stage in which they develop their work, and they are humanized, but humanized as celebrities where everything they do is news.

A valuable example is Donald Trump, who was criticized and delegitimized in all major US media, while, at the same time, he was on the news every day. His strategy was to hold every day, to make his image the most seen and best known. It was more important to see him than what he really represented and said. Politics ceases to be an idea and a call to action, and becomes an acting role, where civil society plays the role of spectator vis-a-vis candidates and politicians who have the leading roles.

Furthermore, the new technologies of information and communication are being as important, like social networks that allow politicians to have a first-person link with their followers or even with their detractors. Although those who manage the networks are not the politicians themselves, the idea is generated that they are and that is a tool that brings that gap between governors and ruled closer.

Marketing is the central element that structures political campaigns strategies as a consequence of the increasing mediatization of politics. Today, more than ever, we can speak about the press or the media, understood in a broad vision of the concept to be able to be incorporated to the TICs, like the fourth power. That Big Brother who sees and analyzes everything, but with a subjective position.

It is in this way that politics gradually have become a spectacle, a show, a product that citizens consume, whether conscious or not. It will depend on civil society itself, citizens, on how to interpret this new face of politics. Now the question is: as citizens are we aware of this new policy role or do we consume it as if it was any product?

I Am A Feminist

We all remember Emma Watson’s speech in the UN in September 2014 when she presented the #HeForShe campaign (http://www.heforshe.org). She was the voice for millions of women who daily experience obstacles, discomforts, pressures and also violence to live in a macho society. It was a voice to bring to reason many people who unconsciously continued to proliferate this way of social organization where there are certain rights that are traditionally reserved for men.

I live in Argentina, a country where the numbers of violence against women are significant. In 2016 there were 327 cases of death due to femicide in all of Argentina. This figure shows that a woman died every 30 hours in Argentina for a case of contempt for the female gender. They are only the figures of the cases denounced and that they have proof that demonstrates the bond with femicide. The number would be higher if we took into account that not all cases are reported and not all femicides are declared. By the middle of this February the figure for 2017 highlighted a total of 57 femicides, implying that there is more than one case per day.

These numbers call to action. Argentina took the initiative, the Argentine women took it to the street putting a voice and a face to social patterns with which they did not agree. Although our society evolved in many respects, such as the law of equal marriage, however in other respects it remained stagnant. In 2015 the “collective cry against gender violence” is born, as the #NiUnaMenos (Not a woman less – http://niunamenos.com.ar) page says. This was born from a group of journalists, activists and artists who saw the need and they took the cause as their own to generate a collective campaign. A campaign that became successful because of the high degree of adherence of women and men across the country and even reached neighboring countries.

 

What is sexist violence?

I hear constantly many men take offense at hearing the use of “macho” to describe this type of violence, on the grounds that they are men who never offended or denigrated a woman. But do not we live in a society that for years was built under the domination of men, and why not say it, white men, who banished women and everyone they considered different from the spheres of power and decision-making areas? Do not we live in a society where women earn a lower salary than men despite having the same training and the same hierarchical position? Do not we live in a society where women are judged by how they dress, how they act and how are their sex lives?

The woman problem has always been a man problem.” – Simone de Beauvoir.

Being a feminist is often misunderstood as to be against the male gender. But that comes from a high level of ignorance. According to the Oxford dictionary Feminism is: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”, this means that women are equal to men, and do not want to subtract rights to men as many say. It is not a struggle of sexes, it is a question of gender ceasing to be seen as an impediment. As Emma Watson clearly explains:

For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes“.

But not only violence against women is seen in gender-based killings, it is seen in everyday actions. We live in a society that, although we fight continually and we rip our clothes to declare that we are open, that we do not discriminate and that we have tolerance, we are surrounded by prejudices. Violence does not necessarily occur in a physical form, there is symbolic violence, which is not minor, because it is the one that influences people and limits their way of acting in public spaces.

Men make the moral code and they expect women to accept it. They have decided that it is entirely right and proper for men to fight for their liberties and their rights, but that it is not right and proper for women to fight for theirs.”- Emmeline Pankhurst.

Symbolic violence is the one that constricts freedoms in an indirect way, which generates that the person restrains from certain actions because of fear or to avoid problems. That violence that occurs every day, is the one that causes the greatest damage. It is transmitted in the family, in education, in the media and in public spaces. It is our job to diminish it and make it disappear.

For now, it is more what was gained in law than in fact.

 

MERCOSUR is dead

With more than 1 million square kilometers, with a GDP of more than 4 trillion dollars and with a population of approximately 275 million inhabitants, MERCOSUR is characterized by a history of impulses and stagnation. After being born as a process that was disruptive for the time, and especially, to mark the end of the confrontation thesis between the two biggest countries of South America, MERCOSUR has been losing its impulse.

During the month of March 2016, MERCOSUR had its 25th anniversary, an event that was little promoted, which happened almost unnoticed for civil society and to which governments did not give much importance. The media, although they did not refer to this anniversary as an event of transcendence, recalled it in their publications with titles that reflect a pessimistic perspective: “25 years of MERCOSUR and very little to celebrate” (La Nación, Argentina https://goo.gl/s2ju3R), “A sad regional birthday” (El Observador, Uruguay https://goo.gl/ENlIOL), “MERCOSUR will celebrate 25 years of creation and will be without pain or glory” (ABC , Paraguay https://goo.gl/VxSKNE) or even Globo (Brazil https://goo.gl/YrL3E7) detailed that: “… the anniversary comes amid the political crisis in Brazil and the wear and tear of the bloc”. However, there were two optimistic headlines: “MERCOSUR, 25 years of success” (La Razón https://goo.gl/3oomlE) in Bolivia, which is currently in the process of joining, and Telesur (https://goo.gl/fNrXXI): “MERCOSUR celebrates 25 years betting on economic integration” highlighting the progress in social and cultural issues.

However, the current situation shows that there is a crisis and an opportunity for the process of integration. There are two possible ways, self-criticism and call to action, or resignation. The international system up to 2016 demonstrated the importance of every State to belong to broad integration processes and to large trade blocs, since it increases the possibilities of commercial transactions, with enormous political and economic opportunities. But last year was a turning point in the history of integration. The Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency who withdrew the country from the brand new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows an uncertainty in the economic, geopolitical and also social area, especially after a time when diplomacy and international negotiations had created a conducive environment for the trade blocs, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership itself to the Pacific Alliance, in an attempt to focus the world economy on Asia-Pacific, which is interpreted as the engine of the international economy in the next years.

According to many analysts, nowadays MERCOSUR is the moment of the ‘Black Swan’. This theory develops the possibility that unexpected situations lead to a rebirth of the bloc after a long hibernation in an unpredictable and uncertain international political and economic context. Among other things, this new impulse is brought about the emergence in Latin America of a new integration process, the Pacific Alliance, which calls itself as an innovative process which follows the patterns of the new international system focus on the new center of geopolitics and world economy. In contrast to MERCOSUR that was born in 1991 inspired by neoliberal ideas, after the change of political climate there were only advances in the social, cultural and, in some cases, political areas.

MERCOSUR needs to adapt to the new regional and international situation. Since it was born in the 1990s in a neoliberal context, it developed in the 2000s in a political climate framed in the ‘turn to the left‘ and is now in a different regional climate with the so-called ‘turn to the right‘ (1), into an international environment where it seems that the status quo is going to have an unpredictably change. This is precisely one of the weaknesses of the MERCOSUR project; it depends almost exclusively on ideological complementarity, extreme inter-presidentialism and pro-tempore presidencies pendulums. However, it should not be forgotten that this harmony between governments and presidential diplomacy is the success factor of the bloc (2), a bloc that does not fit the models of classical integration, because there is neither a significant institution nor a supranational level. We could say that MERCOSUR follows its own model (3) which is precisely the cause of its progress but also of its obstacles. There is no single model for the integration and cooperation processes, because each one is adjusted to its member’s reality (4). MERCOSUR was born with the deficiency that it followed the priorities and objectives of the governments of turn, reason why before each political change, MERCOSUR is stalled.

If we see the present, it is possible understand that after the first phase of economic complementation the bloc did not have more advances in that field, but it did cross with strength the 2008 crisis that was originated in the developed countries, the congruence of the politics of the ‘Turn to the Left’ made it advance in the social and cultural level, and the leadership of Brazil, on the one hand at regional level, on the second hand as an emergent power (5), gave some dynamics to the process but that could not cross political climate changes.

Nowadays, MERCOSUR is immersed in a crisis, but it is not the only integration process that is on crisis, even the European Union (EU) which is considered the deepest process of integration and the example to follow, is in its greatest crisis (6), or the Trans-Pacific Agreement which few months after seeing the light, goes through its first moment of darkness. However, MERCOSUR is marked by a change of political conjuncture of the ‘turn to the right‘, the strongest partner, Brazil is in a social, political and economic crisis, Argentina is politically divided but in a stable situation, Uruguay is in a cautious mode, Paraguay is expectant of the Bolivian incorporation to be able to increase the commercial flows and thus to leave the mutual geostrategic prison, and the most problematic partner, Venezuela, that after Chávez’s death, the country entered a political-social crisis that divides the country and makes the member be suspended from the bloc, but having the pro tempore presidency, a big deprivation.

That is why MERCOSUR is dead, because the bloc is experiencing a credibility and survival crisis. It was unable to adapt to the new era, to the new international and regional reality, and neither was there political efforts to have an economic deepening. It is necessary that the projects transcend political administrations and be guided by the wishes of the people, which at first are forgotten. Furthermore is needed a common external agenda, because that was built for the majority partners (Brazil and Argentina) for the benefit of their own interests, which sometimes are not complementary and even hurt the smaller partners. A common agenda would give the bloc the tool to go on new international negotiations, deepen current alliances and having a voice in international forums. With Brazil immersed in its internal sphere, it would seem the moment for Argentina to be the leader of the process, but for that to happen it must prioritize the interest of the bloc to the national interest, and generate instances that allow a better complementation after the changes of the administrations.

Between the 20 and the 24 of March, the XXVII Round of the Committee of Bi-regional Negotiations between MERCOSUR and the European Union will be held in Argentina to promote stalled trade negotiations. But the bloc also has several open fronts, negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the rapprochement with Korea, China and Japan. In a Multiplex World, all actors have the potential to increase their international insertion, if they maintain a clear strategy (8). It is time to see if MERCOSUR can achieve this strategy.

 

(1) Carné, Jonatán. “¿América Latina da un Giro a la Derecha?”, SABF Blog, 2016, http://blog.sabf.org.ar/2016/04/06/america-latina-da-un-giro-a-la-derecha/

(2) Malamud, Andrés. “La diplomacia presidencial y los pilares institucionales del MERCOSUR: un examen empírico”, Revista electrónica “Relaciones Internacionales”, 2010.

(3) Bizzozero, Lincoln. “Los primeros 20 años del Mercosur: del Programa de Liberalización Comercial al Plan Estratégico de Acción Social”, Revista Densidades, 2011.

(4) Peña, Felix. “Los 25 años del Mercosur y opciones en el camino de su evolución futura”, Newsletter, 2016.

(5) Carné, Jonatán. “¿Qué pasó con las potencias emergentes? El Caso de los BRICS.”, SABF Blog, 2016, http://blog.sabf.org.ar/2016/07/06/que-paso-con-las-potencias-emergentes-el-caso-de-los-brics/

(6) Domínguez, Emiliano. “La encrucijada europea: ampliación y Brexit”, SABF Blog, 2017, http://blog.sabf.org.ar/2017/01/30/la-encrucijada-europea-ampliacion-y-brexit/

(7) Acharya, Amitav. “From the Unipolar moment to a Multiplex World”, YaleGlobal Univertisty, 2014.