Category: Scholar Update

11 initiatives selected to receive support via The Luksic Scholars Fund 2022

This year, the Luksic Scholars Foundation relaunched The Luksic Scholars Fund, an opportunity that allows members of its network to be awarded up to $5,000.00 USD per project. The selected initiatives are mainly concentrated in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, science, public policy, food and nutrition, and research.

A total of 11 projects have been selected to receive support from The Luksic Scholars Fund 2022, an internal initiative created by the Luksic Scholars Foundation which seeks to continue providing professional development opportunities to the members of its community via this second edition. 

Those who applied to receive support were asked to demonstrate how their initiative would respond to one or more of the development points defined by the Fund: obtain leadership skills as agents of change in one’s area of expertise, acquire competencies in key areas for one’s careers, and/or develop knowledge and research that contribute to one’s professional field. 

The Scholars who have been granted financial support from the Fund reside in various regions throughout Chile, such as Antofagasta, Biobío, Maule, Metropolitana, Los Lagos y Los Ríos, and they have participated in programs supported by the Luksic Scholars Foundation which range from research fellowships, symposiums for teaching entrepreneurship, and pedagogical conferences to Master’s programs related to public service. 

The selected initiatives will receive up to $5,000.00 USD in funding for their development and range from education, entrepreneurship, science, public policy, and food and nutrition to research.

To learn more about the Fund’s initiatives for 2022, click here.

The opinions and conclusions presented in the works carried out by the Scholars who received funding from the Luksic Scholars Foundation are the sole property and responsibility of those who have expressed them and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Foundation.

In establishing this Fund, the Foundation does not endorse or support these opinions or conclusions as it has only sought to motivate Scholars to develop academic research or carry out professional initiatives that allow for their professional development.

Master in Global Affairs: two Luksic Scholars share their experience at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University

Over 90 people representing more than 11 universities throughout Chile attended the Schwarzman Scholars-Luksic Scholars Foundation’s information session to learn more about The Luksic Fellowship of the Schwarzman Scholars program. Luksic Scholars, Felipe Flores (2020) and Hugo Wood (2019), joined the event to share their experiences.  

Last month, the Luksic Scholars Foundation in collaboration with Schwarzman Scholars held a virtual information session to share more on The Luksic Fellowship of the Schwarzman Scholars program: an annual funding designation for one Chilean or Latin American candidate for the Master’s program at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University.

The event included welcoming remarks from the Luksic Scholars Foundation followed by an informative presentation by Schwarzman Scholars. The main part of the webinar was dedicated to an open-ended conversation between Luksic Scholars, Felipe Flores (Class of 2020) and Hugo Wood (Class of 2019) who shared their program experience with the more than 90 interested candidates. The webinar concluded with a Q&A session. 

Below, you will find a snippet of Felipe and Hugo’s experiences in the program, alongside their advice for those considering applying:

Why did you decide to apply?

→ Felipe: “I found this program to be a great way to see where my career path could go as when I graduated college I wasn’t sure what my next step was going to be. I’ve also always been curious about China so the Chinese aspect of the program drew me in.”

→ Hugo: “Panama recently celebrated their 5th anniversary of diplomatic ties with China and I had been working in the public sector before this and therefore, essentially in the process of making that happen, and as a spokesperson, I realized that if I wanted to keep being involved in Panamanian-Chinese ties I needed to go to China.” 

What was the language immersion component like?

→ Felipe: “You’re supported via the program the entire way through the language-learning experience and you take Mandarin classes which definitely help. With a basic knowledge of Chinese, I feel you can get around, even in the first semester. 

→ Hugo: “The [Schwarzman Scholars] program is key in this component because they give you tools so you feel confident before you arrive in Beijing. Once you do arrive, you start to take formal language classes.”

Can you describe the academic part of the program? 

→ Felipe: “The first thing you do every morning is go to Chinese class. In regards to the rest of your schedule, you choose how you would like your schedule to be and adapt it to your interests. You also take courses outside of the Schwarzman College campus and that is- you take courses at Tsinghua University and that’s where you get to meet Chinese classmates. 

→ Hugo: “Tsinghua University is the alma mater of the previous two presidents of China so that itself gives you a sense of the academic rigor. Schwarzman is unique in the sense that you have a core curriculum, but aside from that, you can craft how you want the experience to be.”

What was life on campus like?  

→ Felipe: “In terms of the housing, you live in a building with the rest of the Scholars which is a great experience in itself and it lends itself to creating great bonds with your peers from whom you’ll learn a lot. Also, the program itself attracts people who love China so you already have something in common with your peers. As for traveling, you’re encouraged to explore and venture out.”

→ Hugo: “I loved interacting with the other Scholars and also with the special guests who visited campus to give the keynote speeches. In terms of extracurricular activities, I was part of the debate team and the basketball team. I was also able to travel around China with my peers, discovering the history and culture of China.”

What advice would you give to those looking to apply?

→ Felipe: “Give yourself plenty of time to apply, fill out your application early, and have people revise it and give you feedback. If you’re planning on applying for the next cohort, start applying today.”

→ Hugo: “Be confident in your statement of purpose and try to share that in a way that really shows who you are. Be genuine and authentic – don’t hesitate to showcase your true passions in your application.”

Want more information on the Schwarzman Scholars program? Please click here

APPLY TODAY. Interested individuals must apply directly to Schwarzman Scholars. The application cycle for the Class of 2024 opened on 13th April 2022 and will run until 20th September 2022. Candidates selected during this cycle will participate in the program from August 2023 until July 2024.

More about Felipe and Hugo:

Felipe Flores:

Luksic Scholar, Master in Global Affairs, Schwarzman College, Class of 2020

Felipe Flores has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology & Secondary in Physics from Harvard University. His interests include the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biomedical industries to improve regulation and research practices. He is currently a medical student in Chile. 

Hugo Wood:

Luksic Scholar, Master in Global Affairs, Schwarzman College, Class of 2019

Hugo Wood has a Master’s in Law and International Development from Tulane University and a Master’s in Public Policy from The London School of Economics. He is currently a Government Affairs & Policy Senior Manager of Venezuela, Central America & Caribbean for Johnson & Johnson and an Associate Professor of Behavioral Economics and Political Science at Universidad Católica Santa María La Antigua.

Professors from Chilean universities spend a week at Babson College

After a year’s wait, 10 professors from different Chilean universities were finally able to participate in the Babson Luksic Fellows program, which consists of a one-week deep dive on campus at Babson College in the United States. The objective of the program is to prepare entrepreneurship professors with the knowledge and skills to adapt to changes and seek innovative solutions. 

Seminars, classes, and practical excursions were part of the activities that 10 professors from Chilean universities participated in via the Babson Luksic Fellows program, organized by Babson College and supported by the Luksic Scholars Foundation. The experience took place on Babson’s campus in the US from March 27th to April 1st. 

The visit, which was originally scheduled for 2021, but finally carried out in 2022 due to the pandemic, invited Luksic Scholars to experience what it is like to work alongside Babson professors solving problems related to business and within a society that is constantly changing. 

The 2021 cohort

During the week spent at Babson, this group of Luksic Scholars selected exclusively by Babson College to partake in this program, were able to acquire knowledge designed to strengthen their professional development. Five of the 10 participants tell us about their experiences:

  • “The mentoring and support we received at Babson will allow us to incorporate new practices being developed in various fields such as entrepreneurship, venture financing, ideation, gamification, alongside many more.” 
    -Raúl Valdés, Founder of RetailPivo, and Professor of Entrepreneurship II and Information Technology at Universidad del Desarrollo
  • “Dare to innovate; even taking small steps can lead to building something great. Sometimes we may see many opportunities in front of us, which can make it difficult to understand where to start, and one of the greatest lessons I learned from this trip is to build a viable path that allows you to build big changes little by little.”
    -Luciana Mitjavila, Director of the MBA Full-Time International Programme and Business Challenge MBA at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
  • The “Entrepreneurial Thought and Action” course taught me how entrepreneurs act under increasing levels of uncertainty and how to find opportunity even when the whole world sees chaos. It also taught me how to develop and change my mindset, the growth mindset, and why it is important to train students/colleagues to accept mistakes through process and effort.”
    -Yuliya Ossipovich, Consultant for Universidad de Chile and Director of Product Marketing for Anica S.A. 
  • “The experience at Babson has been really fantastic for both my teaching and research activities. They were extraordinarily supportive of my idea of developing a new MBA course that will now be available in the second semester at UAI. The interactions at Babson have helped me to implement ideas that I had but had not yet been able to transform into something concrete. The Babson faculty has been very generous in their contributions.”
    -Flavia Cardoso, Assistant Professor at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez 
  • “The ideation process, the interaction and dynamism of the classes, prototyping processes, and connection is all a part of what I have learned through this program, which will be incorporated in the pilot incubation program that’s being carried out at AIEP later this year.”
    -Carolina Castillo, Head of Early Entrepreneurship at the AIEP Professional Institute 

The Babson Luksic Fellows Program, founded in 2011, forms part of the wider portfolio of academic opportunities offered by The Luksic Scholars Foundation. It encompasses a 5-day residential program for Babson SEE-Chile alums to experience an extended learning journey to Babson College. To date, 59 professors representing more than 25 universities have participated.

Luksic Scholars’ experience at The London School of Economics

Within the realm of international universities, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is considered one of the most recognized academic institutions in the field of Social Sciences for its role in training future leaders, academics, and other relevant actors for the public sphere. 

In 2020, the Foundation Luksic Scholars created a new scholarship for Chilean students admitted to the Masters in Public Policy (MPP) and Public Administration (MPA) programs at LSE. To date, 16 Scholars have completed these programs, which last nine months and two years, respectively. Five of them, belonging to the 2020, 2021, and 2022 cohorts, share their experiences and note that the experience has made a difference in their professional careers.

The plans of some of these young students, especially those who started their programs in 2020, were nearly at stake due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Olivia Mullins, a lawyer who completed her MPP that same year, says, “the pandemic was a huge blow that threatened my plans to study at LSE, and I wouldn’t have been able to be there without this scholarship. The courses I took were both fascinating and challenging. I was able to meet people from every corner of the world, and with a wide variety of experiences and outlooks.”

The cross-cultural component of this program was also reflected in the experience of María Josefina Hubner, a lawyer, who finished her MPP in 2021: “LSE’s culture and community represent a unique mix of international backgrounds. The active student life, public lectures, and exposure to diverse political views are teaching me as much as the courses,” she stated. 

As for the MPA program, students work to acquire new knowledge about politics and public administration from a global perspective. Reflecting on her post-program goals, economist, María Ignacia Pinto affirms that “after graduation, I will work to translate the knowledge received into efficient public reforms to ensure equality of opportunities in Chile and drive social change.”

A similar motivation, to contribute in a transversal way to cultural changes in the country, is also shared by economist Camila Arroyo, who attended the same program. She says, “Chile’s critical situation will require professionals capable of rethinking economic policy from all spectrums: from the creation and implementation of public policies to structural reforms in terms of citizen participation, education, health, and social security.”

Ignacio Loeser, an economist set to graduate this year, joined the MPA in 2020 and only after his first few months at LSE defined the institution as “a modern and global university where you learn from great professors and brilliant classmates from all around the world.”

Studying abroad during 2021: Luksic Scholars at the University of Oxford

In collaboration with the University of Oxford, the Luksic Scholars Foundation created the Oxford Blavatnik School of Government Luksic Scholarship for Chileans pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy at this School, located in Oxford, United Kingdom. The first Luksic Scholarship was awarded in 2014 and since then, 10 other Luksic Scholars have received support via this scholarship opportunity. The 2020-2021 cohort of Luksic Scholars graduated in August of last year and the 2021-2022 cohort has now arrived on-campus to start their MPP journey.

The 2020-2021 cohort of Luksic Scholars graduated from the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University in the United Kingdom under particularly difficult circumstances due to the pandemic; nonetheless, despite the hardships, the level of camaraderie and teamwork created between this group of three helped turned their MPP program into a great experience.

One member of this cohort, Luksic Scholar Camila Valenzuela (who, since graduating, has taken up a position as an Advisor at the Cabinet of the Minister of Labor and Social Security), says, “studying abroad during a time of lockdowns and restrictions was challenging, especially with my young kids at home, and all of these previous notions I had of what it would be like to obtain a Master’s degree abroad had completely changed – it became more about survival.” 

Camila Valenzuela, Class of 2020, is pictured to the far left with peers from her program.

Camila credits having an amazing study group by her side as one of her biggest pillars of support and one of the most impactful aspects of studying this specific program. “We learned to rely on each other and be there for one another, and this interestingly goes hand-in-hand with an MPP program and learning about public policy – one learns how to work well in teams, divide responsibilities, and build groups of support”, she adds.

As the 2020-2021 academic year came to an end, Camila and the rest of her cohort were introduced to the newest generation of Luksic Scholars: Francisco Carrillo and Miguel Pelayo, Class of 2021, to pass along first-hand advice before the latter two embarked upon their own MPP journey, which began in September of this year. 

Francisco Carrillo, an economist from Universidad de Chile, and the first in his family to receive a university degree has years of economic experience in both private and public sectors. During his previous position at Chile’s Ministry of Social Development, he directed a new program called Clase Media Protegida which aided in the digital transformation of social services in Chile – an initiative that won a National Innovation Award. Francisco aspires to continue learning more about social protection systems and believes that Oxford’s MPP will be able to provide him with the necessary capabilities to design and implement public policy in the social development sector.

Francisco Carrillo, MPP Class of 2021.

Miguel Pelayo, a Law graduate also from Universidad de Chile, seeks to use his skills to find solutions to matters pertaining to climate change and occupational standards. A testament to this is a recently-designed strategy that Miguel helped to craft while working at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, which aimed to alleviate adverse effects in the labor market in Chile caused by the pandemic. In terms of his future aspirations, Miguel sees himself in an NGO or public institution continuing to serve the public good in Chile and inspiring others to do the same. He sees Oxford’s MPP as key to this, allowing him to strengthen his policy-making and analytical skills.

Miguel Pelayo (right), MPP Class of 2021.

Since the start of the collaboration between the Luksic Scholars Foundation and Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, 11 Luksic Scholars have stepped foot on Oxford’s campus to receive their Master’s in Public Policy with the support of the Oxford Blavatnik School of Government Luksic Scholarship*; an opportunity for Chileans pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) at this School. The MPP program specifically aims to give students critical tools to find answers to public policy challenges and to develop the academic knowledge and professional skills to address some of the century’s most complex public policy challenges.

*Selection and admissions decisions are made exclusively by the University of Oxford.

Designer, MBA, entrepreneur and mother: Luksic Scholar Catalina Hernández shows how ideas can become business

Catalina Hernández Infante, Luksic Scholar from Chile, who participated in both Conducting Business in China (CMIX) in 2009, and then in the Babson Chilean Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE) in 2017, received her Bachelor Degree in Design, followed by an MBA from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

She’s also an entrepreneur, known for being the founder of Kaikai, a design souvenir brand in Chile, which she has sold earlier this year.

“During my MBA, I realized that this idea I had when I was 15 years old, to make beautiful souvenirs and designs, was not only just an idea but a business opportunity.”

Catalina teaches an Entrepreneurship course at the Business School of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago.

– You’re a designer and an entrepreneur; can you tell us about your journey? What inspired you to take this path?

“When I graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica with my Bachelor’s in Design, I had wanted to start working in museums and in cultural projects, as my interests were in these fields: art and culture, cinema, and exhibitions. So, I started working for museums at a little design studio, and I really loved my job. It was great for a designer to be able to see my projects become a reality because, as a design student, you make lots of renders and projects, but the semester ends and your project is like if it said ‘bye-bye.’ Luckily, I’ve been able to see my projects come to life. 

One day, out of the blue, my boss said, “Catalina, I’m tired and I want to close the studio” and I responded, “let’s be partners.” Mind you, at that time, I had never imagined being an entrepreneur, a consultant, or a freelancer. He said “no, no, no”, until one day he came to me and said “yes”, so we started a studio.

I was the one doing invoices, writing out checks, and learning how to look for new customers and new projects… I remember making these big spreadsheets, and it was in that moment, that I realized I was truly an entrepreneur. 

A few years later, I entered the MBA program at Pontificia Universidad Católica, because I had realized how little I knew about business and, in my 2nd year of the master, I had the opportunity to go to China [through the Conducting Business in China (CMIX) program through the Luksic Scholars Foundation]. During my MBA, I realized that this idea I had when I was 15 years old, to make beautiful souvenirs and designs, was not only just an idea -but a business opportunity.”

(…) it was great to be selected as part of that group and to go abroad, because I felt valued. I was a young woman, a designer, and still was able to be in a completely different environment.”

Throughout my MBA program, I also had a full-time job; it was a very busy time. Then I started working on Kaikai with my same partner. I quit my job at the little studio, Al Tres, and started working full-time at Kaikai to get funding and development and, ultimately, to look for sales points.

In Kaikai, I did most everything but I’m not an illustrator, even though I developed all of the prototypes. I was the main creator and, in the beginning, I was working alone. We were then 6 people. When we started 10 years ago (in 2011), there wasn’t much of a market for what we were looking to do, and also in terms of competitors. Now there’s a lot more.”

-What was the best part of your Conducting Business in China (CMIX) program experience?

“This program was an amazing opportunity to cross the world. At that time, MBA programs were mostly intended for male engineering students who were employees at big companies. That was the average profile, so it was great to be selected as part of that group and to go abroad, because I felt valued. I was a young woman, a designer, and still was able to be in a completely different environment (to go to a place so physically far from Chile and culturally different as well). To this day, more than 10 years later, we still have a WhatsApp group – we are all friends. It’s a community.”

And, what was the best part of your Babson SEE program experience?

“I’m a part-time entrepreneurship teacher and I teach from the perspective of an entrepreneur, not necessarily as an academic as I don’t write papers or such – I’m hands-on. This has been a great compliment. I still teach today in the undergrad program. I went to Viña del Mar for the Babson experience and it was a very useful experience for me because they have a different way of thinking about entrepreneurship – it was very personal. They ask you to think about yourself, it wasn’t just about methodology or case studies, but more about who you are.”

– What advice would you give to fellow Luksic Scholars, especially those who are entrepreneurs?

“It’s very important to let things flow because, ultimately, I think things will happen regardless – and sometimes, as an entrepreneur, you’re very stressed, pushing to get everything done, but sometimes you have to let things flow. It doesn’t mean that you’re not working hard, you have to work hard, but you must trust your gut and intuition. It’s a mix and balance between hard work and trying to be more zen and trusting your intuition.”

– What’s coming next?

“Well, I’m a mother of a 2-year-old, I sold my company, and I still have my part-time job as a teacher. Since my son isn’t going into school, I’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with him. I’m enjoying this time right now. I’ve been in the working world since I graduated university – as a designer and an entrepreneur owning a business – and you always have to ‘push, push, push…‘, so this is the first time in my life where I can say ‘I know where my job ends‘, and that’s great.
Now, my two cousins and I are starting to make the first MVPs for a new fresh milk business from free and happy cows linked to our family’s dairy farm.”

Dreams and hard work: Andreas Guillén’s Journey to Sciences Po University

“When the plane took off, I shed some tears,” recalls Andreas Guillén Meza, a young graduate of the Instituto Nacional in 2019, who moved to the city of Poitiers, France, on September 10th, to begin his studies in Social Sciences at the esteemed University of Sciences Po.

The emotion came as no surprise: this 19-year-old, from the Colbún commune in the Maule region, had never flown before or had even been outside of Chile. After being awarded the Sciences Po Quiñenco Scholarship for Chile, Guillén began a journey that will keep him living abroad for at least the next five years.

Andreas says that he has always known he has wanted to study political science. From his early years in elementary school, he had a love for history, geography, and cartography, which later developed into a hobby of making presentations on the composition of parliament, the political forces within ministries, and public policy debates.

“While I was at the Instituto Nacional, I was part of many debate groups which helped me to broaden my view and meet and interact with people from very different political positions. This helped to enrich my view of the political spectrum, break down previously-held myths and even debate better”, remembers Guillén.

Another one of his hobbies is vexillology: a discipline consisting of the study of flags. Today, Guillén is part of the nascent Chilean National Vexillology Corporation, which he has been a member of since 2018. He has a collection of nearly 100 flags that he took to France to decorate his room with; truly materializing his passion for the international arena.

Alongside a clear path of interests, this young student also had another dream: to study in France. “At the National Institute I took French classes which allowed me to learn the [French] language. In addition, my teachers supported me in completing the DELF at various levels to continue strengthening my knowledge of the French language and culture. I knew that I wanted to study there at some point in my life”.

October 9th, 2019 is a date that Guillén remembers very clearly. That day, representatives from Sciences Po University and the Luksic Scholars Foundation came to the National Institute to present a program to the students that would allow for one, young Chilean to study at said university with a scholarship financed by Quiñenco.

“I had never heard of Sciences Po, but I immediately knew that this was the perfect program for me: a scholarship to study political science at one of the best universities in France,” Guillén recalls.

From that moment on, he focused on complying with the requirements to apply [for the scholarship] while preparing for the PSU. However, he knew he could also not leave his future in the hands of one, single alternative so he continued working on his admissions process to the University of Chile.

Alas, his efforts did not go in vain. He was the first Chilean to submit all of the necessary documentation to apply to the Sciences Po scholarship and after a promising interview with representatives of the university, Andreas felt for the first time that his dreams could come true.

“At the end of April I began studying at the University of Chile, which is a great college, so I was able to come to terms with the situation. If the scholarship worked out, fine; but if not, I would give it my all to have a good career here in Chile, ”says Guillén.

The same day he started classes [at the University of Chile], he received a message from Sciences Po University letting him know that he had been selected to study Social Sciences at the headquarters in the city of Poitiers, specializing in Latin American studies. Two or three weeks later, he would receive a second email from Sciences Po claiming that he was indeed the recipient of the Sciences Po Quiñenco Scholarship for Chile program.

“My mom tells me that while I was reading the email I didn’t show any signs of emotion. I just kept quiet. I remember we hugged and probably shed a few tears. 2019 was not an easy year for us in terms of family life and personal matters so this was great news to start a new year with,” recalls Andreas.

From that day on, everything turned into preparation for his new life. Today he lives far away from his family with other students in Poitiers, a city located in the heart of France that boasts a strong university tradition and has about 90,000 inhabitants. It’s here where he will study for the next two years.

Adapting to this new stage of life did not come without its difficulties. Shortly after Andreas arrived in France, the first outbreaks of coronavirus started to appear in the Old Continent. As a result, Andreas now finds himself in a school routine that combines in-person classes with some remote classes, while at the same time, trying to personally settle in a new place that will be his home for the next 24 months.

After this period of two years is up, students then have to choose a country, other than France or Chile, to complete their third year of undergraduate studies, before going to Paris for two more years to complete their postgraduate studies.

“It is still unclear to me which specialization courses I will take, or which country I will go to for my third year, but I still have time to analyze and evaluate all the factors that will influence my decision,” says Andreas, while also commenting that the surroundings of Poitiers remind him of his native Colbún. “Their fields and rivers are very similar. It gives a bit of nostalgia”, he concludes.

Verónica Figueroa Huencho, the Mapuche scholar who researches at Harvard

Verónica Figueroa Huencho, our current beneficiary of the Luksic Visiting Scholars program at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, is a public administrator at the University of Chile, Ph.D. in Management Sciences (ESADE-Universidad Ramón Lull), Postdoctoral Officer at Stanford University’s Center for Latin American Studies.

Verónica has extensive experience in the academic field, in gender issues, and above all, in the search for the inclusion of indigenous people in Chile within public spheres and their access to better representation.

Her fundamental field of study elaborates on the formulation and implementation of indigenous public policies within contexts of diversity. She has publications in ISI indexed journals as well as books and chapters of books in both national and international publishing.

We sat down and talked with her to delve more into her main line of research and to understand the context in which we find ourselves in Chile.

What are the main challenges in terms of diversity and representation?

As for the representation of indigenous people, one of the greatest limitations that exists today, in Chile and the rest of Latin America, is that most states have taken on the nation-state model. Therefore, it is understood that when a state governs a territory it is done so in a homogeneous manner. This also has to do with the fact that when the Latin American states were created, the State of Chile in particular, there was this idea of what it would be like to form an ideal nation that was not going to relate to pre-existing nations (given that they were not contributing to development). Indigenous people were considered barbaric, savage beings, and the idea was to create a modern state; a state reflecting European society, therefore, making it a Nation-State -a group of people who share the same language, etc.- the State would being created on the basis of denial… That always, of course, has been a hindrance for indigenous people to be able to move towards more effective systems of representation.

These types of very complex problems are not going to be solved from a single point of view. I suggest we try identifying, within the State of Chile for example, what the main dimensions or variables are that would change the rules of the game, and ultimately, favor the participation of the indigenous. This would lead to the construction of a more inclusive, diverse society; a society in which indigenous people are not seen as folkloric or annexed, but rather as people that enrich the Chilean nation and who have rights. These rights, moreover, have been progressively recognized within the international framework and the State of Chile has ratified these through various covenants and agreements, but its institutional adaptations have not been enough.

The big question for me is what model of governance should be implemented in Chile in order to consider the rights of indigenous people as political subjects and to favor, of course, a better coexistence which – I believe – is what we all hope for.

So, what is the main challenge with representation? It has to do with this logic between Western thought and non-Western thought, and therefore, the way in which the indigenous thinking is represented.

Perhaps the need for a cultural and mental change is also another element. As long as those who make decisions are only validating one way of thinking, it is more likely that their relationship with indigenous people will be established in a hierarchical, subordinate way, viewing them as possessors of alternative knowledge. Therefore, it seems to me that a cultural change, in terms of status, is also needed in order to equalize the value of knowledge that comes from indigenous people.

How do you think the issues related to equality and inclusion in Chile have evolved over the past decade?

“Representation of indigenous rights” is one of the most precarious terms and, compared to other Latin American countries and other countries worldwide such as New Zealand, Canada, and Australia, what we clearly see here is that states have ceded the spaces of rights for a representation of multiculturalism. We, as indigenous people, speak of the need for interculturality because within one territory there coexist different groups and these, of course, have distinct cultures. However, the rules of this hegemonic-culture-game have obviously incentivized the use of a single language and a single way of dressing. This has led the indigenous people to take our culture into the private sphere, mainly into the family realm and, therefore, leaving the public, educational, and decision-making spaces.

The indigenous do not have any specific system of representation in the institutional structure of the State nor in any of its powers. The law, in a rather limited way, refers to the existence of ethnic groups in the territory of Chile, which limits the effective exercise of rights that we have as a nation. It is a different legal concept by a different standard; a different status.

What can you tell us about “cohabiting and multicultural management”?

When speaking of coexistence and multicultural management in the here-and-the-now, we cannot avoid the approach to rights. This has been very powerful in being able to situate the demands of the indigenous people; to have them no longer seen as mere peasants or poor citizens of a territory, but rather, as subjects of differentiated rights and, therefore, with the right to have systems of differentiated representation.

Today, what we do not want happening is the idea that “indigenous” becomes associated with pre-modernity and, therefore, implying that we do not have anything to contribute to development. I believe very powerful ideas have emerged from indigenous knowledge surrounding flora and fauna, the management of territorial spaces, and other environmental contributions. This can become a means of improvement. We cannot allow our own developmental possibilities to be limited because we are incapable of valuing knowledge that comes from other spaces, such as those of the indigenous. We want to contribute, but not from a residual, subsidiary vision, but rather as key actors.

Ph.D Verónica Figueroa Huencho at Harvard in Massachussets

In today’s world and within this context, what makes a good citizen?

The ability to recognize intercultural diversity because there is no one single type of citizen, there is no one common good, rather there exists the same objective which is to create a good coexistence and have multiple ways of obtaining this. It has to do with the representation and participation of indigenous people; it has to do with a good citizen being an intercultural citizen.

According to your vision and experience, is there a lack of support networks and spaces for discussion in Latin America for people of indigenous descent?

Yes, there is [a lack]. What we are suggesting here is that the State’s paternalistic-welfare logic used toward our people has been quite harmful because it has generated an idea of dependency (this is how Chilean citizens and the Western society see us).

It is important to consider that there are indigenous people today who have the ability and the knowledge to participate in forming policies and to better identify public policies with new visions and thus, improving the implementation of these policies.

It is very important to incorporate other actors as well and to understand that we are not asking for assistance; rather, we are asking for our legitimate right to participate and represent our people because we have the ability to do so. This requires communication with other actors, and the business world is fundamental; society itself is fundamental, as well as NGOs, in order to make progress in governance.

As a Mapuche scholar, what do you feel is your greatest contribution toward the debate surrounding the demands of the Mapuche people?

It seems to me that an opportunity like this [to be at Harvard University] has to do with decolonization and how one can contribute from such an elite and powerful space such as the one formed at this university. I think my main role is to provide arguments and information so that indigenous people, in this case the Mapuche people, have better tools to discuss, to argue, and to be represented before the State, before companies, and before different actors of power. It seems to me that this is where I can make an important contribution.

Chilean faculty in Sciences Po, France

The last week of June, five Chilean professors had the opportunity to attend an academic development seminar in the prestigious French university Sciences Po, under the Faculty Seminar at Sciences Po scholarship program.

The workshop, entitled “Integrating Pedagogical Diversity: Blended Learning and Educational Impact” encouraged the sharing of teaching and learning practices and thoughts with other professors from Harvard, LSE, King’s College and universities in Asia and Africa. In addition, Sciences Po designed a customized program for the Chilean faculty, through which they were presented with various divisions of that institution dedicated to pedagogical innovation.

We talked about education with the five Luksic Scholars who participated in the seminar and shared some of their thoughts below:

Manuel Gárate (Pontificia Universidad Católica)

  • How do you see the educational situation in Chile?

The educational situation is quite agitated due to various reforms that have been added in recent years without consolidating them and with financing problems as well. Educational policies at the school and university level should be a long-term national issue, and the result of important consensus. However, at the same time we see that for the first time we have so many people receiving education at all levels and therefore the country will change rapidly. If we add to that technological change, we face enormous challenges in education and the possibilities of adapting to that.

Magdalena Claro (Pontificia Universidad Católica)

  • What could you say that Chile needs to improve in academic and pedagogical fields?

I think it is essential to transform the way we organize the relationship with knowledge and pedagogical experience that we offer to students. Educational institutions should be spaces where students acquire knowledge and tools to contribute creatively and critically to the development of knowledge and the design of solutions to the problems of our society. For this, it is essential that we review the fragmented organization in departments and disciplines independent of educational institutions, to offer a more integrated and organized training around problems and experiences.

César Albornoz (Pontificia Universidad Católica)

  • What was the experience of the seminar for you? What has it left you with personally and professionally?

First of all, it seems pertinent to explain the place from where I will answer this question. This place is of a Ph.D. in history who works as a university professor, an academic for more than 25 years in Chilean higher education, with a semester load of at least four different chairs, which implies a direct relationship with at least 300 students per year.

From that base, the seminar experience was particularly significant. I cannot, therefore, separate the personal from the professional. Yes, instead, I would distinguish some causes that explain the significance of the experience.

First, for having just incorporated a figure like me: professor. Many times these instances lack fundamental agents in the process that is being studied, and this was not the case.  Sharing ideas, concepts, and experiences with different actors in higher education was particularly constructive. Second, the excellence of the academic conference was remarkable. The intensity of the work and the power of the content, speaks to the prestige of Sciences Po and its faculty. Third, sharing with a team – Chilean and European – of high excellence gives consistency and strength to the work week. The lessons learned and shared are unforgettable.

Norma Muñoz del Campo (Universidad de Santiago de Chile)

  • What could be the impact of such a seminar, given the knowledge exchanged, for education/teaching in Chile?

Globally there is a debate about pedagogical innovation that implies, in general terms, what it is to learn and what it is to teach today in a global world invaded by new technologies. “The professionals that the world needs are not those of before” is a quote that is repeated a lot and its response is much less obvious. The example is obvious and is revealed by all: universities continue teaching in the same way they did at the beginning of the 20th century.
Pedagogical innovation reflects on the dynamics of the teaching-learning processes.
The complex thing is that it is a field under construction, which is not necessarily learned in books but in sharing experiences, in talking together and sharing together.

Finally, I work in the field of public policy, an area where there is much to do in terms of teaching innovation, because innovation in public policy is associated with the development of skills and attitudes that lead to innovation, a challenge that has to be added to the previous ones, so there is much to do!

Roberto Pardo (Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez)

  • To sum up, what could you add?

In Chile we want to face complex problems, diversity, and the uncertainty of trying to do better what we have been doing. Precisely, Sciences Po recently undertook deep changes, innovating what they had been doing for 150 years, under the premise that we are facing a “world in full mutation”, “an unprecedented crisis.” Simply put, we have to make more radical changes in education.

Luksic Scholars at Schwarzman College in Beijing

Recently we caught up with the two Luksic Scholars at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing: Hugo Wood from Panama who graduated last month, and Felipe Flores the incoming Chilean who is starting his studies now. Both have been granted the Schwarzman College Luksic Fellowship.

Although the academic backgrounds of these young scholars differ, they both entered a world in which both humanities and natural and exact sciences are welcome and can even thrive together.

Hugo, a lawyer, social entrepreneur and human development advocate, tell us what it was like to live and study for a year in Beijing, China.

Felipe, with his degree in human developmental and regenerative biology, and physics, tells us what he expects from the demanding course at Schwarzman College.

Experience vs. Expectation

Here you can read our conversation with Hugo Wood and, below, with Felipe Flores:

What is the impact for you, professionally and personally, of having studied at Schwarzman College?

After living for a year in China and studying at Schwarzman College, I can say that my general understanding of China, its history, culture, people, politics, economy, etc., has increased considerably. Now, more than being able to communicate in Mandarin, or see the differences between the diverse regions of the country, I began to understand many dynamics about how China operates which, without living in it, would have been very difficult to capture. Undoubtedly, the main impact was to understand how much you have to study China and how little is known in Latin America. We are very far from Asia and the continuous exchange between people to reduce the existing gaps is imperative.

What was it like to live in China?

I could describe my experiences in China in many pages, but I can summarize it as an experience of love and anguish and sometimes a mixture of both feelings. The Chinese culture as a whole is probably the furthest from the west. In the language, customs and the way of seeing life in general are complex and adaptation can be difficult. The language is a barrier, however, China offers wonders from exquisite gastronomic selections, to the easy and efficient electronic payment system, and ultramodern applications like WeChat that combine Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram in one or Taobao which is an Amazon on steroids!

I had the opportunity to travel and enjoy the most extensive and modern railway network in the world, as well as explore the incredible development of cities such as Shenzhen, Chengdu or Hangzhou, which until recently were unknown and are now examples of economic and social development. In China you can also enjoy a great cultural experience, due to an ancient civilization that since it opened in 1978, has become a destination with much to offer to the world.

Main challenges of studying and living in the one place

Of the main challenges was being tempted to stay inside the building and stop exploring or exposing myself to the rest of the university campus, Beijing, and China in general. Also, sometimes you can lose perspective of the reality of student life because in our complex many amenities are offered that are unthinkable in China and even in the world.

What was the best lesson you learned at Schwarzman College?

That, despite the diversity of the world, it is much more what unites us than what separates us. I reaffirmed my conviction of the importance of being part of a global community and of understanding several of the most important challenges of our era, from a broader perspective. Programs like Schwarzman connect and bring together very diverse people, but with great potential and after experiencing it, I can say that these platforms will make a difference in the future between a more united or polarized world.

Tips or recommendations for other Scholars

My main recommendation is to leave your comfort zone and challenge your convictions. In China everything looks different and you must be open to understanding different points of view to truly take advantage of the experience and grow. I would add that no matter where you are from, small or large country, with a large or small economy, be proud of your identity and participate without fear sharing your experiences and questions, even though it may be overwhelming at times. I would invite you to travel through China and Asia, the urban, the rural, the civilized and underdeveloped, the temples and the skyscrapers, and to constantly interact with people, locals and foreigners to better understand the country and the region.

What are your next steps?

I will be moving to London to study public policy with an emphasis on quantitative methods at the London School of Economics and Political Science, as a Chevening Scholar.

Do you think that more Latin Americans should have this same opportunity? Why?

Latin America is, together with Africa, the most underrepresented region at Schwarzman College. It is a region that has historically been far from China and therefore we have a great capacity to cooperate, learn and increase the level of interaction with the country. As Steve Schwarzman points out, China is no longer an elective subject – it has become mandatory to be able to effectively lead or participate globally. Asia in general has much to contribute to our region, the most unequal in the world, and we must look carefully at what is happening there and its interesting success stories in countries such as Vietnam, Singapore or China that have greatly improved the quality of life of their population. The more Latinos can be prepared to face the challenges of the region having a look towards Asia, the more capacity we will have to look with long lights to the future.

Something you would like to add or highlight?

I would like to highlight and applaud the vision of programs such as Luksic Scholars, which, objectively, aim to invest and develop the potential of young people interested in improving the state of their community. On the shoulders of present and future generations will be the historical ability to face challenges that will redefine the world such as the IV Industrial Revolution, climate change and the growing world population.

Hugo Wood in his graduation

Felipe Flores, meanwhile, shares with us enthusiastically:

What are your expectations regarding going to Schwarzman College?

I would say there are two great expectations. First, and above all, I really want to meet people with interests or aspirations similar to mine. From the moment of the interview it was noted that the candidates are very diverse people with big dreams. I have them too and I’m excited to share them. Second, I hope that living in China is a great thing. It is a country rich in culture and opportunities and clearly the future leader of the world economy. Being part of all that living there and learning to communicate in Mandarin is seen as a great opportunity for my future.

What do you think could be the impact of studying there, both for your personal and professional life?

From my perspective, the program opens the doors of the world. Among the people I will meet there are surely future CEOs, activists, diplomats, ministers. Who knows what else! That means that I will have friendships and professional connections all over the world, in addition to the friendships I bring with me from Harvard. As always, I hope to be a good “ambassador” of my country and make my fellow Schwarzman Scholars feel that they have a friend and home in Chile if they ever wish to visit.

What do you think of China?

Honestly it is still quite mysterious for me and I think for the whole west in general. Both the language barrier and cultural differences distance us from China. What we hear about the country, normally we receive from other people with their own opinions, so it is difficult to get an idea of ​​our own without having been there. However, I believe that as a global society we must take seriously the great economic and cultural influence that China will represent for the rest of this century. I would not be surprised if in the future people try to learn Mandarin in the same way that today is all about learning English. That said, it seems an extraordinary place to train academically and professionally.

What do you think you will do once the program is over? What are your future plans, if any?

It is a bit undetermined, but in a good way. I have several avenues to evaluate, including doctoral studies, entrepreneurship or the private sector. If it is undefined it is because they all sound very attractive and within my reach. I plan to determine which one fits best with me during my stay in China.

Leave a message for the Felipe of the future, who will have finished his studies at Schwarzman…

“Always look up, buddy. You are capable of what you can think of and now you have the tools. Hit it! ”

Felipe Flores before leaving to China

In the end, we can say that these two students not only have in common the fact that they are both Luksic Scholars from Schwarzman College, but they truly have plans to be agents of change for Latin America.