Public intellectuals from the worlds of literature, science, journalism, politics, sociology, and civil society have long been central to political and economic ideas and innovations in the region. Through their research, writing and advocacy, such individuals have helped to reshape politics, re-think the region’s relationship to the world, and create transparent, long-lasting ties between communities, civil society, the public, and government.
In honor of their legacy and contributions, Global Americans is soon launching an annual list of the new generation of public intellectuals. Here to mark March 8th’s International Women’s Day, we highlight five of those women from our forthcoming list.
A journalist with 11 years of experience, Marisela covers political and economic issues in Venezuela. She is currently the anchor of a daily radio program on Radio Caracas, Radio 750 am called Hoy no es un día cualquiera or “Today is not an ordinary day,” where Venezuelans are informed of the national events without censorship. Castillo formerly worked at Revista Dinero as a senior journalist, and in TalCual newspaper founded by Teodoro Petkoff covering the National Assembly and politics.
Castillo is also the director of Humanitarian Action for Venezuela, an NGO that is dedicated to managing humanitarian aid by supplying medicine and medical supplies to clinics and hospitals across the country. Through its delivery of medical supplies and new programs like “Nutriendo La Esperanza,” the NGO delivers food, medical care and education to children in Venezuela’s most rural areas.
She received a bachelors in communications from Santa María University, and a masters in political journalism from the Carlos Septien García School of Journalism in Mexico City.
Mariana Costa Checa is an international development expert and co-founder and executive director of Laboratoria, a social enterprise empowering Latin American women to learn coding and further their development and employment opportunities. Backed by tech giants like Google and Microsoft, Laboratoria, which started in Lima, Peru, has expanded to Chile, Mexico, and Brazil. In 2015, MIT named Costa one of the most innovative people in Latin America under 35.
Before founding Laboratoria, Costa worked for organizations like TechnoServe and the Organization of American States on social development projects in El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, and Kenya.
Costa received a BSc in international relations from the London School of Economics and a masters degree in public administration from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Margaret Myers is the director of the Latin America and the World Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. In 2011, Myers established the Dialogues’ China and Latin America Working group to examine China’s growing presence in Latin America and the Caribbean. She also created the China-Latin America Finance Database, the only publicly available source of empirical data on Chinese lending to Latin America, in cooperation with Boston University’s Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI).
Previous to her being at the Dialogue, Myers worked as a Latin America analyst and China analyst for the US Department of Defense. She also worked as a senior China analyst for Science Applications international Corporation and as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank.
Myers received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and conducted her graduate work at The George Washington University, Zhejiang University of Technology, and the Johns Hopkins University/Nanjing University Center for Chinese-American Studies.
María Eugenia Vidal is an Argentine politician and governor of the province of Buenos Aires. After launching a long-shot bid for the position in 2013, she beat her opponent by five percentage points to become not only the first woman to hold this office, but also the first non-Peronist elected for the post since 1987.
A member of the PRO party and Cambiemos coalition, Vidal has become an indispensable player in Argentine politics. Before winning the governorship in 2015, Vidal served as current President Mauricio Macri’s deputy mayor during his tenure as mayor of Buenos Aires. She has also served as minister of social development for the city. Vidal was elected to the Buenos Aires city legislature in 2007 and has worked in several organizations in the public sector, including ANSES, the social security administration, as well as the Ministries of Social Development and Foreign Relations.
Vidal holds a degree in political science from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina.
Michelle Wauchope is an Organization of American States Scholar from Jamaica who is pursuing a PhD at the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan in Western Canada. Originally intending to work in the medical field, once in school, Wauchope realized she was instead interested in environmental sustainability.
A student member of the Global Institute for Water Security, Wauchope’s current research examines water quality, as well the rate of release of certain nutrients (such as phosphorus) in lakes, ponds and river systems to better understand seasonal and climate changes. She will continue to focus on natural resource management when she returns to Jamaica, to help her country reach the goals outlined in its Vision 2030 National Development Plan.
Wauchope received her Bachelor’s degree in environmental biology at the University of West Indies and her master’s in environmental sciences from Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica.