Skip to Latin America Leadership Program Full Site Menu Skip to main content
March 31, 2022

GCL 2022: A First-Ever Hybrid GCL Program

by Cristina Ruiz (EML'21)

On March 31, 2022, LALP closed the first-ever hybrid edition of its Global Competitiveness Leadership Program, celebrating 16 years of continued GCL program implementation. From zoom to indoor masking to a somewhat return to pre-pandemic life, GCL 2022 proved to be a great example of how LALP adapted to respond to the rapid changes of this pandemic.

A highly-selected group of 36 young agents of change from 14 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela) leading projects spanning the private, public and social sectors across Latin America and Spain participated in this first hybrid edition of one of the flagship programs of Georgetown University’s Latin America Leadership Program (LALP). First, connecting virtually from their own countries for the first four weeks of the GCL 2022 program, and then coming together in Washington for six full intense weeks of academic sessions, lectures, team activities, peer-to-peer learning, visits, and mentorship sessions, participants got to create strong regional networks while advancing their leadership development journeys and their impact project proposals.

GCL 2022 cohort posing for their graduation picture at Riggs Library with LALP Team and GCL Impact Award winners
GCL 2022 cohort posing for their graduation picture at Riggs Library with LALP Team and GCL Impact Award winners

The program's academic content was organized into well-designed learning modules to guide participants through their own GCL project development. Participants explored core themes of Leadership, Latin America and the Changing World, Project Development and Entrepreneurship, Designing Solutions for Impact, Innovation, Measuring and Evaluating Impact, and Communication and Social Impact Story-telling. Featured Georgetown full-time and affiliated faculty included MSB Professors Ricardo Ernst, Jose Guerrero, Shye Gillad, Jeff Reid, Evelyn Williams, Jeanine Turner, Robert Bies, Douglas McCabe, Leslie Crutchfield, John Jacobs and Matthew Cronin; SFS Professors Matthew Carnes, SJ,, Juan Luis Manfredi, and Hector Schamis; McCourt Professor Andres Marquez-Lara; and SCS professors John Trybus and Ben Litalien. Guest lecturers included Diane Garza, Phil Long, Juan Rivera, Ricardo Teran, Mike Malloy, Yanire Braña, and Paloma Bernal. In addition, GCL 2022 participants had the opportunity to meet and interact with a wide array of experts in their fields, including Alejandro Werner (Georgetown Americas Institute), Ragga Árnadóttir and Sebastian Nieto (OECD), Andres Rugeles (CAF), Diego Molano (former Minister of Information Technologies and Communications of Colombia), Andrea Bernal (RCN Television), Carlota Sanz (Doughnut Economics Action Lab), Emiliana Vegas (Brookings Institute), Pedro Burelli (LALP Advisory Committee), Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg (Strategic Investment Group), and a superb pool of experts from the Inter-American Development Bank including Cesar Buenadicha and Juan Pablo Lopez Gross (IDB Lab), Juan Pablo Bonilla, Gaston Astesiano, and Ana Castillo, among others. Throughout the program, GCL participants tested Talento Lab, a pilot tool designed by Lina Zuluaga, to track their progress and redefine their projects. Participants were also supported by a team of volunteer mentors, as in past years, like Pedro Burelli, Cristina Burelli, Yael Marciano, Carlos Enrique Cavelier, Eduardo Velez, Antonio Caño, Jose Luis Acero, Gonzalo Pacanins, and a group of experts from the IDB Lab (Fermin Vivanco, Ana Castillo, Masato Okumura, Tetsuro Narita, Smeldy Ramirez, Elena Heredero, Mariel Sambra). GCL 2022participants also got to explore new technologies, such as 3-D virtual reality learning with representatives of Mytaverse.

Although some of the traditional stops were not possible due to changing local restrictions and new institutions guidelines, participants visited the IDB virtually, through a half-day program of sessions facilitated by the IDB Lab. Moreover they were able to visit in-person the trending space of the Halcyon House, a social incubator for early-stage entrepreneurs where they got to meet with Kaitlin Capobianco, Senior Manager and two of their fellows, Tamara Chayo Moro (Mexico) and Akshita Sachdeva (India) to learn about other programs that they might benefit from as they continue to advance their projects. In addition, our GCL 2022 cohort, as did our previous cohorts, participated in our usual GCL one-day of service at Cornerstone DC Schools where they led 90-minute classes sharing knowledge about their countries to support inter-cultural exchange and learning in K-12 levels across vulnerable communities in the DMV area.

As a complement to the academic content of the program, participants also took advantage of their time off and networking time to visit with the Ambassadors and members of the Embassies of Spain, Ecuador and Brazil, among others, and met with representatives from many institutions across town. One of these extracurricular stops was the visit to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES - Department of Education), where some participants working on education projects got to meet with Mark Schneider, the director of the institute, and Eduardo Behrentz, vice president of Universidad de los Andes (Bogota, Colombia). 

The last week of the program was designed for participants to reflect on their journeys. On this occasion, LALP offered a first-ever one-day retreat at the Calcagnini Contemplative Center of Georgetown University in Virginia, facilitated by Georgetown Campus Ministry. Participants came together one last time to share experiences, reflect on Georgetown core values, and join in games and activities as a way to recharge and refuel before the return home.

Moreover, as the university lifted indoor masking protocols, participants got a chance to meet with President DeGioia, who talked about the importance of Georgetown University’s continuous engagement with the region.

President DeGioia with Ricardo Ernst and members of the GCL 2022 cohort and GCL Impact Awardees 2020-2022
President DeGioia with Ricardo Ernst and members of the GCL 2022 cohort and GCL Impact Awardees 2020-2022

As a silver lining of this pandemic, LALP hosted the past three GCL Impact Award winners, Jenifer Colpas (GCL Impact Award 2022, Colombia), Kenneth Gent (GCL Impact Award 2021, Chile), and Allison Silva (GCL Impact Award 2020, Bolivia) who will be featured in the latest video of Georgetown Americas Table hosted by Muni Jensen. It was a privilege for our participants to learn of the extraordinary, diverse, and important work that these awardees are carrying out in the region and in their countries. Allison, Kenneth, and Jenifer are true examples of the GCL spirit and the impact that is possible in Latin America.

I feel very honored and thankful to have received the GCL Impact Award, this is a recognition for the work that my team and I are making together with passion and commitment to create opportunities in Bolivia and in the region. But it is also a special moment to remind ourselves and share where this passion to create a multiplier effect in the region comes from: the tools and inspiration were born here, in the GCL Program, based on serving others and creating shared value for everybody, this is why this is a special and unique moment. I strongly believe that everyone can reach their real potential through education and technology, I encourage you to not only create but multiply opportunities for others, and so be the person you needed when you were younger.-  Allison Silva, GCL Impact Award 2020, Bolivia

During the culmination events, LALP also presented a final showcase of the top 10 projects that were deemed as the best representatives of the impact that is needed for the region. The judges were composed of members of the IDB Lab and Halcyon House. The top GCL 2022 projects are listed below:

Ana Him, Panama: Reduce tu Huella/Reduce your Footprint - Allows private, public and civil society to track their carbon footprint and implement mitigation actions while giving official recognitions.

Camila Gottlieb, Uruguay: UNESCO Hybrid Chair - Generates evidence to support public policy on teacher training at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay for Latin America, as one-of-a-kind UNESCO chair.

Carlos Ernesto Moreno, Mexico: PATAC - Creates a marketing model for textile artisans to preserve and promote the biocultural heritage of 70 ethnic indigenous groups totalling 25 million people that exist in Mexico.

Fabricio Reyes, Ecuador: Forza Laser – Design laser cutter machines in order to help individuals become economically self-sufficient by creating enterprises that use laser printing to design and commercialize their creations.

Gabriel Sousa Marquez de Acevedo, Brazil: Casas da Democracia - Political movement that will offer free learning venues about democracy and serve as an option for independent candidates (due to Brazil’s legislation that obliges candidates to have a party in order to run).

Julieta Herrería, Ecuador: E-gov for Prefectura del Guayas - A new public management approach for digital transformation of the Prefectura del Guayas to increase the public servants’ performance.

Lucía Vilariño Fiore, Argentina: Mujeres de Fuego- A practitioner’s community designed to accelerate the advancement of women in the fire services and catalyze change towards gender equality at emergency institutions of 1+0 countries of Latin America & the Caribbean.

Marcelo Bernardino, Brazil: Trybe – Private organization that opens tech job opportunities for Latin American youth through effective and short tech training scholarships.

Margareth Velazco Flores, Peru: Impacta - Develops activities and projects so that more talented young people with a vocation for service decide to get involved in the country's public institutions.

Santiago Paez, Colombia: Casa Santamaria - Create a new sales channels for emerging brands owned by young talents.

Special recognition for M&M Formando Lideres a non-finalist GCL project led by Ana Maria Mojica, from Colombia, for her personal story and heartfelt presentation about her family non-profit endeavor that offers international education opportunities to Venezuelan immigrants and Colombian rural children from her hometown of Casanare, Colombia.

For the graduation ceremony, our 16th cohort was joined by keynote speaker Andres Ibarra, former Minister of Modernization of Argentina, who shared experiences about his personal leadership journey and important encouraging messages to effect the change that is needed in Latin America, as our GCl 2022 spokespeople, Julieta and Santiago, reflected on:

We have learned that we can work together in a better way. That our diversity is not a weakness but our biggest strength. We are leaving proof that our region does not have problems but opportunities. And we should never forget to give back. We were honored to have this unique opportunity. We now have the tools to do good by our values - Julieta Herrería, GCL 2022, Ecuador, graduation spokesperson for the GCL 2022 cohort

We are the future. We are a generation that believes that change is possible. Somos futuro para nosotros y porque somos personas comprometidas con los desafíos actuales. Santiago Theoduloz, Uruguay, graduation spokesperson for the GCL 2022 cohort.

The GCL 2022 program was directed by MSB Professor Ricardo Ernst, LALP Executive Director, with the support of Cristina Ruiz, Associate Director of Programs and Operations, and Lina Zuluaga, Program Manager, and in collaboration with the McDonough School of Business Office of Executive Education.

The program is made possible thanks to the generous support of Georgetown University’s Latin American Board, the LALP Advisory Committee members, donors, and other supporters. Thanks to the support and the extraordinary efforts of our alumni networks, the GCL program continues to be a key reference for all emergent leadership and positive impact in the Latin American region.