OUR MISSION

HACIA Democracy is an annual conference that simulates the proceedings of the Organization of American States (OAS). The conference is aimed towards high school students interested in democratic advancement and development. HACIA’s founding members conceived of the organization as a forum to offer an educational experience that focused on domestic and regional issues in the Americas. Since its inception in May 1994, HACIA’s staff and participants have continued to explore and address a diverse range of topics affecting countries in the Western Hemisphere.

The organization is based at Harvard University, and is staffed and entirely administered by Harvard undergraduates. HACIA also has faculty advisers at Harvard with an established academic and personal interest in the American continents. The organization’s staff is drawn from a wide variety of intellectual and cultural backgrounds, who share a common interest in Latin America and international affairs. The staff and the Board of Directors of HACIA work throughout the year to deliver a successful conference every March. In addition, participating schools and a variety of institutions in the host country play an important role in the planning and execution of the conference.

HACIA offers an unparalleled experience to all its participants. The collaborative arrangement between university and high school students is unique among government simulation conferences. The members of the group are interested in furthering democratic ideals, and as such, our primary goal is to provide delegates with an opportunity to discuss and practice democracy through different forums. As members of HACIA, we concentrate on the basic principles of democratic decision-making – cooperation, consensus, and negotiation – and maintain this focus throughout all aspects of the conference.

OUR NUMBERS

Delegates: ~500
Junior Co-Chairs: ~13

Faculty Advisors: ~65

Schools: ~35
Countries Represented: ~13

Age Range: 15-19 years

Average Committee Size: 30

English Committees: 8

Spanish Committees: 6

Registration: $175-250 USD

Deadline: Dec. 27, 2016

Register today

OUR HISTORY

HACIA Democracy was founded in May 1994 by Harvard undergraduate students who aimed to create an educational government simulation that focused on domestic and international issues in the Americas.

In its first year, HACIA Democracy launched a research, recruitment, and fundraising campaign. The energy and support of the International School of Panama was crucial to the success of HACIA Democracy’s first conference (Expo ’95, Panama City, Panama). Delegations from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama attended this first conference.

The conference expanded and improved each year.  HACIA’s 1999 summit left Panama for the first time, and was held in Costa Rica. That year, for the first time, public school students participated in the conference. This, along with the creation of HACIA’s first Spanish language committee, allowed more diverse points of view than ever to be voiced at the summit. HACIA has also enjoyed geographical diversity among its delegations. We had, for example, the unique privilege of welcoming a delegation from China in 2009. Following in this tradition of continuous growth, HACIA Democracy successfully moved the conference for the first time to South America in 2011 and the Caribbean in 2013, showing that the opportunities for growth of this young democratic forum are limitless.

As HACIA moves into its 23rd Summit, it has become the largest and most diverse OAS simulation in the world. Since its inception, thousands of students have attended the conference from dozens of schools around the world, and it is our vision that we continue to teach the region’s youth for years to come.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The eight members of the HACIA Democracy Board of Directors are tasked with managing all logistical and substantive aspects of the Summit of the Americas. They are democratically elected  following the completion of each Summit by the outgoing staff, and work with a team of approximately 30  Harvard students to organize each year’s Summit.

Sophia Lugo
President

Sophia Lugo is a fourth-year student at Harvard University studying History and Science, a multidisciplinary field combining the philosophy of science, history, and the natural sciences, with a secondary concentration in Global Health and Health Policy. She has mostly focused on neurobiology and biopolitics and is writing her senior thesis on the moral economy created and the way biopower was manifested with the entry of marine invertebrates into behavioral neuroscience labs.

As a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Sophia has always had an interest in international relations, particularly those involving her home countries, which brought her to join the staff of HACIA XXI as chair of the historical committee in Spanish. The passion, dedication, and fun-loving attitudes of the delegates convinced her to return to HACIA XXII as Director of Spanish Committees, where she had the opportunity to see delegates in committees of different size, rhythm, and content demonstrate true substantive prowess and inspiring leadership potential. This year, her love for HACIA led her to decide to co-lead the conference with her best friend and HACIA aficionado, Juan Pablo Miramontes.

Beyond preparing for what promises to be the best HACIA yet, Sophia takes part in Harvard's International Relations Council and Model UN team, Francophone Society, Latin American cultural groups, and a lab at the Medical School. She loves to travel, hang out with friends, watch psychological thrillers, or daydream about HACIA XXIII. Feel free to email her with any comments, questions, or concerns!

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Juan Pablo Miramontes
Vice President

Juan Miramontes is a fourth-year student at Harvard studying Social Studies, an interdisciplinary track involving social and political theory. His secondary fields of study are in French and Linguistics, which he hopes to combine to pursue a specialized study of migration in Western Europe. Though originally from Mexico, Juan now lives in Northern California.

Coming from an international and multicultural background, Juan was initially drawn to simulations of supranational organizations out of an interest in the capacity for such institutions to bring about multilateral dialogue and conflict resolution. His particular interest in Latin American politics led him to join HACIA XXI, where he had a blast serving as a co-director for the Cumbre de las Americas. The vigor and passion of the delegates in his committee was one of many reasons that he decided to join the board of HACIA XXII, as the Director of Administration. This year, he is excited to work with his long-time friend and HACIA veteran, Sophia Lugo, to bring even more innovation and excellence to HACIA XXIII

When not directing committees or writing background guides, Juan loves learning new languages, traveling, and procrastinating on Google Earth. This summer, he will be in Paris conducting research for his senior thesis.

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Cristina Parajón
Recruiting Director

Cristina Parajón is currently a Junior with plans on concentrating in Sociology, the study of societies, behaviors, and cultures of people groups. She hopes to take on a secondary in Government with an emphasis on Latin American politics to satisfy her never-ending desire to understand the political system of her roots.

Born in New Mexico, Cristina grew up in Managua, Nicaragua, during which she attended and junior-staffed HACIA Democracy. HACIA inspired her and many other youth to be conscious of and act to change the issues in Latin America. This inspiration motivated her to return as co-chair for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Spanish (HACIA XXI).

As Recruiting Director, it is her hope to make the stimulating conversations and experiences she had at the conference accessible to many more high-school students. In her free time, Cristina helps plan events for HOLA (the Harvard Association for Latin America) and HUBA (the Harvard Undergraduate Brazilian Association), plays on the Harvard Ultimate Frisbee Team, frequently explores Boston on her bike, and enjoys spontaneous dance parties to Carlos Vives. Cristina is extremely excited to meet all the delegates as well as the advisors and find out what they are passionate about!

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Daniel Montoya
Business Director

Daniel Montoya is a third-year student at Harvard University studying Government with a secondary find in Economics, with a language citation in French. He is mostly interested in the intersection of Urban Planning, Architecture, and Governance and loves discussing the spatial distribution of urban centers as a vehicle to sustainable development, and particularly the role International Organizations have in this field.

As a dual citizen of the United States and Colombia, Daniel has always had a passion in international cooperation and growth, particularly those involving the region of Latin America, which brought him to the fantastic world of HACIA XXII as chair of the United Nations Security Council, focusing on the situation in Yemen. It was truly the hard-work of Daniel's colleagues as well as the love and passion of the delegates that made him truly aspire to more involved role in the conference. He returns to HACIA XXIII this year, with excitement and love for HACIA as Director of Business, helping organize the best HACIA ever along his close friends Sophia Lugo and Juan Pablo Miramontes.

Beyond the fantastic HACIA conference, Daniel takes part in Harvard's International Relations Council and is the Head Delegate of Harvard's Model UN traveling team, Francophone Society, Harvard Organization for Latin America, and the Model UN conferences HMUN, HNMUN, and HNMUN-LA. He loves to travel, be a hooligan with friends, binge-watch comedies, and sleep on beaches with Coco Locos. Feel free to email him with any comments, questions, or concerns, particularly those dealing with HACIA Business!

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Andrew O'Donohue
English Committees Director

Andrew O’Donohue is a third-year student at Harvard College studying Social Studies, an interdisciplinary field combining politics, economics, and social theory. He is intensely interested in the threats and roadblocks facing democratic regimes across the world, from Honduras to Turkey, and he hopes to write a thesis analyzing what factors—institutional, economic, or social—determine democratic stability and resilience in the Americas. Since arriving at Harvard, Andrew has worked at public policy think tanks in Mexico, Argentina, and Turkey, and his experiences in these three countries, from reading the morning paper to chatting with coworkers, have impressed upon him the common challenges facing these nations’ political systems.

After working in Mexico and Argentina, Andrew knew that he wanted to continue exploring his passion for Latin American politics and seize the opportunity to engage students from across the Americas in discussions of democracy and political advocacy. At HACIA XXII, he chaired a Spanish-language crisis committee on police militarization in Honduras, and he was endlessly impressed with how delegates worked together quickly and creatively to resolve even the most complex and challenging crises. Having experienced the dedication that delegates bring to the conference and become part of the HACIA family, Andrew joined the Executive Board as Director of English Committees, and he has loved working with staffers who are equally passionate about debating issues in Latin American politics.

Beyond his involvement in HACIA, Andrew represented Harvard at the 2016 World Universities Debating Championship in Greece and serves as Co-President of an organization that tutors Harvard employees for the U.S. citizenship exam. Through Harvard Model Congress, Andrew has also had the incredible opportunity to work with students at government simulation conferences in Boston, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, and Seoul. His favorite city, of course, will always be his hometown, New York. In his spare time he loves going to Broadway shows with his three sisters, reading New Yorker comics, listening to cumbia cheta music (especially Márama and Rombai), and attempting to dance.

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Henry Scott
Spanish Committees Director

Henry Scott is a third-year student at Harvard University studying Integrative Biology, with a secondary in Philosophy. In his studies, he is particularly interested in the intersection between the natural sciences and the humanities, and in learning about the thinkers who have helped make sense of or blur the distinction.

Before moving to Georgia, U.S.A., when he was 13, Henry lived in Montevideo, Uruguay. Growing up in Uruguay taught Henry a lot of things, including how to make a business selling empanadas, what it means to love something unconditionally (the Uruguayan national soccer team), and why WhatsApp is the superior messaging app.

In addition to interests in plant science and intellectual history, Henry has always had a keen interest in Latin American politics and culture, which has led him to great experiences learning about the region both in the classroom at Harvard and outside of it with HACIA.

Beyond HACIA, at Harvard, Henry is a member of the club soccer team and indoor soccer team, and started a community garden at his dormitory building. He loves watching soccer, trying to learn German and Portuguese, hanging out with friends, and catching up with old friends.

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Tae Yeong Park
Administration Director

Tae Yeong Park is a second-year student at Harvard University studying Government and Sociology, exploring the socio-political issues in today’s international field, with a language citation in French. He is primarily interested in Latin American societies and politics, critically observing how the Western influence has shaped Latin American institutions and examining the present problems that numerous Latin American societies face.

Even though he was born in South Korea, Tae Yeong grew up in Guatemala and had the privilege of attending HACIA Summits XVIII, XIX, and XX as a delegate in high school. This early introduction to HACIA brought him to join the staff of HACIA XXII as co-chair of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This year, his continued passion for HACIA has led him to assume the post of the Administrative Director. Tae Yeong, having been a former delegate, recognizes that this annual conference holds a profound value for not only the delegates, but also the faculty members. With fellow, wonderful members of the Board, he hopes to help make HACIA XXIII an even greater experience.

When not busy with HACIA, Tae Yeong is involved with Harvard’s International Relations Council—HNMUN and HNMUN-Latin America—and Harvard Organization for Latin America. He loves to play the piano, saxophone, and cello (cualquiera que le de las ganas, o los tres al mismo tiempo:) and, of course, eat good food and sleep in whenever possible. Please feel free to email him with any comments/questions or anything related to the administrative details of HACIA XXIII.

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Daniel Martínez
Development Director

Daniel Martínez is a third year student at Harvard University concentrating in Social Studies. He is focused in social theory and specializes in Marxism and the role of the Left in Latin America.

He was born and raised in Colombia and moved to the United States eight years ago. Daniel went to a public high school in Boston where he continues to live while in college. In his years at Harvard, Daniel has been a director and assistant director for several model United Nations conferences, president of the Colombian Student Association, and studied abroad in Cuba during his sophomore year. Currently, he helps direct a non-profit organization, that he co-founded along with his cousin, to create alternatives to the crime, the drug addiction, and the violence that affects children and youth in the slums of Colombia. Additionally, Daniel is an assistant researcher for the Instituto Cervantes at Harvard University.

Daniel joined HACIA two years ago and since then he has been a chair for the Historical Spanish committees of Salvador Allende’s Presidency and the Executive Cabinet of Hector Trujillo. This year he returns to HACIA to serve as its Development Director. Anyone interested in philosophy, political and social theory, or enjoys Latin American literature feel free to contact him.

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OUR STAFF

Each year, the Board of Directors selects 30 Harvard students to write bulletins, develop committee topics, and serve as co-chairs for the fourteen HACIA committees. The application process is highly selective; the board looks for experience, enthusiasm, and interest in Latin American issues.  Our staff is the reason that HACIA remains the pre-eminent OAS simulation in the Western Hemisphere.

David Gevarter
Crisis Committee Director
David is a second year student at Harvard. He is originally from Cantonsville, Maryland. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Lucas Cocco
Cumbre de las Américas
Lucas is a second year student at Harvard. He is originally from La Habana, Cuba. This will be his first HACIA conference, although he participated as a special observer in high school.
Anshi Moreno
Cumbre de las Américas
Anshi is a third year student. She is originally from Yantzaza, Ecuador. This will be her first HACIA conference.
Raquel Maldonado
Corte Interamericana
Raquel is a third year student. She is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. This will be her first HACIA conference.
Jean-Paul Valencia
Corte Interamericana
Jean-Paul is a third year student. He is Colombian, but grew up in North Providence, Rhode Island. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Jocelyn Hernandez
OAS Special Mission
Jocelyn is a second year student. She grew up in Mexico and Texas. This will be her first HACIA conference.
Carlos Mendizabal
Consejo de Seguridad
Carlos is a third year student at Harvard. He is originally from San Luis Potosí, Mexico. This will be his second HACIA conference, after chairing Cumbre de las Americas last year.
Belen Mella
UNASUR
Belen is a second year student. She is originally from Santiago, Chile. This will be her first HACIA conference.
Anant Pai
OAS Permanent Council
Anant is a second year student. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Andrew Jiang
OAS Permanent Council
Andrew is a second year student. He is originally from Bellemead, New Jersey. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Jeffery Durand
CELAC
Jeffery is a fourth year student. He is originally from Nice, France. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Kieren Kresevic
CELAC
Kieren is a second year student. He is Peruvian, living in Sydney, Australia. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Stephanie Johnson
Interamerican Court of Human Rights
Stephanie is a third year student. She is originally from Rhode Island. This will be her first HACIA conference.
Andrew Ma
Historical Sandinista Cabinet
Andrew is a fourth year student. He is originally from Irvine, California. This will be his third HACIA conference; he chaired CELAC at HACIA XXI and the Cabinet of Alberto Fujimori at HACIA XXII.
Gabriella Monico
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Gabriella is a second year student. She is from Menlo Park, California, but was born in Brazil. This will be her first HACIA conference.
Eduardo Cesar
Legislative-Brazil
Eduardo is a third year student. He is originally from Brasilia, Brazil. This will be his second HACIA conference, after co-charring the Africa-South America Summit at HACIA XXII.
Ben Schafer
Legislative-Brazil
Ben is a second year student. He is originally from New York City. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Jamie Herring
PAHO
Jamie is a third year student. He is originally from Cheltenham, United Kingdom. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Bennett Vogt
UNASUR
Bennett is a fourth year student. He is originally from Belmont, Massachusetts. This will be his second HACIA conference.
Cora Neudeck
PAHO
Cora is a second year student. She is originally from Reelsville, Indiana. This will be her first HACIA conference.
Daniel Letchford
Crisis Gran Colombia
Daniel is a third year student. He is originally from Kijabe, Kenya. This will be his first HACIA conference.
Julissa Higgins
Press Director
Julissa is a second year student. She is from Barranquilla, Colombia, and Miami, Florida. This will be her first HACIA conference.

For any questions, contact president@hacia-democracy.org