Adapting to the times: ILG 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, LALP redesigned its Innovation and Leadership in Government program for ILG 2020 to allow public managers to respond to the crisis from their own countries while ensuring the same level of academics, experiential learning, and networking opportunities.
With 37 participants from 10 different countries from across Latin America, ILG 2020 was successfully held virtually from September 21 through November 10, 2020. Sponsored by Facebook Latinoamerica, this 8-week part-time virtual edition of ILG was able to reach out to areas and candidates who have not been able to participate in an in-person format in the past. Candidates span the capital cities and small and more remote areas as well. Furthermore, ILG 2020 was able to welcome more participants due to its far-reaching online format. The projects that ILG 2020 participants worked on ranged anywhere from education to technology and gender equality to impact communities at a national, local, and regional level.
ILG 2020 was a perfect example of the great diversity of the region, in terms of public policy proposals, participants' backgrounds, and regional outreach. We are thankful that despite the difficulties, LALP was quick to adapt its program offerings and managed to establish a far-reaching presence, while generating a greater impact by providing participants with the tools needed to advance their leadership skills and public policy proposals, in a time of pandemic when the need is even greater.
Despite ILG 2020’s remote format, participants were able to create strong connections among their cohort and actively supported each other throughout the program. The special times brought about a strong sense of community and collective identity and purpose among the diversity of participating countries and nationalities in the ILG 2020. Through the projects that participants worked on, tackling problems that afflict the whole region, a collective Latin American identity emerged from the program. Rather than viewing themselves as individuals from nations separate from each other, ILG 2020 participants came together as a unified region, which is part of LALP's mission to continue building and fostering these connections and networks throughout the region.
ILG 2020 also saw the integration of participants from Brazil. Despite a language barrier between Spanish and Portuguese, Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, faces the same issues as other parts of the region. By incorporating Brazilian participants, ILG 2020 opened its doors to a country that accounts for 211 million of Latin America’s 658 million total population and facilitated more interregional understanding. All in all, ILG 2020 was a success despite the obstacles posed by COVID-19. Moving forward, LALP plans to continue to offer part-time live virtual programs to connect with individuals who face financial constraints or difficulty traveling to Washington D.C. Together, Georgetown University and LALP are striving to continue pushing the boundaries of possibility when it comes to creating an impact on parts of the region that haven’t been reached before.