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Glendon’s International Studies Student Association Holds Symposium on Venezuela

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Glendon's Annual Student International Studies Symposium is a project entirely conceived and managed by students. Every year, a group of students from Glendon’s International Studies Department come together to conduct research on a particular country, host a symposium in February on contemporary issues, visit the country to study, intern, or work, and then seek publication of their research. From the brainstorming sessions to the research papers, all stages of this project are based on the students’ motivation, organization, teamwork, and passion for the country. The research papers and symposium are nothing short of professional and prestigious, and the recognition and awards the committee has received over the past fourteen years for them are a clear demonstration of this.

The Independent Research Committee has chosen to focus on Venezuela this year. As one of the leading oil producing nations in the world, Venezuela plays an important role in shaping global energy security. This, among other factors, has allowed Venezuela to maintain a unique position as a leader within the Americas. The government of Venezuela, under Chavez’s leadership, has employed oil diplomacy and oil as aid to further its agenda, not only within Venezuela, but within Latin America as a whole.


Top (from left to right): Nicholas Hersh, Professor Domenico Mazzeo, Clara Wong, Ekaterina Malyuzhinets, Andrea Hiebert.
Bottom (from left to right): Andrew Campbell, Avril Lang, Katherine Hall

Chavez’s desire to further his Socialist Revolution has led to the reform of a number of social policies to benefit the Venezuelan people, for example education and healthcare. However, his actions are not without controversy and public opinion is divided within and outside Venezuela regarding the implications of his policies. This has led to actions such as mass student protests within Venezuela, and refusal by opposition parties to continue their electoral campaigns against his party. In addition, the charismatic and bold decisions taken by Chavez on the world stage have led to colourful relations among global actors. Chavez’s reforms are truly testing the democratic dream of Simone Bolivar.

One of our most distinguished speakers for the Venezuela Symposium will be Ms. Adina Mercedes Bastidas Castillo, who served as former Vice-President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from 2000 to 2002. Other noted panelists include Eva Golinger, Edward Mercado, Alex Grant, Paul Kellogg, Clara Herrera, Judy Rebick, Maria Victor, Maria Fitch, James Early and Carles Muntaner.

The Independent Research Committee on Venezuela is comprised of fourth-year students Andrew Campbell, Katherine Hall, Nicholas Hersh, Andrea Hiebert, Avril Lang, Ekaterina Malyuzhinets, and Clara Wong. The Symposium group would like to extend a warm welcome to all students, faculty and staff to register for the conference taking place at Glendon on February 28, 2009. For more information, please visit: http://www.venezuelasymposium.org.

Article submitted by Clara Wong, communications & logistics director for the Independent Research Committee on Venezuela.

Published on February 25, 2009