SUNDAY, 03/28/2021 | 8:00PM EST

Foreign Affairs


Future Leaders

China’s Evolving Role in Latin America: COVID-19 and Beyond



Sunday, March 28th, 2021 at 8:00pm EST

Hosted on Zoom - the link and optional background materials will be emailed to you after registration


As the COVID-19 pandemic places even greater stress on the various delicate political and economic balances across Latin America, China remains an active player throughout the hemisphere. At this unique moment, the continuing role of China in Latin American affairs presents interesting challenges and questions for the future of the region. 

China has been an invaluable partner to many Latin American countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing much needed medical equipment, PPE, and vaccines to a region where the coronavirus has claimed over 700,000 lives. 

In this event we will speak with Benjamin Gedan of the Wilson Center, Stephen Kaplan of the Elliott School of International Affairs, Margaret Myers of the Inter-American Dialogue, and Paulina Garzón of the Sustainable Investments Initiative, about the shifting political tone of China-Latin American Relations, the evolving economic ties between China and Latin America, and the impact of the pandemic. 

Foreign Affairs with Future Leaders is a series of youth-led discussions which analyze various international issues and topics by collaboratively addressing their most critical questions. They are co-hosted by the Onero Institute, the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Fraternity and Sorority at GWU, the Women In International Security GW Student Branch, the School for Ethics and Global Leadership. This event is also being co-sponsored by Global China Connection.


Benjamin Gedan head shot (1).jpg

Benjamin N. Gedan is deputy director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program and the director of its Argentina Project. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is a former South America director on the National Security Council at the White House. Previously, Benjamin was responsible for Honduras and Argentina at the U.S. Department of State, and covered Central America and the Caribbean as an international economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

As a journalist, Benjamin reported for The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald and other publications. He is a former Fulbright scholar in Uruguay, and earned a Ph.D. in foreign affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor’s in international relations, and received a Master’s in international economics and Latin American studies from SAIS. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As a Latin America scholar, he has published opinion pieces in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald and Foreign Policy, and his analysis has been quoted by The New York Times, NPR, CNN, Bloomberg and the BBC.

Stephen B. Kaplan is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Professor Kaplan's research and teaching interests focus on the frontiers of international and comparative political economy, where he specializes in the political economy of global finance and development, the rise of China in the Western Hemisphere, and Latin American politics. Professor Kaplan joined the GWU faculty in the fall of 2010 after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University and his Ph.D at Yale University. While at Yale, Kaplan also worked as a researcher for former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Prior to his doctoral studies, Professor Kaplan was a senior economic analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, writing extensively on developing country economics, global financial market developments, and emerging market crises from 1998 to 2003.

Faculty Stephen Kaplan.jpg

Margaret Myers is director of the Asia & Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. She has published extensively on China’s relations with the Latin America and Caribbean region. The Political Economy of China-Latin America Relations and The Changing Currents of Trans-Pacific Integration: China, the TPP, and Beyond, her co-edited volumes with Dr. Carol Wise and Dr. Adrian Hearn, respectively, were published in 2016. Myers has testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the China-Latin America relationship and is regularly featured in major domestic and international media. 

Myers also worked as a Latin America analyst and China analyst for the US Department of Defense, during which time she was deployed with the US Navy in support of Partnership of the Americas. Myers is a Council on Foreign Relations term member. She was the recipient of a Freeman fellowship for China studies and a Fulbright Specialist grant to research China-Colombia relations in Bogotá. In 2018, she was identified by Global Americans as one of the “new generation of public intellectuals.

Paulina Garzón currently is the Director of the China Latin-America Sustainable Investments Initiative, a project hosted by the Bank Information Center in Washington, DC. Paulina is an Ecuadorian native based in Washington DC, with 25 years of experience working on issues relating to business, the environment, and human rights. She is a former president of Acción Ecológica (Ecuador) and a co-founder and ex‐President of the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CDES‐Ecuador).  She came to the United States in 2001 and served as Policy Director at Amazon Watch and as Latin America Program Director at the Bank Information Center. 

Over the past seven years, Paulina has focused her work on Chinese investments in Latin America, with particular attention to the Chinese environmental and social guidelines for overseas investments. She has organized and participated in a number of seminars and workshops with NGOs, academic institutions and government officials in Latin America, China and the USA. Paulina has also written extensively on topics related to Chinese investments in Latin America and environmental issues and is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Diálogo Chino. Paulina has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2009).

PAULINA GARZON picture.jpg


Sofía Oliveros, CAMS is a Latin America and Brazil Associate at Kroll, Inc., helping clients manage risk and their anti-money laundering and anti-bribery and corruption compliance programs. In her role, she has produced multiple acclaimed deep-dive investigations for Fortune 500 companies that dealt with sensitive and complex information used in IPOs and M&As in the US, Brazil, Latin America, and Europe.


She graduated from the George Washington University in May 2017 with a bachelor of arts in International Affairs and Economics concentrating in Latin American Studies, International Economics, and International Development. Prior to joining Kroll in 2017, Sofía interned at TD International, The Woodrow Wilson Center, The Group of 50, and at the Center for International Policy. While at GW, Sofía was a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority, serving as its treasurer, and was the president and treasurer of GW PorColombia, where she led the team in the planning of the VIII Colombian Student and Professional Conference titled “Post-Conflict Colombia.”

Oliveros, Sofia.jpeg
DPE Crest Red.png
Primary Logo Simplified.png