Key note speaker

  • "Major" Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo (Brazil). Ms. Azevedo is a military police officer, currently working as Coordinator of Strategic Programs for the “Police Pacification Units” (UPPs), Secretaria de Estado de Segurança do Rio de Janeiro (SESEG)'s “favela” (slum) pacification program. In 2007, she demonstrated extreme courage and commitment to her duties by successfully arresting a gang of criminals who had kidnapped her. Between 2008 and 2010, she shut down drug dealing operations in the favela of Santa Marta, established conflict mediation models, worked with state and local government institutions to improve garbage collection and health care, broadened education and technical training opportunities, and developed successful community arts and crafts fair. In 2012, she was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by the U.S. State Department.



WG1. Weak Rule of Law, a threat to Citizen Security

  • Marco Antonio Castillo (Guatemala). Mr. Castillo holds a Baccalaureate in Pedagogy, a Masters’ Degree in Curricular Education and a Postgraduate Degree in Alterity and Education. He has worked in the fields of Popular Education, Educational Curriculum and Social Research since early in his career. He conducts research and activities in the fields of construction of urban peace, mediation, and transformation and resolution of community disputes, and received the Today's Peacemakers Award from the American Friends Service Committee in 2010 for his work in communities facing a significant number of conflicts and disputes.


  • Howard N. Fenton (United States). Mr. Fenton is Professor of Law and the founding Director of the Democratic Governance and Rule of Law LL.M. Program at Ohio Northern University.  He received his B.S. and J.D. degrees with honours from the University of Texas. He practiced international trade law in Washington, D.C. for nine years before becoming a law professor in 1984. He teaches Public Law and Legal Process, Comparative Administrative Law and the Rule of Law Seminar. He is an active consultant on administrative law reform for USAID, and has served on seven dispute settlement panels under the North American Free Trade Agreement.


WG2. The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on the Americas

  • Laura Gómez-Mera (Argentina). Ms. Gómez-Mera holds a PhD in International Relations and Politics from Oxford University and a Masters Degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics. She has been visiting professor at the Columbia University Institute of Latin American Studies (2004-2005), and has lectured at the Metropolitan College in New York, and at New York University. She has also been a consultant for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme/Asia-Pacific. Her research includes regional trade agreements, trade conflict policy and international relations in developing countries, with a special emphasis on foreign economic policy decisions in Latin America.


  • Ottón Solís Fallas (Costa Rica). Mr. Solís Fallas is an Economist with degrees from the Universities of Costa Rica and Manchester (UK). He lectured at the Universities of Manchester and Reading in the United Kingdom, as well as in several Costa Rican higher education institutions. He has also been visiting professor at Florida and Notre Dame Universities in the USA. He has published academic papers, and has authored hundreds of editorials. He has also been Minister for Economic Policy and Planning, Deputy at the Costa Rican Parliament, and member of the Central Bank Executive Board. He was co-founder of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, which became the No. 2 political force in Costa Rica. He ran for the Presidency on three occasions, and was the second most voted candidate in two elections.


WG3. Climate Change and the Environment

  • Michelle Michot Foss (United States). Ms. Foss holds a PhD from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Houston. She has over 30 years’ experience in oil, gas, LNG, and energy prospects and scenarios. She is advisor to the USA and to several international power companies. She has developed and managed private, WB, USAID, and US Department of Energy projects. She is an Executive Trainer at the UT McCombs School of Business. She has been a Senior Fellow (USAEE-US Association for Energy Economics) (2006); selected as one of the Key Women in Energy-Americas (2003); member of the Scientific Council, 50th Anniversary of ENI (2003); President of IAEE (2003), and President of USAEE (2001), among others.


  • Margarita Astrálaga (Colombia). Ms. Astrálaga is a biologist, specialist in environmental management from the Danish Water Institute, and holds a Master in Regional Planning and Development. She has over 25 years of experience in the environment and sustainable development sector, and has held a wide-range of responsibilities, at the national and international levels. Among others she has worked at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Latin American and Caribbean Region of the Oceans and Coastal Areas Programme (1988), as Head of the Capacity Building Unit of the Secretariat of the Convention of Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) (1994-1997), as consultant for the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank on institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Environment and designing a biodiversity strategy for Patagonia, and the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as the Americas Senior Advisor (1999). Until April 2010 she worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the Director of the IUCN Mediterranean Cooperation Centre in Spain, and now works for United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) as the Regional Director in the Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.


Group of Women Parliamentarians: Meeting 08. Financial Crisis and its Effects on Women in the Region

  • Mayra Buvinic (Chile). Ms. Buvinic holds a PhD in Social Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She led the World Bank’s Gender Action Plan (4 years, USD 70 million), positioning gender equality as “profitable economy”, including an initiative for adolescents and the promotion of gender as a priority in loans to poor countries. In her capacity as head of the Social Development Division with IADB, she shaped the Bank’s work in violence prevention, coordinated the Social Development Strategy, and launched the Social Inclusion Trust Fund. As founding member (and President for 19 years) of the International Center for Research on Women, she built an internationally renowned center that is committed to improving the situation of poor women in developing countries.