Chile Alumni Discuss Green Recovery in Inaugural Foro Columbia Session

April 13, 2021

Foro Columbia - created by Chilean alumni Gabriel Guggisberg (SIPA’18) and Andrés Alegría (SIPA’19) to generate a meeting space for Columbia alumni to network, deliberate topics of interest, and propose solutions – held its first session end-March to discuss green recovery.

The session, which saw the participation of more than ten alumni, was led by expert moderators Jenny Mager (SIPA’12), Head of Mitigation in the Chilean Environment Ministry’s Division of Climate Change, and Fabián Videla (SIPA’12), Structured Finance Director & Head of Project Finance Energy at Grupo Security. The discussion focused on how to position sustainability in the context of green national development, as well as other cross-cutting issues such as inequality, poverty, and access to quality education, among others.

Participants in the inaugural forum were pleased with the experience, yet noted that the country has room to improve regarding green recovery. According to Antonia Samur (SIPA'18), there should be a transformation of society in which people rethink their way of living, moving towards environmental transformations. She proposed that post-Covid recovery and climate change mitigation should focus on people's day-to-day experience, saying the current economic model needed to be rethought so that it adapts to people's needs.

In turn, Andrés Osorio (SIPA'18) reflected on whether Chile is prepared to assume the costs of green recovery in a context of other, pressing areas, such as poverty and inequality. He proposed a global, multi-sector strategy that would allow the country to take a comprehensive leap towards greater sustainability.

"The Foro Columbia-Chile is a meeting space to re-live the vibes that as alumni, all of us felt when living in NYC, sharing with people from all over the world, debating policies, criticizing a model, or developing a new idea. It is a space where multiple perspectives come together to understand why we think differently and even more relevant, how we convene towards a point of agreement,” noted Guggisberg. “On the other hand, the Foro is an invitation not to forget that having passed through these halls of learning also entails a responsibility of contributing to a country where education is a weakness, and therefore, this privilege should be used to feed constructive debate. The Foro has begun in Chile, and we hope to stimulate similar initiatives in other countries with their own alumni."

"In these difficult times, we saw an opportunity to get back together and discuss a number of current issues with a more transversal perspective. So we set out to establish a space in which we could listen to different visions and views of the future," added Alegría.

The next session will be held Wednesday, April 28, at 7PM local time, where the role of the private sector in social policy will be discussed. Future sessions, to be held once a month, will include education as a right, gender parity, developments in the constitutional convention, and immigration and its effects on society.

If you are a Columbia alumnus and would like to participate in future Foro Columbia sessions, contact the organizers at [email protected]