Washington Office on Latin America

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Lawrence Alumnus Examines Human Rights, Democratic Politics in Argentina, Chile

Alexander Wilde, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., examines the role social movements for human rights played in shaping politics in Argentina and Chile as they moved from dictatorships to democracies in the third installment of Lawrence University’s 2011 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies “Latin America: Past, Present and Future.”

A 1962 Lawrence graduate, Wilde presents “Argentina and Chile: Democratic Transition and Human Rights,” Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium.  The event is free and open to the public.

Alexander Wilde '62

Argentina and Chile exemplify two of the most successful democratic transitions in Latin America, overcoming legacies left by the harshest dictatorships in their respective histories. Wilde will discuss how both countries, through official truth commissions, hundreds of trials and a range of public memorials and museums, have embraced the idea that their citizens possess fundamental human rights that no government must ever again be allowed to violate.

The former director of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), an independent nongovernmental organization concerned with human rights and U.S. foreign policy, Wilde lived and worked in Chile for more than a decade during its long transition to democracy after 1990.

He served as vice president for communications of the Ford Foundation (2000-04) after directing Ford’s regional office in Santiago, Chile from 1994-99 where he developed new programming in human rights, historical memory, freedom of expression, and audiovisual documentary.

Wilde returns to his alma mater again this fall as the college’s Stephen Edward Scarff Memorial Distinguished Visiting Professor. He will spend four weeks in October teaching in the government department.

After graduating from Lawrence, Wilde studied politics, philosophy and economics at Keble College, Oxford, on a Marshall Scholarship and earned his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

The “Latin America: Past, Present and Future” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of long-time Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.