13 November 2019

Activating Debate: THe Latin American Network intiative (LANI)

The Latin American Network Initiative (LANI) is a student-run initiative at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, that was created by a group of students in 2013 to enhance the presence of Latin America through academic, social and professional activities within the Graduate Institute. The current President of LANI, Mariana Gamarra (A second year student in the Anthropology and Sociology Department), reflects on some of the successes achieved by the Initiative during this semester.

The students involved in the Latin American Network Initiative (LANI) have displayed great professional competency through this academic year so far. At the beginning of the semester, students hosted a welcome breakfast for the incoming students, managing to secure the presence of the Ambassadors Juan Raúl Heredia (México) and Giampaolo Rizzo Alvarado (Honduras). Students were able to hear about the professional and personal trajectories of these distinguished authorities and get a glimpse into the everyday life of diplomatic missions in Geneva in a very intimate setting.

With support of Greenpeace, the Centre for International Environmental Studies (IHEID), Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation (APIB), and the Grito Collective, LANI co-organised a  panel on “Diversity, Land and Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil” at the beginning of November. The event was assisted by over 100 people and moderated by Graduate Institute’s Professor Susanna Hecht. The panelists included:

  • Célia Xakriabá, Anthropology PhD Candidate at UFMG-Brazil and activist from Xakriabá community, in Minas Gerais
  • Nara Baré, the first female General Coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), which representative of 160 peoples from nine Amazonian states)
  • Kretã Kaingang, Indigenous activist originally from the Mangueirinha Indigenous Land, a threatened forest area in Paraná.

The debate tackled the rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil, including the different narratives of integration and assimilation of indigenous persons both in the country and in the Latin America region more broadly. It also explored the importance of the territory for indigenous peoples,  the additional challenges currently faced by them under the new administration in Brazil, and issues of compliance with international environmental preservation and human rights law. Lastly, the connections between trade, consumption, deforestation, and land conflicts were also debated. This provided students with the opportunity to reflect upon their academic and media accumulated knowledge and speak to the indigenous representatives they had heard of directly, bringing a new sense of reality to their understanding.

LANI were also able to organise monthly cineclubs, as well as a Día de Muertos party. Last year, LANI were also able to organise fundraising dinner for Venezuelan refugees.

Thanks to the support offered from partner institutions, LANI has been able to see their visions actualised, and we look forward to future events and partnerships.



Please find below other events that LANI is hosting later this month, with very distinguished guests:

Women's Rights in Latin America
21 November 2019 , 18:30 - 20:00, Petal 1 - Room S5, Maison de la Paix, Geneva

The event will address the issue of Women's Human Rights Standards in the Inter-American System.


  • Mónica Pinto, Professor Emerita of Human Rights Law and International Public Law at the University of Buenos Aires; UBA´ School of Law former Dean (2010-18); she serves as the President of the Administrative Tribunals at the Inter-American Development Bank and at the World Bank. She is in the Panel of Arbitrators with ICSID, KCAB International and Mercosur. She is member of ILO's Committee of Experts. Associate member of the Institut de Droit International. She was Director of Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of Cooperation and International Affairs of the Ministry of Justice in Argentina. Chevalier de l'Ordre national du mérite, France, 2008; Goler T. Butcher Medal (2009) and Honorary Membership Award (2019), both with the American Society of International Law.


The interventions of the speaker and chair will be followed by a Q&A session.


The Latin American Contribution to International Law
28 November 2019 , 18:30 - 20:00, Auditorium A2 | Maison de la paix, Geneva

Co-organized by the student initiative the Latin American Network Initiative (LANI) and the International Law Department.


  • Judge Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade, International Court of Justice (ICJ). Prior to his appointment to the ICJ, he was President to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and held several positions in international organizations. Judge Cançado Trindade is an experienced lecturer and author, published in numerous countries and several languages.


  • Marcelo Kohen, Professor of International Law, The Graduate Institute.

The interventions of the speaker will be followed by a Q&A session.



Keywords: Student Initatives