Dear Faculty and Friends of HACIA Democracy,
Welcome to Harvard Association Cultivating Inter-American Democracy’s Twenty-Sixth Summit of the Americas! My name is Valeria Zuniga, and I have the honor of serving as this year’s President, alongside the Vice-President, Alejandro Lampell. We hope that with you, we will create one of the most memorable conferences in HACIA’s history.
I am currently a fourth-year student at Harvard University, studying Economics and Government. I was born in Managua, Nicaragua and lived there my entire life before college. I attended Lincoln International Academy and was able to participate as a delegate in the Executive Cabinet of Omar Torrijos in HACIA XX and the Executive Cabinet of Salvador Allende in HACIA XXI. As soon as I arrived at Harvard, I knew that I wanted to be a part of HACIA and joined as the Director of the Executive Cabinet of Juan Manuel Santos in HACIA XXIV. In addition to HACIA, I served in administrative and business functions of Harvard’s Model UN conferences in Boston. The following year I served as Recruiting Director for HACIA XXV, through which I worked closely with the Junior Recruiters program and oversaw several new and old initiatives, including the Essay Contest, Art Challenge, and the 25th Anniversary Challenge.
Through my several years of involvement at HACIA I found a passion for democracy and human rights, as well as a greater awareness of both the potential and responsibility that Latin American youth has for igniting positive change in society. HACIA has been a life changing experience, not only because of the powerful discussions it has ignited for me both within and outside of committee, but also for its ability to connect me to a diverse and talented group of peers and mentors who have helped me develop my leadership potential.
Truly, the HACIA experience is like no other conference: delegates spend months preparing and bring unique lived-experiences to the committee rooms; the Harvard chairs are some of the best and brightest of the University who share a commitment to Latin America and mentorship; the advisors serve not only as educators, but also as friends of the conference and as an unconditional support system for the board. Above all, those attending HACIA are committed to developing the youth of today who will become the leaders of tomorrow.
It is my goal to ensure that every student attending HACIA XXVI leaves the conference equipped with a deeper understanding of some of the complex issues facing our region, and the tools they need to exercise their full leadership potential in finding ways to solve them. The topics we will be discussing will challenge you to think critically and creatively and prepare you to find ways to make meaningful contributions in your communities and anywhere you go.
I look forward to seeing our old friends after a successful conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and meeting new friends who are just starting their HACIA journey. Our next conference will take place from March 12th to March 15th, 2020. Make sure to look out for announcements posted here, on our Facebook page, or through our mailing list in the coming month for information on where the next conference will be. On behalf of the whole HACIA staff, we sincerely hope that you will be able to join us next year to tackle head on some of the most important and controversial issues our region faces and try to find unique and innovative ways to solve them. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] or to Alejandro Lampell at [email protected]
All the best,