2018: Strengthening EU-LAC Cooperation – LACalytics 2018
In the second part of IFAIR’s anniversary time travel, we focus on the year 2018. In 2018, the second edition of the LACalytics programme took place so that we want to make use of this opportunity to present this unique programme.
LACalytics is an IFAIR Impact Group which aims at facilitating interregional cooperation between students and young professionals from Europe (EU) and the Latin America-Caribbean region (LAC). The term LACalytics originates from merging LAC – the abbreviation for Latin America and the Caribbean – with analytics in order to highlight one of the programme’s features: Analysing the LAC-region. However, this does not suffice for thoroughly defining the initiative. Instead, the particularity of LACalytics has to be attributed to its other two important features: its interregionalism and its young perspective. What makes LACalytics unique is its bi-regional perspective. There are many analyses on the LAC-region or the relationship between LAC and EU, but many are written from an outside perspective. Unfortunately, many as well cover a very Eurocentric perspective with an emphasis on what LAC can supposedly learn from Europe. LACalytics clearly distances from this view as the articles are written from a bi-regional perspective. This is underlined by the fact that the articles are written by a team of two authors – one from EU and one from the LAC-region. In that way, the articles present valuable insights from people living in the regions. We want to underline that both regions have strengths, weaknesses, and common issues worth discussing today to generate impactful policy in the future. The LACalytics participants were matched in order to exchange ideas and discuss issues that are important in both regions. The essence is to focus on similarities between the regions and draw out shared lessons. Thus, LACalytics acts as a bridge between LAC and EU.
The outcome of LACalytics consists of the publication of articles on general themes written by a bi-regional team of young thinkers from EU and LAC. The contributions were published on the IFAIR think tank and other partner platforms. Additionally, the best articles were featured in a printed policy publication and presented by their respective authors to principal stakeholders of the EU-LAC partnership during a final conference.
The unique approach of LACalytics gives the participants the opportunity to work on a relevant issue for EU and LAC, to learn about a challenge and to develop policy solutions to it. Additionally – by co-writing the analyses – the programme provides the opportunity to get to know one another, to get into an exchange about different mentalities and realities in the EU and LAC, to learn from one another, and to exchange different points of views. So, not only the final product (the articles) of the programme, but also the process of delivering the product (the co-authoring) fosters international understanding. Thereby, LACalytics forms an open platform for connecting young people. Furthermore, by giving the participants the opportunity to choose and express their voice on a matter of relevance, the programme represents a young and unique perspective.
The multilingual publication of the articles on various online and printed platforms disseminates information and analyses on current issues of relevance for EU and LAC, strengthening the historic bi-regional relationship between the regions; fostering the understanding that policy-makers have of the matters of relevance for the young generation; and raising the interest of civil society for the respective other region.
The final conference gives participants the opportunity to meet in person and to present their articles. It offers a platform to deep
en and widen thoughts, analyses, and interpretations of the challenges presented, to stimulate collaboration on possible solutions and to inspire dialogue with relevant stakeholders from EU-LAC relations. These personal, intercultural, and direct personal exchanges can be the seeds for fruitful and long-lasting professional relationships and friendships. Additionally, the conference enables participants to directly engage with high-level political stakeholders, thus not only fostering policy-makers’ understanding of the presented issues, but also to directly informing their future decisions, and therewith raising the impact that young experts have on policymaking in general, and especially on the governance of bi-regional partnership, in the mostly inaccessible high-level political sphere.
THE 1. EDITION: 2015-2016
The first edition of LACalytics took place from 2015 to 2016. The programme attracted the interest of more than 200 applicants from 33 countries and brought together bright talents from the EU and LAC. It produced 23 digital analyses on four general themes (economics, politics, environment, civil society). The best twelve contributions were featured in a multilingual digital and printed publication of a series of policy papers under the title: “EU-LAC Cooperation in the 21st century: Combining efforts in a globalized world” (English and Spanish/Portuguese). The articles of the printed publication were presented during a final conference held in Hamburg, Germany, from 22nd to 25th of October 2016.
THE 2. EDITION: 2017-2018
The success of LACalytics I as well as the overwhelming interest from participants, contributors, and supporters before, during, and after the first edition, substantiated our motivation and enthusiasm to not only organise a second edition of the programme but also to develop it further. LACalytics’s second edition, called LACalytics 2018, was again organised in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office and the EU-LAC Foundation. The organising team began its work in July 2017. The Call for Applications had a great outreach; the 42 participants of the programme have been selected from more than 260 applications received from 41 countries. During the programme, 21 bi-regional teams of young thinkers from Europe and the LAC region wrote their articles in the chapters Politics, Economics, Environment, Civil Society & Culture as well as Science, Technology & Innovation. The best twelve contributions were additionally published in a printed policy-paper publication which carries the title “Strengthening EU-LAC Cooperation: Sharing experiences for present and future developments” (English and Spanish). The articles and policy recommendations resulting from the participant’s work were presented to principal stakeholders of the EU-LAC partnership such as the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) during an international conference from 20th to 24th of October 2018 in Hamburg, Germany.
For IFAIR and the organising team of LACalytics, it was an honour to see how authors that have been matched according to theoretical criteria got to know each other and started to exchange ideas – and eventually became a team and experts in the issue their article covers. This personal contact and the intercultural experience of writing with a co-author from another continent add high value to the LACalytics programme and give it its interactive character. To give you more insight into the LACalytics programme, its participants, and the outcome, we will use the next two weeks to present the articles written during LACalytics 2018.