Four innovative leaders from Latin America will be welcomed into the Harvard University faculty this academic year as Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Visiting Professors by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS).
This professorship was established in 1986 through a gift from the late Edmond Safra and the Republic New York Corp. to honor Robert F. Kennedy for his work in strengthening business relationships between North and South America. The program enables Harvard to invite eminent Latin American artists, intellectuals, or leaders to the University each year.
This year’s visiting professors are as follows:
Antanas Mockus was elected mayor of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, in 1995. He became one of the most popular mayors in the city’s history through deft leadership and innovative programs promoting civic engagement using arts and humor. One of Mockus’ more unconventional projects included hiring mimes to control Bogotá’s notorious traffic. Under his leadership, homicide rates dropped dramatically and water conservation and sanitation improved greatly. Following his two terms as mayor, Mockus returned to the National University of Colombia, where he is a professor of mathematics and philosophy. At Harvard, Mockus will be teaching “Hedonism and Pragmatism” and co-teaching “Foundational Fiction and Other Cultural Agents” in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures this fall.
Renowned human-rights lawyer and scholar Luis Moreno-Ocampo will be in residence at Harvard Law School (HLS) during January 2005. In 2003, he became the first chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the first permanent institution with responsibility for trying war crimes and crimes against humanity. A key figure in Transparency International, an international anti-corruption organization, Moreno-Ocampo rose to prominence as a deputy prosecutor in the 1980s during the trials of former officers of Argentina’s military junta. An RFK Visiting Professor at HLS in 2002, Moreno-Ocampo will co-teach the course “International Criminal Justice” with professor Philip B. Heymann this January.
Nicaraguan scholar and political leader Dora María Téllez served as a guerrilla commander during the Sandinista revolution and later as Nicaragua’s Minister of Health, helping her country to win the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) prize for exceptional health progress. Her political activism led to a position on Nicaragua’s legislature, while her scholarship in public policy and art history has brought her to the podium of leading universities. She is president of the Sandinista Renewal Movement, a political party she co-founded in 1995. During the spring term, Téllez will join the faculty of the Harvard Divinity School (HDS) where she plans to teach “From Revolution to Hope: Nicaragua and the Sandinista Aftermath” and “Caribbean Identity, Race and Ethnicity.”
Ernesto Schiefelbein served as Chilean minister of education, and as rector of the Universidad Santo Tomás. Previously, he was director of the UNESCO Region Office of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, and worked as educational economist at the World Bank. Schiefelbein is the author of more than 10 books and is a former visiting professor at Harvard. Most recently, he was appointed visiting professor at the Center for the Study of International Cooperation in Education at Hiroshima University. During the spring 2005 term, Schiefelbein will be teaching two courses at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: “Rethinking the Purposes of Education in Developing Countries” and “Foundations of Systemic Educational Change in Developing Countries.”