Given the multidimensional crisis situation in Central America and the uncertainty of the region’s position in international political agendas, a group of academic institutions and academics and intellectuals interested in the Central American region have created the Iniciativa Centroamérica academic network (Red ICA). It is a collaborative network that seeks to promote an innovative research agenda on Central America, characterized by a multidisciplinary, historical, comparative, and with a political economy approach.
The fifteen institutions that have initially joined this initiative will participate in a flexible scheme adapted to their interests in work and research agendas and dissemination of results. Some of the ways of collaboration to be developed within the framework of the Red ICA will include: elaboration and dissemination of studies; academic and public events (seminars, conferences, courses); creation of substantive reflection on Central America issues critical issues for the political and social dialogue; release of printed and virtual publications; and definition of strategies to seek funding for projects and academic activities linked to the initiative’s research and dissemination agenda.
Considering the urgency of a robust and comprehensive intellectual and academic effort on Central America, the ICA Network will initiate its activity with a three-year collaborative program of Research and Knowledge Dissemination on Central America. This program will focus on new approaches to the social development of Central America in the 21st century, with the objective of developing proposals to help address the multi-causal and multidimensional crisis the region is facing, contributing to the construction of social and political agreements among Central American societies and to the development of transformative social change projects, and helping to update and strengthen international cooperation strategies for the region.
An open international network of relevant research centers and academics
The Red ICA is an open initiative that will initially include the participation of the following institutions (the representatives are mentioned beside the institution):
- American University, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies. Eric Hershberg, Ernesto Castaneda.
- Comisión Económica para América Latina (CEPAL), Sede Subregional en México. Hugo Beteta.
- Fundación Programa Regional de Investigación sobre Desarrollo y Medioambiente (PRISMA). Susan Kandel, Nelson Cuellar, Rafael Cartagena.
- Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (ICEFI). Jonathan Menkos.
- Programa Estado de la Nación. Alberto Mora.
- Universidad Centroamericana de Nicaragua, Universidad Centroamericana de El Salvador, Universidad Rafael Landívar en Maestría en Integración regional centroamericana y Desarrollo (MICAD). Carolina Villatoro, Luis Padilla.
- Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA). Mario Zetino.
- Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Marisa Ramos.
- Universidad de Costa Rica, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales (Juliana Martínez Franzoni) y Centro de Información y Estudios Políticos (Juliana Martínez Franzoni y Alberto Cortes).
- Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Instituto de Desarrollo. Pedro Caldentey, Vicente González, Alexander Segovia.
- Universitat de Girona. Salvador Martí Puig.
- University of Denver, Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies. Aaron Schneider.
- University of Oslo, Centre for Development and the Environment. Benedicte Bull.
- University of Oxford, Latin America Centre. Diego Sánchez Ancochea.
- University of San Francisco, Master in Migration Studies (MIMS) Bill Hing, Jesús de la Torre.
- In addition, individual academics and intellectuals will join the Red ICA.
An academic and intellectual community to advance Central America’s challenges
The profound multicausal and multidimensional crisis in which Central America is immersed is taking place in a complex and uncertain international context that threatens the post-pandemic recovery and runs the risk of diminishing the region’s relevance in international political agendas. The region, on the other hand, is facing the end of a long development cycle shaped by the strategies associated with the peace agreements, and is doing so isolated, with little external political support and with a notable deficit of serious and innovative proposals -regional and international- to challenge the crisis, return to the democratic path and achieve social development.
In the face of this complex situation, the academic and intellectual community interested in Central America has the major challenge of generating and disseminating new knowledge about the region and developing realistic and creative proposals to help Central American governments and societies to recover dialogue and make progress in establishing social and political agreements to overcome the crisis and lay the foundations for the development of fairer and more democratic societies, and for the international community to define new cooperation strategies for the region.
To achieve this, it is necessary to deepen the knowledge of the Central American reality, in the light of the great economic, social, political and cultural transformations that have occurred in each of the countries, in the region and in the world in the last fifty years, updating the narrative of social development carried out in the last decades of the last century. Only in this way will it be possible to elaborate appropriate new conceptual and methodological approaches, capable of accounting for the new Central American reality in its different dimensions.
Academic Coordinators of the network:
Alex Segovia and Pedro Caldentey