Alumni Engagement

There are more than 700 Columbia alumni in Chile, many of whom are engaged with either the Columbia Alumni Club Chile, which was created in 2018, or with the Columbia Business Alumni Club of Chile, which has been active for many years. Both are very dynamic and are permanently organizing site visits, roundtable discussions and social gatherings. 

In 2020, the Columbia Global Centers made available on the Santiago Center website seven innovative projects related to Covid-19’s impact in Chile, which were conceptualized and implemented by Columbia Alumni in the context of a call for proposals launched in May.

The seven projects, which range widely in scope, were selected from a total of 28 alumni-submitted proposals that were evaluated and rated by a group of the Santiago Center’s Advisory Board members.

The submitted works are:

  • La Creatividad No Para, led by Paloma Estévez (SOA’19): Creative solutions addressing Covid-19 in four cases: Liceo Bicentenario Pablo Neruda de Arica, Cocina País, The Tunnel of Life by Grupo Air, and clothing manufacturer Monarch.
  • Promoting Young Children's Autonomous Learning, led by Alejandra Cortázar (TC’11): A child-friendly online platform in Spanish, with a repository of resources (digital and for print) for children aged 3-6 to use autonomously from home. This project is supported by the World Bank and the Center for Studies on Early Childhood, CEPI.
  • Diosas de lo Íntimo, led by Ximena Vial (GSAS’16): Women have been the keepers of the intimate space and familiar memory since ancestral times; however, their work and relevance has been kept in the private spheres of history and left out of traditional accounts. This archive registers and provides visibility of diverse Chilean women in the midst of a global pandemic. The project includes a “making of” video and an advance preview with three such stories, with the remaining seven stories to be published shortly.
  • Covid’s Impact on the Labor Market, Fueled by Automation, led by Pablo Egaña del Sol (GSAS’16): A paper which suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic may serve as a catalyzer for automation in several industries throughout Chile. Crossing datasets containing material on the degree of exposure to automation at the occupational level, with information related to telework capacity, the amount of physical proximity and the level of exposure to infectious diseases at the workplace, the researcher concludes that 13% of female workers and 21% of their male colleagues are under high risk of automation. The study also highlights the existence of a high degree of variability at the industry and territorial level throughout Chile.
  • The Politics of Coronavirus in Chile, led by José Miguel Cabezas (GSAS’12): An analysis of political announcements from March to June 2020, demonstrating that government policies can effectively reduce – or encourage – the movement of individuals during a pandemic.
  • Comparison of Educational Initiatives in Campamentos in the Context of Covid-19, led by Valeria Moraga (SIPA’19): A case study on the impact of two interventions - internet access and remote tutoring - on the mental health and educational indicators of children between 6 and 14 years old, who live in informal settlements.
  • Understanding the Impact of Social Distancing Measures and Quarantine on Vulnerable Families with Pre-School Children, by Carmen Le Foulon (GSAS’14): An analysis on how different social distancing measures in Chile have impacted the most vulnerable families with pre-school children, while also identifying potential risk factors and protective measures. 

In 2019, members of Chile’s Columbia Alumni Club visited the Centro de Innovación UC-Anacleto Angelini whose Executive Director, Conrad Von Igel (SIPA’07), is a Columbia alumnus and a member of the Santiago Center’s Advisory Board. Later in March, the Alumni Club organized a visit to Parque Andino Juncal, a family-run protected area in the Andes Mountains, near Portillo Ski Resort, for a guided tour and discussion on water resources and private conservation. Park administrator, Tomás Dinges (JRN’08), led the visit. In May, they toured the Central Bank of Chile, where they saw the Numismatic Museum and a notable collection of Chilean art. In June, they visited the Santiago Stock Exchange and in August, they took a guided tour of the historical headquarters of Banco de Chile, one of the country’s oldest and largest banks.

Daniela Dukes (BUS’17), Georges De Bourguignon (BUS’17), Valerio Cecchi (BUS’79), Teresa Ripamonti (BUS’15), Alexander Sideman (BUS’17) and Jorge Dominguez (BUS’15) were elected as members of the renewed board of the Columbia Business Alumni Club of Chile. Two other alumni were chosen to be part of the Club’s Advisory Board: Pedro Uribe (2017) and Gustavo Stubrich (1992). The Club organized a series of events, including roundtable discussions covering economic and business topics, information sessions for potential new applicants and workshops featuring Columbia faculty traveling to Chile. It worked closely with the Santiago Center as well as with the Columbia Alumni Club of Chile,

In late October 2019, the Alumni Club Chile hosted its annual Cocktail Party to honor renowned journalist Daniel Matamala (JRN’12) with its Outstanding Columbia University Alumnus award. Currently the senior anchor at CNN Chile, Matamala is also an op-ed contributor for local newspaper La Tercera and the author of six nonfiction books regarding political and economic power in Chile. Last year’s award went to the distinguished economist Joseph Ramos (CC’59, SEAS’60, SIPA’64, GSAS’68).

Each year the Global Center sponsors one alumnus trip to the Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend in New York. In 2019, alumna Magdalena Engel (SIPA’05) attended the event and received the “Most Revitalized Club in FY19” award on behalf of the Chile association.