Academics and Research

Latin America Center inaugural event features alumnus Heraldo Muñoz, foreign minister of Chile

The conversation between Muñoz, left, and Christopher Hill, dean of the Korbel School, offered insight into how the balance between values and interests has played out in myriad foreign policy issues. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

The conversation between Muñoz, left, and Christopher Hill, dean of the Korbel School, offered insight into how the balance between values and interests has played out in myriad foreign policy issues. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

“Foreign policy is all about the balance between principles and national interest,” said Chilean Foreign Minister and University of Denver alumnus Heraldo Muñoz at Thursday’s inaugural ceremony for the Josef Korbel School of International Studies’ new Latin America Center (LAC). The LAC will facilitate professional and scholarly exchange between the University of Denver and Latin America and will support and coordinate educational research, policy and cultural activities concerning international relations between North America and South America.

Hosted in the Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex, the kickoff event featured a conversation between Muñoz and Christopher Hill, dean of the Korbel School. Their dialogue offered insight into how the balance between values and interests has played out in myriad foreign policy issues.

Muñoz (MA ’76, PhD ’79) began by recalling his time as a graduate student at DU at what was then known as the Graduate School of International Studies.

“My experience at Denver was transforming because it allowed me to comprehend the world better, to have the analytical tools, the theoretical framework to confront some of the issues in the practical world,” he said.

Elaborating on those practical issues, Muñoz highlighted some of the solutions Chile has implemented to combat environmental problems relating to climate change. For instance, Chile has created marine protected areas that will total more than 1 million square kilometers by the end of 2016 to prevent overfishing, the world’s third-most profitable illegal activity. These areas will help offset the damage done by the increasing acidification of ocean ecosystems.

Muñoz also responded to a question from Hill about Chile’s role in working to end Colombia’s civil war. Along with Cuba, Norway and Venezuela, Chile has dedicated ambassadors to work on the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas. “The negotiation is progressing quite well, with ups and downs,” he said. “With any peace negotiation that’s the way it is — it’s not easy when you’ve had decades of war, but I’m confident that there will be a positive outcome in a couple of months.”

Aaron Schneider, the LAC’s director, opened the evening by emphasizing the need for a center devoted to studying Latin America in the Rocky Mountain region. “There are historical, demographic, economic and cultural ties between Denver and Latin America that cry out for a premier Latin America center here,” Schneider said.

Muñoz echoed Schneider’s sentiments at the end of his discussion with Hill. “There are currently 55 million Americans of Latino origin. In 2050 there will be 119 million, and the U.S. exports three times more to Latin America than to China,” said Muñoz. “Latin America makes contributions; we are not part of the problem, we are part of the solution.”

 

One Comment

  1. Excellent! What a great conversation with the Foreign Minister and Dean Hill of the Korbel School. We are lucky to have such fantastic alums. Thanks for sharing!

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