Young Leaders´ Forums

Europe Meets Latin America: A Forum for Young Leaders

September 2010

Europe meets Latin America

(September 12th – September 17th 2010)

Forum Report

Europe meets Latin America- A Forum for young leaders started on Sunday, September 12th and was a week-long event during which European–Latin relations were investigated and talked about by trying to look upon the topic from various angles and perspectives. Among the speakers were an active politician, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, his Excellency Melitón Alejandro Arrocha, the Director of the LAKINO Berlin Film Festival 2010, Martin Capatinta, the Director of Médicins sans Frontiers, Dr. Frank Dörner and Reginaldo Vincentim, the director of COARGROSOL, to name a few. The topics of the lectures varied from economical support, credits and fair trade, to literature, and to medical aid provided by NGO’s.

Forum Speakers

Mark C. Donfried (Founder and Director of the ICD)
Dr. Frank Dörner (Director of MSF-Berlin)
Prof. Herrera Moro (Universidad de las Americas Puebla, Mexico)
Prof. Dr. Manfred Nitsch (Freie Universität Berlin)
Dr. Ulrich Brückner (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung)
Dr. Ryan Prout (University of Cardiff)
Deputy Minister Meliton Alejandro Arrocha (Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama)
Martin Capatinta (Festival Director)
Birgitt Tovborg (Cultural Attaché of the Danish Embassy)
Carolina Galindo Hernández (Humboldt University)
Michaela Balke (Oikocredit)
Reginaldo Vincentim (Director of COAGROSOL)
Héctor Medellín (TV Presenter and Editor – Deutsche Welle Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Dieter Ingenschay (Humboldt Universität)
Miriam Chocobar (Welthungerhilfe)
Rosa Grabe (Welthungerhilfe)
Sarmad Hussain (Deutscher Bundestag)


  • ICD House
  • Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung
  • Danish Embassy
  • Deutsche Welle Berlin
  • German Parliament

Summary of Events

Sunday, September 12th 2010: The Europe meets Latin America – Forum for young leaders began in the afternoon after registering with a lecture introducing the topic of Cultural Diplomacy by Mark Donfried. After a short break for coffee and refreshments the participants went to get to know the historic parts of Berlin and in the evening got to know each other over a group dinner at the restaurant ‘En Passant’.

Monday, September 13th 2010: The second day of the forum began with a lecture by Dr. Dörner, the Director of Médicins sans Frontiers, followed by another lecture seminar by Mark Donfried. After lunch the group listened to a lecture about ‘Transparency and Entrepreneurship in Latin America’ by Prof. Herrera Moro. The last lecture of the day was given by Prof. Dr. Nitsch on the topic of ‘A European look at the Latin American economies’. The day concluded with a group dinner followed by watching the movie ‘El Regalo’ at Babylon Cinema, as part of the Latin American Short Film Festival in association with the Instituto Cervantes.

Tuesday, September 14th 2010: The third day started with a lecture given at the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung on ‘The European Idea’, after which the group returned to the ICD House for a lecture by Cardiff University Professor Prout on ‘The role of medicine and Latin American stereotypes’. Next the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama then gave a keynote speech on ‘Panama’s vision on European-Central American relations’. Later in the afternoon participants presented their own papers and in the evening the director of the LAKINO Film festival presented a series of short films followed by a discussion.

Wednesday, September 15th 2010: The participants began with a UN-Model Panel discussion before visiting the Danish Embassy for a European perspective on inter-regional relations. Upon returning to the ICD House, Carolina Galindo Hernandez gave a speech concerning the quality of democracy in Colombia and Peru. In the evening, the participants enjoyed a Salsa party at ‘Havanna Club’.

Thursday, September 16th 2010: Michaela Balke from Oikocredit presented an engaging account of providing access to microcredit and Fair Trade in Latin America, followed by a presentation from Reginaldo Vincentem the director of COAGROSOL, a successful example of Fari Trade in Brazil. After the lunch break the participants went to visit the facilities of Deutsche Welle and learnt of its activities from the TV presenter Héctor Medellín. In the evening they saw the remnants of the Berlin wall at Bernauerstraße and had a group dinner afterwards.

Friday, September 17th 2010: The final day of EMLA began with a lecture from Prof. Dr. Ingenschay from Humboldt University on ‘Politics and Cultural Diplomacy in Latin American Literature’. In the afternoon the first lecture was concerned with the issue of humanitarian aid in Haiti, presented by two representatives from Welthungerhilfe (World Hunger Help). The final event in the ICD House was the presentation of participant leadership initiatives with Mark Donfried before heading the German Parliament for their final lecture.

Sunday, September 12th 2010

Central daily Themes
  • What is cultural diplomacy?
  • To understand its practice, we must identify the agent, what their agenda is, the vehicle through which it is delivered, and who is their target audience?
  • There are many different forms of Cultural diplomacy; they can be both governmental and non-governmental and can be both negative and positive.
  • The relationship of soft and hard power in International Relations is complex, depending on both circumstance and political ideology.
  • The historical legacy of Berlin, the Wall, and it’s position at the heart of the Cold War, and the post-Fall reunification serves as a useful example of the potential for reconciliation efforts despite significant divisions.

Monday, September 13th 2010

Central daily Themes
  • Organizations like ‘Médicins sans frontiers’ fill a vital gap in international affairs, often working where governmental organizations simply cannot.
  • With so many challenges in treating diseases like Cholera, HIV Aids etc, this need is as strong as ever.
  • One example of this can be seen in the opening of walk-in clinics for rape victims in Guatemala and where women are most affected in other Latin American countries.
  • Such organizations play a vital role in helping people out of poverty level; over 40 million in the last decade in Latin America.
  • Trade plays a very important role between the two regions, with significant increases both to and from Latin America and Europe.
  • Perceptions play a very important role for the state of political relations, avoiding misunderstanding is very important for continued cooperation and coordination.
  • Fair-trade agreements and promoting synergies are also of vital importance and potentially mutually beneficial.

Tuesday, September 14th 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • Latin American and Europe share a long and complex history, one that is strengthening over time.
  • Negative stereotypes of Latin America from Europe still persist in many forms; for example the over representation of drugs in Latin America on film.
  • High levels of violence against women, militias and trafficking of drugs are nevertheless a real problem that must be confronted.
  • Ignorance of health issues remain persistent, sometimes exacerbated by religious differences.
  • Levels of security risk vary significantly from one region in Latin America to another.
  • Security and Human Rights issues born from drug cartels and human trafficking must also be remedied.
  • Latin American film is very creative, successful and well-received in Europe, and provides an alternative to negative portrayals in the media.
  • Through Latin American film, we can gain a small insight to the different cultures and form a more nuanced understanding of the region.

Wednesday, September 15th 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • Democracy in Latin America has a long history and remains strong. Negative influences persist, but pose a diminishing threat to political stability.
  • Drug smuggling and Human Trafficking and militias are persistent problems that need new solutions and region wide cooperation.
  • Multilateral organizations from the UN to trade groupings play an important role in promoting effective trade and security cooperation.
  • Latin American relations with European countries, whether large as in Germany, or small as in Denmark, depend not only on history, but on trade levels and positive cooperation.
  • Traditional histories, for example Columbian and Peruvian, provide a balance to negative perceptions that attracts foreigners to Latin America and act as a bond within the area that assists in diplomatic endeavors.
  • Levels of democracy levels, as in almost any region, vary considerably throughout Latin America.
  • Colombia is the oldest democratic state on the continent, and acts as a role model for other Latin American countries.

Thursday, September 16th 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • Micro-financing in Latin American countries is providing new and effective avenues for the alleviation of poverty in a sustainable manner.
  • Fair-trade is a small but growing part of many product markets in Latin America, providing a fairer distribution of profits and facilitating the shift from subsistence to sustainable and growing product outputs.
  • Micro-financing acts to build up small industries and help them getting into the fair-trade
  • There are a growing number of examples of effective fair trade organizations in Brazil, helping promote economic activity in those regions.
  • Deutsche Welle TV has a wide network of partners with Latin American TV channels, however
  • only two hours are broadcasted in Spanish on Deutsche Welle TV.
  • Latin America provides a large potential market for television broadcasters, both for non-Latin American immigrants and those looking to the wider world for news, entertainment and cultural products.

Friday, September 17th 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • Latin American literature both influences and is influenced by Latin American politics. Many authors are exiled politicians, and many politicians are authors themselves.
  • The turmoil of wars and dictatorships has provided much material for the region’s literature output.
  • Following the Haiti earthquake, there was an unprecedented outpouring of support from Latin- American countries, demonstrating a greater level of support in the region.
  • Haiti possesses persistent problems with the post-quake reconstruction of the country, not simply in terms of infrastructure but at nearly all levels of government.
  • The workload of NGO’s in Latin America remains overwhelming, with them often having to take on government responsibilities.
  • International development funds are slowly becoming better coordinated, for instance in the US cluster systems as means of effective, and time-efficient aid distribution.