Back to Main CERLAC Events Page       Previous Events (2001-2002 and before)


2002 - 2003 Academic Year
Making Art, Creating Change! Bi-lingual workshop April 25-27, 2003
CERLAC Retreat 2003 April 10, 2003
Energy, Identity and Citizenship in Chile's Alto Bio Bio RCDG Seminar April 3, 2003
Plan Puebla Panama and Guatemalan Campesino Struggle  Visiting Speaker  April 2, 2003
Pesticides and Women's Heath in Costa Rica RCDG Seminar March 27, 2003
Saving the Central American Sea Turtle Visiting Speaker March 20, 2003
Fair Trade & Market-based Social Justice RCDG Seminar March 20, 2003
Gender, Citizenship and Development in Honduras  Visiting Speaker March 19, 2003
The Politics of Transnational Ties Workshop March 7 & 8, 2003
Dam the Environment: Noranda in Patagonia, Chile Visiting Speaker March 6, 2003
Risk Society and New Rurality RCDG Seminar February 27, 2003
Marta Harnecker: History in the Making Visiting Speaker  February 25, 2003
'Participation' as Political Space RCDG Seminar February 13th, 2003
Reflections on the World Social Forum Visiting Speaker February 11th, 2003
Environmental Sustainability: Indigenous vs Scientific Knowledge RCDG Seminar February 6, 2003
Colombia in Conflict, Venezuela in Crisis Panel Discussion February 6th, 2003
Globalization and Rural & Community Development Workshop January 27-28, 2003
Gangs, Violence, and Social Change in Urban NicaraguaVisiting Speaker January 23, 2003
El desarrollo rural sustentable en el sur de Chile Mesa redonda 22 de Enero, 2003
Participatory Micro-financing & Micro-Scale Political Economy RCDG Seminar January 16, 2003
The PT in Power: Prospects for Change in Brazil Panel discussion January 14, 2003
Plan Puebla-Panama Brown Bag/RCDG Seminar January 9, 2003
Local Development: Eco-Business & Income DiversificationVisiting Speaker  December 2, 2002
Theoretical Implications of Latin American Nationalisms Visiting Speaker  November 28, 2002
RUDE OIL: Ecuadorean Resistance to Canadian Corporate Involvement Visiting Speaker November 26, 2002
Alternative Food System Planning in Mexico Brown Bag/RCDG Seminar November 13, 2002
Grad Seminar on Latin America with Paul Cammack & Fernando Coronil November 8 - 9, 2002
The New Interventionism of the World Bank & the IMF Visiting Speaker November 7, 2002
Black Speech and the Traditions of StorytellingVisiting SpeakerNovember 7, 2002
Narratives of Fear in Medellín, Colombia Visiting Speaker November 6, 2002
State Terror, Torture, and Impunity Panel discussion & theatre performance October 30, 2002
Economic, Social & Cultural Rights in El Salvador Visiting Speaker  October 29, 2002
Challenging "Illegitimate" Sexualities in the Caribbean Panel Discussion  October 29, 2002
Coffee with Justice in Guatemala Visiting Speakers October 22, 2002
Enrique Oltuski: My Life in the Cuban RevolutionVisiting Speaker October17, 2002
Promoting Human Development in Southern ChileVisiting Speaker October16, 2002
How to Present a Conference Paper Brown bag Workshop October15, 2002
Land Reforms and Indigenous Rights in Guatemala Visiting Speaker October10, 2002
The Political Dynamics of Anti-Globalization Visiting Speaker  October 2, 2002
Chile:  Human Rights and the Transition to Democracy Visiting Speaker September 30, 2002
Fair Trade and the Coffee Crisis in Nicaragua Visiting Speaker September 25, 2002
Banyan: Signs of a Caribbean TV AestheticVisiting Speaker September 19, 2002


Community workers, activists, artists, students, teachers or anyone interested in using art for education and organizing social change…


A bi-lingual (Spanish-English) hand-on workshop
on grassroots video, community radio, participatory mural-making and popular theatre
with five community artists from Latin America.

April 25-27, 2003
Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre
and York University

Registration form (in PDF)
(despite the April 14th deadline indicated on the form, late registrations are still being accepted)
Further information:

Special guests include:

Friday, April 25, 3-9 PM
At Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre. Introduction to participants and to popular or grass-roots communications through the work of the five community artists.  Includes dinner.

Saturday, April 26, 10 AM- 6PM
At York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Four simultaneous workshops on grass-roots video, community radio, participatory mural-making and popular theatre.  Includes lunch.

Sunday, April 27, 11 AM- 9 PM
Starting at York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts for sharing and discussion of productions.
Moving to Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre for presentation of works at the Mayworks Festival of Working People and Arts.
Includes dinner.

*Friends and family are welcome from 7 to 9 PM.


Students and unwaged $60,
Individuals $ 120,
Organizational representatives $ 200
* Registration includes meals and supplies.

Organized by: the Catalyst Centre and York university’s faculty of Environmental Studies.
Co-sponsored by: Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre, Centre for Spanish-speaking people, Development and Peace, CERLAC, CHRY York Radio, York University’s Fine Arts and the Graduate Program in Communication and Culture.

Registration form (in PDF) (despite the April 14th deadline indicated on the form, late registrations are still being accepted)
Further information:

You are invited to the

2003 CERLAC Retreat

CERLAC’s inaugural Retreat in 1999 provided the opportunity to initiate an exchange on a number of critical issues for CERLAC. The time has come to reopen the discussion and to think of the ways in which we want to shape the course of CERLAC’s actions in the future.

Thursday, April 10th, 2003
10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Founders Senior Common Room
305 Founders College, York University

We hope that you can participate in this important event.

Please pre-register by April 3rd by contacting CERLAC at or 416-736-5237.

Background documents will be made available to registrants in advance to  provide background and to fuel discussion. Coffee, refreshments and lunch will also be provided to those who pre-register.

CERLAC and the Rural Community Development Group (RCDG) at York University

Political Natures:
Energy, Identity and Citizenship
in Chile's Alto Bio Bio

a Brown Bag Seminar with

Alex Latta
(PhD candidate, Political Science)

In less than a year the waters of the Bio Bio, located in the remote heart of Southern Chile, will begin to rise behind the tremendous concrete walls of the Ralco hydroelectric dam. These waters will inundate a significant portion of the traditional territory of the Pehuenche indigenous people, including several villages. The electricity generated by Ralco will be transmitted north to the Santiago region, where nearly half of Chile's population resides. There it will power a rapidly modernizing urban economy, where a metropolitan upper and middle class populace strives to emulate the North American "way of life."

The presentation will discuss preliminary findings from Alex's first fieldwork trip, focusing on the way that nature is politicized in the controversy over Ralco. In the case of the Bio Bio "nature" is a zone of conflict, the raw material for rival political claims  For this reason, the fate of the river has become emblematic for a more general struggle over social justice, cultural identity and citizenship.

Thursday April 3rd, 2003
2:30 - 4:00 pm
York Lanes 390
York University

Alex Latta is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Political Science at York. He holds a M.A. in Political Science from York and a B.Sc. in Geography and Political Science from the University of Victoria. His areas of interest are political theory,   environmental politics, and urban studies.

Background info:
A Brief History of the Bio-Bio Controversy
International Rivers Network Bio-Bio Campaign
Chile Dam Plan: Death of a Culture? (Miami Herald, Nov. 2002)
The Pehuenches' Last Stand (World Press Review, June 2001)
Indians, Environmentalists Vow Rough Water for Chile Dam (Christian Science Monitor, May 1998)

More information: contact Alejandra Roncallo


Plan Puebla Panama and Guatemalan Campesino Struggle
with visiting speaker
General Co-ordinator of the Committee of Peasant Unity (CUC), Guatemala

12:30 - 2:00 PM
Room 305 York Lanes
York University

Rafael will speak about the current situation of the campesinos in Guatemala and about the CUC’s activities, with emphasis on their struggles against Plan Puebla Panama  (PPP, the vast infrastructure construction project initiated by Mexico) and the FTAA, struggles which have been rewarded recently with killings and death threats directed against their members.

CUC is the organization to which Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu’s father, Vicente Menchu, belonged to when he was killed in the massacre at the Spanish Embassy in January 1980, along with other CUC members.

Rafael is born in the rural area of Escuintla, in the south west of Guatemala. He comes to us not only as the coordinator of CUC, but with his personal experience as a peasant; as a worker on the farms growing sugar cane, coffee, cotton and beef cattle; as well as a former employee of the sugar refineries and other export producing factories. He has participated in a variety of events on the national and international level, representing CUC and CNOC on the themes of Land, Rural Development, the FTAA, PPP, etc. in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Spain and Cuba.

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CUC Website

CERLAC, LACS,  IDS, the Rural Community Development Group (RCDG), the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR) and the School of Women's Studies at York University, together with Horizons of Friendship


Gender, Citizenship, and Development
in Honduras


Maria Elena Mendez
Director of the Center of Studies for Women in Honduras (CEM-H)

Maria Elena Mendez  is the Executive Director of the Center of Studies for Women in Honduras (CEM-H) and a professor at the National Autonomous University of Honduras in the Faculty of Social Work. She has been actively involved in promoting the formulation of public policies and cultural changes in Honduras to eliminate discrimination against women and achieve gender equity. Her work with the CEM-H has centered on providing health services and promoting women’s rights through political, organizational, research and communications actions. She has vast experience in the area of Gender and Development. She will speak about her work experiences with the CEM-H around Gender and Citizen Participation, as well as the present social/political context of Honduras, the reconstruction phase after hurricane Mitch, and the regional impact of the current drought - stressing throughout  the importance of international solidarity and connect issues of relevance to people in the North and South.

Wednesday, March 19th, 2003
2:30 - 4:00 pm
Founders Senior Common Room
(305 Founders College)
York University

CEM-H is a feminist organization, working primarily in the promotion of human rights, especially the rights of young women. As part of this work, the organization engages in public work, education and leadership training, support to the organization of women and women's  networks and research and documentation on gender issues. Since 1994, CEM-H has worked in many programs with young women in education and training on their rights, prevention of violence, integrated health and reproduction, identity and gender relation. Through its participation and the strengthening of social processes, CEM-H promotes the formulation of public policies and cultural changes to eliminate discrimination against women and achieve relationships of gender equity.

Horizons of Friendship, the Canadian NGO sponsor of Maria's visit is a community-based, International development organization, located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, supporting community development work in Central America and Mexico (Mesoamerica). Founded by three friends from Cobourg as a result of a one-year volunteer experience in Honduras, Central America, it was incorporated as a non-profit, charitable organization in 1973. Horizons works with people living in poverty in both rural and urban areas. Self-help community development projects include safe water, health, housing and skills training. As a result of current and past armed conflict in Mesoamerica, Horizons has responded to the plight of thousands of refugees by supporting reconstruction and rehabilitation projects. Horizons has raised millions of dollars for humanitarian assistance to victims of war and political repression.

Background info:
INC (CIDA) - Gender Profile: Honduras (April 2002)
Profile of CEM-H
Honduras Country Profile

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC and the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York

Saving the Central American
Sea Turtle

Enriqueta Ramírez
of "Proyecto Ayutzin para la Conservación de la Tortuga Marina"
CESTA (Friends of the Earth, El Salvador)

Thursday, March 20th, 2003
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Room 354 Lumbers
York University

Enriqueta is coming to York to talk about the future of sea turtles in the waters of Central America and how a small group of people can make a difference. She will present a slide presentation (Gentle Giants: Sea Turtles of the South) and a display of photos and stories about people making a difference around the world.

The efforts of Enriqueta and her colleagues in "Proyecto Ayutzin" to protect declining marine turtle populations have broken new ground in Salvadoran marine turtle conservation. In El Salvador nearly 100% of turtle eggs laid are collected and sold, often illicitly, to bars and restaurants to be consumed with beer as an aphrodisiac. Sea turtles are long-lived but take roughly fifteen years to reach a reproductive age, which means that currently fertile females are aging with few young females to replace them. Thus the effects of today’s egg harvest won’t be known for over a decade, but even the most numerous species have suffered a 90% reduction since the 1970s. Over the past three years, Enriqueta has worked with CESTA Friends of the Earth El Salvador at Toluca, one of El Salvador’s most important marine turtle laying beaches. There, in a nesting enclosure that Enriqueta adapted for her egg-incubation study, she and her colleagues documented that the number of eggs hatched over the past three years has risen from 19% of 2123 eggs produced to over 70% of eggs in the last three seasons.

Enriqueta is in Canada as part of "Be the Change! Youth Voices on Global Issues," an initiative by the Sierra Club of Canada BC Chapter's GAIA Project. "Be the Change!" documents stories of people around the world who are making environmentally, socially and economically sustainable choices in their lives.

Background documents / links:

The CESTA Turtle Project (in Spanish)

"Éxito de eclosión en nidos de Lepidochelys Olivacea en el vivero de playa Toluca, Departamento de la Libertad, El Salvador" por Enriqueta Ramírez (in PDF)

More information: lisa_mit@YorkU.CA, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC and the Rural Community Development Group (RCDG) at York University

The Fair Trade Network
and Market-Based Social Justice:
A Critical Assessment of Existing Perspectives

Thursday, March 20, 2003
2:30 to 4:00 pm
305 York Lanes
York University

Over the past two decades the "fair trade" network has grown significantly and made some notable inroads into markets in Europe and North America. This has been accompanied by a small but growing body of literature on fair trade, composed of works from a range of different sources--academics, activists, NGOs--who generally do not address themselves to each other. This paper will provide a critical review of these works and the various debates and concordances implicit within them, and will locate fair trade within the relevant literature on political economy and development theory and provide an assessment of its theoretical premises.

Gavin Fridell is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at York University in Toronto Canada.  He is a member of the Rural and Community Development Group (RCDG) at the Center for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) at York and a participant of the York University Fair Trade Campaign.

See Gavin's CERLAC Working Paper Fair Trade and the International Moral Economy: Within and Against the Market (January 2003).

More information: contact Alejandra Roncallo

CERLAC and the Rural Community Development Group (RCDG) at York University

Pesticides and Women's Health
in Costa Rica

a Brown Bag Seminar with

Sarah Freedman
(MES candidate, York)

This presentation will describe a project that explores women’s perceptions of pesticides in a small Costa Rican village in which a fern plantation provides the primary source of income.  By mapping women's knowledge, attitudes and perceptions (KAP) of both occupational and non-occupational exposure to pesticides, their understandings of potential health effects and their ideas about prevention, this project found that knowledge risk perception does not necessarily correspond to risk reduction
practices and that the development of gender equitable approaches to risk reduction would be appropriate.

Sarah Freedman is currently a Master's Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.  Her research interests centre around the interactions between gender, health, development and the environment.  In particular, Ms. Freedman is interested in how issues of social justice and gender equity determine not only exposure to pesticides but also how these exposures are researched and addressed from a policy perspective.

Thursday, March 27th, 2003
390 York Lanes
York University

More information: contact Alejandra Roncallo

York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC)

The Politics of Transnational Ties:
Implications for Research, Communities, and Policy

A Workshop to be held at York University
March 7 and 8, 2003
305 York Lanes, York University

International migrants have a history of maintaining social, economic, and political ties to their homelands.   However, scholars, activists and policymakers in North America (and Europe) are focusing more on the ways in which immigrant home-town or homeland associations, pan-ethnic organizations,  migrant worker associations, foreign students groups, political parties and related  collectivities organize  and act across borders.  The number and scope of transnational political activities among Canadian resident communities has proliferated, driven by new global communications technology and an increasingly diverse Canadian population.

This workshop aims to
a) map out and analyze the politics of selected transnational practices among Canadian communities of Asian, Latin American, and Caribbean origin, and
b)  draw out the implications of these practices for future research, advocacy, organizing efforts, and policymaking.

The workshop’s agenda is based on the premise that Latin American, Caribbean, and/or Asian political issues need to be understood in relation to the broader global context.  Transnational labour markets, for example, are increasingly crucial to understanding “sustainable livelihood” strategies.  In a similar vein, seemingly local politics often cannot be understood without taking into account the involvement of non-local communities organized along ethnic, religious, hometown, or political lines.

The workshop is animated by a conviction that a revitalized area studies needs to move outside of its traditional geographic boundaries, and could play a role in increasing the relevance of area studies scholarship to broader NGO/activist and policy networks in Canada.  To this end the workshop will include participants from each of these sectors.

More information: contact Luin Goldring or Sailaja V. Krishnamurti skrishna@YorkU.CA

CERLAC, LACS, & and the Halifax Initiative Coalition present

Dam the Environment:
The case against Noranda's proposed aluminum smelter
in Patagonia, Chile

Peter Hartmann
CODEFF- Aysén in Patagonia, Chile;
Coordinator, Citizens' Committee for the Defense of the Aysen Life Reserve;
and spokesperson for the Aysen Life Reserve Alliance

The Aysén region of Chile is thought to be one of the three least contaminated areas on the planet.  Residents of the region have declared Aysén a "Life Reserve".  Yet Noranda has proposed an aluminum smelter in the region that would produce more than 1.5 million tonnes of solid and gaseous waste per year.  Peter Hartmann will be speak about the environmental, social, and political impacts of the Alumysa smelter and the large movement that has formed in opposition to this project.
The film "Corazon Verde" will be screened as part of this presentation.

Thursday, March 6th, 2003
2:30 - 4:00 pm
305 York Lanes
York University

Peter Hartmann is an architect, photographer, mountaineer and Assistant-Director of the Comite Nacional pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora, CODEFF-Aisen (an organization whose president is Jenia Jofre). He has been passionately involved in the campaign against Alumysa since 1991.  Peter is a co-founder of RENACE (the National Ecological Action Network), and of CODESA (Private Corporation for the Development of Aisen).  He was previously the National Director of CODEFF and the Director of CODEFF-Aisen.  He has been in charge of a number of diverse ecological projects and actively involved in various environmental campaigns in Patagonia. His visit to Canada is being hosted by the Halifax Initiative Coalition.

Websites of interest on the Alumysa campaign:  (The Halifax Initiative recently released this report - there is a case study on
Alumysa which summarizes the issues)

To join the Yahoo Group listserve on the Alumysa campaign:

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC and The Rural and Community Development Group (RCDG)

Risk Society and New Rurality:
Modernization of a Chilean Agro-industrial Company

Sociologist, Universidad Católica de Chile

 Beatriz's research explores the impact of the global agro-food system operation on local rural areas. She will discuss her case-study regarding the social consequences of agro-industrial modernization by a company in the Central Valley of Chile. This company, under pressure from international capital, has developed intense processes of productive rationalization that shift risk from the global agro-food system to the local production space. This transformation has had an enormous impact on local producers and workers, generating social exclusion and class segmentation in the local community.

Thursday, February 27th, 2003
2:30 to 4:00
Room 390 York Lanes
York University

  Everyone is Welcome

More information: contact Alejandra Roncallo

CERLAC, LACS, and the Departments of Political Science and
History at York


Marta Harnecker

speaking on


Marta Harnecker, originally from Chile, has long been active in the forefront of progressive social change in Latin America. Marta studied with Ricoeur and Althusser in Paris from 1963-68. She translated FOR MARX into Spanish. Back in Chile, she was very active in the Popular Unity Government of Allende but fled to Cuba when Pinochet came to power. She has resided in Havana ever since and is now Director of The Latin American Popular Memory Research Center (MEPLA) in Havana. She will speak about her current work on popular history, drawing on her extensive research as well as her direct personal experience in many specific historical processes in the region - from Allende's Chile to present-day Venezuela.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2003
3 - 5 pm

Founders Senior Common Room
(305 Founders College)
York University

Background information on-line:
Rebelión - La página de Marta Harnecker
Judy Rebick Interviews Marta Harnecker
The Military and the Revolution - Harnecker interviews Hugo Chavez (January 09, 2003)

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705


Colombia in Conflict, Venezuela in Crisis
A Panel Discussion on the current situation in these neighbouring countries,
with a focus on Canadian foreign policy toward each.

with panellists

Michael Harvey
First Secretary and Head of the Political Section
Embassy of Canada to the Republic of Colombia
Jeanette Sautner
Second Secretary, General Relations Section
Embassy of Canada to Venezuela
Bill Fairbairn
Researcher/Policy Advocate - Latin America
Maria Victor
Sociologist; Consultant (Victor Research); Centre for Health Studies at York University

Thursday, February 6, 2003
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Founders Sr. Common Room
305 Founders College, York University

About the speakers:

Michael Harvey has been First Secretary and Head of the Political Section of the Canadian Embassy in Bogota (Colombia) since August 2000.  Most of his work is in the fields of human security, human rights and the political implications of the Colombian conflict.  He was part of the Security Council team at Canada’s Mission to the United Nations from 1998 to 2000.  He represented Canada at negotiations on Security Council resolutions for East Timor, Sierra Leone and Iraq Sanctions, among others.  He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1996, working at headquarters on OAS affairs and international fisheries law, especially the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Michael holds degrees in Political Science from the University of Ottawa and in Civil Law from McGill University.

Bill Fairbairn has monitored human rights in Colombia for more than a decade. Bill  was formerly Executive Director and South America Programme Coordinator for the Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights, and now is a Researcher/Policy Advocate on human rights in Latin America with KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

Jeanette Sautner (Hon.BA, Trent University, 1993, LLB, University of Toronto, 1998) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade as a Political/Economic Officer in 2000 after a number of years in the private sector and at the former Revenue Canada. At headquarters, she practiced as a lawyer in the Trade Law Division from 2000 to 2001, working on a WTO appeals case, and a NAFTA Chapter 11 case.  She is currently posted to Caracas, Venezuela as Second Secretary in the General Relations section.

Maria Paez Victor, M.A.(Sociology, University of Canterbury), Ph.D. (Sociology, York) was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Her first degree was from the Andres Bello University in Venezuela. She taught health and envrionmental policies at York and at U of T for about 4  years. Maria is a former policy advisor to the leader of the Liberal Opposition in Ontario and  policy advisor to the Law Society of Upper Canada. Currently, she works as a consultant (Victor Research) on  social, health and environmental issues in Canada and internationally, and is affiliated with the Centre for Health Studies at York University.
See Maria's statement "Why Canada Should Support Chávez" (CERLAC Bulletin 2.1)

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, the Graduate Diploma Programme in LACS, and the RCDG

A Brown Bag Seminar

Environmental Sustainability & Biodiversity Conservation in Southern Chile:

The Role of Scientific versus Indigenous Knowledge

Tracey Lue
(MES Candidate)

The path to environmental sustainability requires a cooperative, interdisciplinary mode of inquiry as no single discipline has provided a comprehensive view of the complex subject. In recent years, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Western science have been comparatively studied as two modes of inquiry that accumulate explanations of the environment.  For her graduate thesis reseach, Tracey Lue set out to examine these two frameoworks within the context of Southern Chile.  Her methodology included conducting interviews with the scientific community at the Catholic University of Temuco (UCT),  and with the Centre for Education and Technology (CET).  She also spent time with, and interviewed rural Mapuche subsistence farmers in the community of Nicolas Ailo II of Southern Chile.

Tracey will report on the findings of her research and will illustrate how scientists' notions and perceptions of biodiversity and environmental conservation differ from those of Mapuche Indigenous peoples.  Tracey will also speak of the role and importance of environmental education in developing nation-wide environmental consciousness in Chile.

Thursday, February 6, 2003
12:30 - 2:00 pm
278A York Lanes
York University

More on Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the Mapuche
More on Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Canada
Biodiversity Conservation Network

More information: contact Alejandra Roncallo

CERLAC and LACS present

Towards Another World
Reflections on the World Social Forum


Carlos Torres
of the Centre for Social Justice
Kathryn Palmateer 
MA, Political Science
"The World Social Forum offers opportunities of unparalleled importance to bring together popular forces from many and varied constituencies from the richer and poor countries alike, to develop constructive alternatives that will defend the overwhelming majority of the world's population from the attack on fundamental human rights, and to move on to break down illegitimate power concentrations and extend the domains of justice and freedom"
- Noam Chomsky
In this period of polarization and turbulence, will we be capable of proposing a new world that is attractive and possible to the point of mobilizing millions; shaking us out of our apathy and changing what threatens and scares us? A New World is possible it is time to build it…in place of the cold dictatorship of the market.

Carlos Torres has participated in the WSF for the last 2 years, in Porto Alegre, where he organized and moderated the "Utopias and Democracy" panel, as well as the "In Belly of the Beast" seminar.  He is a long-time activist for social justice with strong working links to the MST movement and the PT in Brazil, Marta Harnecker's MEPLA in Cuba, and various Canadian NGOs. Carlos has been active in the anti-globalization movement and worked with the organizing committee of the People's Summit in Quebec City. He is also a member of the organizing committee of the Toronto Social Forum (TSF - the local counterpart to the WSF).

Kathryn Palmateer participated as a volunteer in the central office last year at the WSF. She is also involved in the TSF and hopes to be involved in the launching of a Quebec-Canada social forum. She is currently doing her Masters research on the relationship between the state, political parties, and social movements, focusing specifically on the WSF and the Brazilian Workers Party (PT).  She has also worked and studied in Cuba and El Salvador. Most recently, she has been quite involved in building the anti-war movement in Toronto with NEWS on Iraq at York and Lost Carnival's "War: the Musical".

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
2:30 - 4:00 pm
390 York Lanes
York University

Background info:
World Social Forum 2002 - Report by Carlos Torres
Official website of the World Social Forum
IndyMedia documents on WSF

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC and the Rural Community Development Group (RCDG) at York University


‘Participation’ as Political Space:
Intervention and Identity on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua


Christine McKenzie
Masters of Environmental Studies(MES)

Christine McKenzie completed her MES research in Bluefield’s, Nicaragua.  Her final portfolio examines the intersection of Participatory Action Research, PopularEducation and New Social Movements. Christine is now a member of the Catalyst Centre, a popular educator worker co-op in Toronto.

The tensions within development discourses of participation, identity construction and social movements reveal contradictory spaces and expressions of power. Based on her experience with participatory action  research on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, Christine McKenzie will  explore the contradictions of participatory methodologies and  imperialism within the context of historic dynamics in the Pearl Lagoon basin region; engaging the potential of political space for the voices  of the ‘marginalized’ in the decades since the Sandinista revolutionaryprocess.

Thursday, February 13th 2003
2:30 to 4:00
Room 305 York Lanes
York University

More information: contact Alejandra Roncallo

The Rural and Community Development Group, CERLAC, and other co-sponsoring units at York University together with the Center for Sustainable Development at the Catholic University of Temuco in Chile

invite you to

a participatory workshop entitled

From the Bottom Up:
Globalization and the Challenge of
Rural and Community Development

27-28 January, 2003
9:15 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

Founders Senior Common Room
(305 Founders College)
*Note: not 305 York Lanes, as previously announced
York University

The purpose of this two-day workshop is to assess the impact of globalization and neoliberal policies on the challenges of rural and community development in the global South. One specific goal of the workshop will be to critically analyze relevant Canadian policies.

This participatory workshop will focus on issues central to the current work of various York faculty members and graduate students as well as other Greater Toronto-based researchers and policymakers. Thus, it will offer a unique opportunity to engage in a dialogue on the subject of community and rural development, particularly in relation to Africa, East Asia and South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East. To ensure the inclusion of a broad range of perspectives, we are inviting other units at York to co-sponsor this event.

The event will also benefit from the participation of a group of faculty members from the Catholic University of Temuco, Chile, who will be at York as part of a linkage project exchange program, and who will bring their unique experiences from the Ninth Region in Chile. This region, the home of the Mapuche indigenous peoples, specializes in the production of lumber for export and is characterized by high indices of poverty, social exclusion, and environmental degradation.

To preserve the participatory nature of the event, no formal presentations are planned. Rather, working sessions, guided by key questions related to the overall theme, will be organized in the form of a roundtable discussion in which participants contribute according to their interests and expertise. Select faculty and graduate students will serve as resource people, and we will ask in each session from a few participants to briefly introduce and frame the questions for discussion.

The organizers will prepare a report based on the discussions and distribute it widely.

This is a free event, open to the public, to be held in the context of International Development activities at York. However, for planning purposes, we ask that participants register in advance. A working lunch will be provided each day to those who pre-registered. Please inform Alison Beatch <>, graduate assistant at CERLAC, of your plans to participate. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact Alison or Prof. Ricardo Grinspun <>.

Goal and Methodology
Session I: Economic Globalization
Session II: Rural Development: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Ecology
Session III: Identities: Gender, Culture, Ethnicity and Migration
Session IV: Canadian Policy
Co-sponsoring units at York University


Goal and methodology

Goal: The purpose of this workshop is to assess the impact of globalization and neoliberal policies on the challenges of rural and community development (RCD) in the global South. One specific objective will be to analyze relevant Canadian policies.

Methodology: The workshop will consist of four roundtable sessions, each organized around a different set of guiding questions. All four sessions will address a cross-cutting question that will frame the discussion. A set of individuals have committed to serve as resource people for each one of the sessions. Some of them will serve as start-up participants, helping to launch the discussion (denoted by an [S] next to their name in the program below).

Cross-cutting question (for all four sessions): What kinds of alternative practices, responses, and resistances are taking place at the local level? How are they affected by globalization and neoliberal policies? How are they linking up into broader regional, national and cross-border responses? What are the prospects for development “from the bottom up”?


Session I: Economic Globalization
Monday, January 27, 9:15 am – 12:30 pm

Questions for discussion:

What is the status of rural and community development (RCD) in the global South? To make this assessment, at which indicators of development should we be looking? Is RCD in these regions moving forward, standing still, or regressing?

How have structural adjustment, financial deregulation, free trade, and neoliberal policies affected the prospects for RCD? What impact have new structures of global governance (e.g., the WTO) had on the viability of RCD initiatives?

Where do we go from here? Are changes in global structures and policies needed and are they achievable? What is the scope of action for local forces in the absence of real change at the macro level?

Chair: Ricardo Grinspun (Economics)

Resource participants: John Cameron [S] (PhD, Political Science), Eduardo Canel (Social Science), Paul Escobar (School of Agronomy, Catholic University of Temuco), Susan Healy (PhD, Rural Studies, Guelph), Judy Hellman (Social Science), Ananya Mukherjee-Reed [S] (Political Science), Jorge Nef [S] (School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Guelph), Liisa North [S] (Political Science), Viviana Patroni (CERLAC and Social Science), Fahim Quadir (International Development Studies and Social Science), Darryl Reed (Social Science and Business and Society), Susan Spronk (PhD, Political Science).


Session II: Rural Development: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Ecology

Monday, January 27, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Questions for discussion:

What is the role of agriculture in RCD? How do export-orientation, agribusiness, and ‘gene revolution’ policies impact on rural development? How should we evaluate peasant production methods vis-à-vis large-scale agricultural export economies?

How do issues of natural resource use relate to RCD? What impact do export-oriented resource extraction and energy policies have at the local level? Is there a sustainable approach to commercial resource extraction that is compatible with RCD? What kind of policy change is required?

What consideration should be given to the environment within a RCD framework? What impact have globalization policies had on local ecosystems? Is ecologically sustainable development achievable within the existing framework of policies?

Chair: Liisa North (Political Science)

Resource participants: Beatriz Cid (Sociologist, Universidad Católica de Chile); Teresa Durán (Center for Intercultural Studies, Catholic University of Temuco), Bob Fugere [S] (Professor of Management, Coady International
Institute), Ricardo Grinspun (Economics), Judy Hellman [S] (Social Science), Wanda Lado (School of Social Work, Catholic University of Temuco), Louis Lefeber [S] (Economics, emeritus), Luis Peralta [S] (Center for Sustainable Development, Catholic University of Temuco).


Session III: Identities: Gender, Culture, Ethnicity and Migration

Tuesday, January 28, 9:15 am – 12:30 pm

Questions for discussion:

What is the relationship between neoliberal and alternative approaches to RCD and gender relations and ideologies? How are these mediated by class, ethnicity and racialization? What are the types of policies and institutional arrangements that might enhance the bargaining position of specific groups of women and men in various local settings?

How are culture and ethnicity related to RCD?  How do globalization and neoliberal rural development policies affect indigenous cultures, religious practices and institutions, and changing conceptions of cultural identity at the local level?  How can we respond to the challenges of inter-cultural contact at the local level?

How does migration relate to RCD?  How do neoliberal policies impact on migration patterns, communities with high rates of outmigration, and migrant organizations?  How does migration affect changes in (gender, ethnic, class) identities?  What types of RDC policies would be more favourable in contexts of high outmigration?

Chair: Luin Goldring (Sociology)

Resource participants: Teresa Durán [S] (Center for Intercultural Studies, Catholic University of Temuco), Brenda Haiplik (PhD, Comparative, International and Development Education Program, OISE/UT), Judy Hellman (Social Science), Pablo Idahosa (African Studies Program), Wanda Lado [S] (School of Social Work, Catholic University of Temuco), Peter Vandergeest [S] (Sociology).


Session IV: Canadian Policy

Tuesday, January 28, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Framework: This concluding session is intended to apply the previous three sessions to the specific arena of Canadian trade, foreign, and development policy.

Questions for discussion:

How have Canadian trade, investment, and finance policies affected RCD in the global South? What role has Canada played within the IMF, WB, and WTO, and in the pursuit of trade agreements such as the FTAA – and how do these institutions impact on RCD?

What about Canadian foreign policy, and in particular Canada’s relationship with the United States?  Does this have an impact on Canada’s role toward RCD?

How do Canadian international development policies impact on RCD? Are they “coherent” with broader Canadian policies toward the global South?

Chair: Viviana Patroni (CERLAC and Social Science)

Resource participants: Ricardo Grinspun [S] (Economics), Liisa North (Political Science), Suzanne Rumsey [S] (Primate's World Relief and Development Fund), Bruce Smardon (Political Science).



Monday, 27 January, 2003

9:00 – 9:15  Coffee and baked goods
9:15 – 9:30 Welcome and introduction
9:30 – 11:00  Session I
11:00 – 11:15  Break
11:15 – 12:30 Session I (continued)

12:30 – 2:00  Light lunch provided (to those who registered)

2:00 – 3:30  Session II
3:30 – 3:45  Break
3:45 – 5:00  Session II (continued)

Tuesday, 28 January, 2003

9:00 – 9:15  Coffee and baked goods
9:15 – 11:00  Session III
11:00 – 11:15  Break
11:15 – 12:30  Session III (continued)

12:30 – 2:00  Light lunch provided (to those who registered)

2:00 – 3:30  Session IV
3:30 – 3:45  Break
3:45 – 4:45  Session IV (continued)
4:45 – 5:00  Closing


Co-sponsoring units at York University:

Business and Society Program, Graduate Diploma Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, International Development Studies Program, International Secretariat for Human Development and Democratic Governance, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, and York Centre for Asian Research. This workshop was funded by the AUCC/CIDA Tier 2 York-Catholic University of Temuco Linkage Project.  We gratefully acknowledge additional financial support from York International.

Contact Alison Beatch at <>, or phone 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, LACS, The Dept. of Anthropology, and the Dept. of Sociology at York


Gangs, Violence, and Social Change in Urban Nicaragua 1997-2002

with visiting speaker
Dennis Rodgers
Lecturer in Development Studies,  London School of Economics

This presentation will explore the pandilla or youth gang phenomenon in contemporary urban Nicaragua. Based on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out in a low income Managua neighbourhood in 1996-1997 and 2002, it will trace the emergence and evolution of the Nicaraguan gang phenomenon, focusing on the role of gangs as social institutions and their multifarious ramifications for the constitution of social order in a wider context of urban poverty and social breakdown such as characterises contemporary urban Nicaragua. In particular, it will consider the ways in which gangs are linked to broader social change, both intrinsically and extrinsically, and how they should be conceived in terms of institutional change, relating this to current debates about institutions.

Dennis Rodgers is a social anthropologist by training, who has a particular interest in, and expertise on issues related to violence and crime, youth gangs, urban poverty, and international migration in Latin America (Nicaragua, Argentina, and Colombia), and South Asia (India).

Thursday January 23, 2003
2:00 - 3:30 pm

305 York Lanes
York University

Background info & Resources:
More on Dennis Rodgers
"We Live in a State of Siege: Violence, Crime, and Gangs in Post-Conflict Urban Nicaragua" by Dennis Rodgers
"Joining a Gang... The violence of Ethnography in Contemporary Nicaragua" by Dennis Rodgers (in PDF)
More on Central American Youth Gangs

More articles by Dennis Rodgers on this topic:
(1997) "Un antropólogo-pandillero en un barrio de Managua", Envio, Nicaragua, July.
(2002) "Youth Gangs in Colombia and Nicaragua: New Forms of Violence, New Theoretical Directions?", Utsikt mot utveckling/Outlook on development, 17 (forthcoming).

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705


Presentan una mesa redonda sobre:

(en Español)

Miércoles 22 de Enero, 2003
1:30 -4:30 pm
  305 York Lanes
York University

Esta  mesa redonda contara con la participación de ocho académicos de la Universidad Católica de Temuco (UCT), quienes se referirán a diversos aspectos del desarrollo rural sustentable en la IX Región chilena, zona de bajo nivel socioeconómico y donde se concentra la mayor parte de la población indígena, Mapuche, del país. La visita de los docentes forma parte de un "Proyecto Tier 2" de la AUCC-CIDA, que vincula a York University con la UCT. La Universidad Católica cuenta una variedad de programas de pregrado, en áreas tales como antropología, trabajo social, ingeniería forestal, medicina veterinaria, ingeniería en acuicultura, ingeniería medioambiental, agronomía, biología y administración de recursos naturales. Los ponentes serán:

Luis Peralta es director asociado del Centro de Desarrollo Sustentable y coordinador chileno del Proyecto Tier 2. Es agrónomo y se especializa en agroecología y desarrollo rural sustentable.

Teresa Durán es la directora del Centro de Estudios Socioculturales y directora de la Escuela de Antropología. Se especializa en educación intercultural y en relaciones interétnicas.

Wanda Lado es Directora del programa de Trabajo Social. Se especializa en temas de derechos humanos, resolución de conflictos en la familia; juventud y la tercera edad.

Paul Escobar es el secretario de la Escuela de Agronomía y se especializa en nutrición de rumiantes, producción de leche y modelación de problemas de tipo pecuario.

Alex Moscoso es profesor de la escuela de Ingeniería Forestal y tiene experiencia en planeamiento municipal, en la producción de celulosa y en tecnologías sustentables, y coordina un proyecto de agricultura mapuche.

Ángel Patitucci es el secretario académico de la Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria. Se especializa en salud animal y ha efectuado numerosas investigaciones en el área de patología, epidemiología y parasitología animal.

Fernando Peña, director de investigaciones de la universidad, profesor de la Escuela de Ciencias Ambientales, trabaja en el área de geografía física y ciencias del medioambiente. Se especializa en planeamiento territorial, GIS, geomorfología y riesgos naturales.

Italo Salgado se especializa en biología medioambiental y ecología marina. Es experto en las áreas de acuicultura y conservación de recursos naturales. Está investigando en sistemas de manejo integrado de producción.

            Por favor, confirmar su participacion a Alejandra Roncallo

CERLAC and The Rural and Community Development Group (RCDG)

 Participatory Micro-financing & Micro-Scale Political Economy


 PhD Candidate
 Comparative Politics /Women and Politics

 Bernice recently returned from Haulover, a small community on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. Her work there involved the application of participatory methods to explore the micro-scale political economy and its relation to the regional, national and international political economic context. Her research also sought to resolve some of the dilemmas encountered in establishing two participatory micro-credit programs for women in the community. Her presentation will focus on the paradox of participatory methods, will provide a brief overview of the map of the micro-political economy in Haulover, and will explore the process by which the two women's groups came to be while speculating also on their future.

 Thursday, January 16th, 2003
  2:30 to 4:00
 Room 305 York Lanes
York University

Everyone is Welcome

CERLAC and LACS present


Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Workers Party (Partido dos
              Trabalhadores, PT), President-elect of Brazil 

Prospects for Change in Brazil

A Panel Discussion


Leo Panitch
Political Science, York University
Cecilia Rocha
Ryerson University
Daniel Shugurensky
OISE, University of Toronto

Facilitated by Carlos Torres of the Centre for Social Justice

Lula da Silva, a factory worker by trade and leader in the Workers Party of Brazil (PT), won the Oct. 27, 2002 presidential election in Brazil with 61.5 percent of the vote.  After years of neoliberal, anti-labour policies that have created one of the highest rates of economic inequality in the world, in a country where at least 52 million live in official poverty, a great deal of hope among Brazil's workers, peasants, and shantytown dwellers is riding on da Silva's victory.

However, it is an open question as to what extent the controversial alliances that brought the PT to power, together with other internal and external constraints on policy choices, will compromise the traditionally progressive platform of the PT party. Moreover, fifteen days after assuming the position of President, Lula will have to make a decision regarding the FTAA - a decision that will not only affect Brazil, but all of the Americas. As regional commentators remark an apparent revival of leftist politics in the region, it is also worth asking what  the reciprocal impacts might be of the PT's assumption of power vis-à-vis other regional political and economic phenomena, such as the crisis in Argentina, Plan Colombia, or Chávez and the current political turmoil in Venezuela.

Join us for an informed discussion of these and related questions:

Tuesday, January 14th
1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Founders Senior Commons Room
(305 Founders College)
York University

Background reading:
Brazil on threshold of  new era with Lula victory by Walden Bello
Has Lula Sold Out? by Roger Burbach
Brazil Victory and Hope Wins Over Fear in Brazil by Judy Rebick
For Lula and the PT, Winning Brazil's Elections Not the Biggest Challenge After All
Brazil: Lula's Prospects
Brazil’s Lula reassures Wall Street, warns workers of austerity

CERLAC and the Rural Community Development Group(RCDG)
Present two presentations on
Plan Puebla-Panama

Ph. D. Candidate, Political Science Department.

Strategic Development in Southern Mexico: an Historical Perspective

Paula will highlight the historical and geopolitical conditions under which the PPP has been launched, underlining how this
 regionalization project has been designed to create "regional advantages" for the Mexican capital in the context of a more ambitious integration project (i.e. FTAA).

 Ph. D. Candidate, Political Science Department 

The (High)Ways of Capitalism in the Plan Puebla Panama 

 Hepzibah will discuss the varied effects of the construction of highways and railroads in Southern Mexico and Central America. She will further address, from a geographical perspective based on the work of Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey, the significance of  infrastructure construction for the expansion of capitalism. 

While the proponents of Plan Puebla-Panama (PPP) claim that it will render the economies of Southern Mexico and Central America more attractive to national and international investors, its impacts on local communities and environments is likely to be severe. The two presenters will help elucidate this more controversial dimension of the project while analyzing the motives behind its promotion
Thursday, January 9th 2003
 2:30 to 4:30
Room 390 York Lanes
York University

 All Are Welcome!

Bank Information Center Resources on the PPP
FAQs about the PPP
La Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio

CERLAC, LACS, and RCDG Present


Photo: Clive Shirley

Ecuadorian Resistance to Canadian Corporate Involvement

With Visiting Speaker

Nadja Drost
 Toronto Environmental Alliance

In the Ecuadorian Amazon, a Canadian oil company (Calgary-based EnCana Corp.) is involved in building a  pipeline that will cut through some of the world’s most biodiverse areas and indigenous territories.  In violation of international environmental and social standards, the project has given rise to intense opposition.  Local communities, indigenous groups, and international supporters have taken to the streets, government offices, and company headquarters to fight against big business and a corrupt government for the preservation of the Amazon and its cultures.

Nadja Drost is the International Project Coordinator at the Toronto Environmental Alliance.  Her work involves raising public awareness in Canada on the impacts of oil exploitation in Ecuador and promoting corporate responsibility overseas in solidarity with Ecuadorian groups.  Nadja has worked for an indigenous federation in the Ecuadorian Amazon on resistance to oil development.

Cesar Caceres was originally expected to speak at ths event, but was denied a visa by Canadian officials.  He is an Ecuadorian environmental activist who helped produce a video, to be screened at this event, on the impacts of the new pipeline.  Cesar works closely with the youth environmental movement.

Tuesday November 26, 2002
12 - 2 pm
305 York Lanes
York University

All are welcome!

On-line slideshow and list of resources
An Alberta company faces growing opposition to a controversial pipeline project (July 29, 2002, MacLean's)
Ecuador, Oil & Repression: Canadian connection
The Advocacy Project: Defending the Amazon
More on Oil in Ecuador
World Rainforest Movement on Oil Exploration in Ecuador

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, LACS, & The Department of Sociology at York


Unfinished Imagined Communities:
Theoretical Implications of Latin American Nationalisms

With Visiting Speaker
José Itzigsohn
Associate Professor of Sociology, Brown University

This presentation will seek to contribute to our understanding of Latin American nationalisms while examining how the Latin American experience informs theories of nationalism. The presentation will query Benedict Anderson’s position, expressed in his highly acclaimed Imagined Communities, that nationalism emerged in Spanish America, arguing that Anderson’s assertion was prescient - although not in the way he imagined it. The position will be defended that it is precisely the failure of Latin American nation-builders to incorporate popular masses and ethnic and racial groups into the nation that makes the region central to the analysis of nationalism.

Thursday November 28, 2002
12 - 2 pm

Sociology Common Room
(2101 Vari Hall)
York University

José Itzigsohn is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Brown University. His area of research is ethnic and racial relations and he is currently doing research on the development of a Dominican ethnic economy in Providence and on the rise of transnational communities among Latino immigrants in the United States. He is also interested in development issues and teaches a course on social change in Latin America.  His most recent publication is Developing Poverty: the State, Labor Market Deregulation, and the Informal Economy in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Other publications by José Itzigsohn have appered in  Social Forces, Latin American Research Review, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

The RCDG and CERLAC present

Local Development:
Eco-Business as a Strategy to Diversify Income Sources

with visiting speaker

Andrés Yurjevic
Latin American Center for Sustainable Development (CLADES)
Santiago, Chile

In this presentation, Dr. Andrés Yurjevic will share insights gained from his many years of experience in Sustainable Rural  Development as Executive Secretary of the Latin American Consortium of Agroecology and Development: CLADES. For a long period, this organization has promoted research on sustainable agriculture, professional training, and the sharing of successful ecological experiences.

CLADES also promotes eco-business as a strategy by which peasant families can diversify their income. In the communities where these eco-businesses have proven feasible, the rural population has gained greater control over, and improved its management of, existing natural resources; administrative capacity has been strengthened; and economic opportunities have been created, all of which has signified a positive step toward more equitable, efficient, and sustainable form of local development.

Monday, December 2, 2002
2:00 - 3:30 pm
390 York Lanes
York University

Dr. Andrés Yurjevic is a Chilean economist. He holds the UNESCO Professorship in Sustainable Development and directs the Center for Sustainable Development in the Catholic University of Temuco, Chile. Dr. Yurjevic is also the Chilean director of the York-Catholic University of Temuco Linkage Project, a project that seeks to strengthen the Center for Sustainable Development as a teaching and research institution. He is presently a Visiting Fellow of CERLAC.

Everyone is welcome.

For further information, please contact Ricardo Grinspun at or Alejandra Roncallo at

the Graduate Diploma Programme in Latin American & Caribbean Studies

A Brown Bag Seminar

Photo by Danielle Schami
Alternative Food System Planning & Education 
in Mexico
A Community-based Alternative
to the Dominant Global Food System

Danielle Schami
MES (Planning) Candidate

Danielle will screen her documentary video and discuss her thesis research on the Guadalajara (Mexico)-based project: "El Circulo de Produccion y Consumo Responsable" (The Circle of Responsible Production and Consumption).  El Circulo is a network of small-scale farmers, environmental educators and urban consumers in the state of Jalisco working together to build a sustainable alternative to the dominant food system. The network is based on three key concepts and practices: organic agriculture, consumer awareness and fair trade.

Danielle's area of research interest is Alternative Food System Planning and Education more generally, and will present her case study as one example of a community-based alternative to the dominant global food system.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2002
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

390 York Lanes
York University

Background info & Resources:
The Global Food Basket (on the dominant global food system)
The Threat of the Globalization of Agriculture By Vandana Shiva
Community Food Systems: Visions of a Different Food System
FoodShare (Toronto, Ontario)
The BC Food Systems Network

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, LACS, Division of Humanities, Founders College, Dept. of English, and York Federation of Students (YFS)




Andrew "Kei" Miller
(Performance Poet from Jamaica)

Andrew Miller was recently selected as one of the ten most promising emerging Caribbean Writers by the Cropper Foundation.  This year he was the top winner of the National Literary Arts Competition and in 2001 he also was awarded the Redbones Literary Prize.  His work has appeared in Obsidian III, and in The Best of the Observer Arts.  His first collection of poetry, Kingdom of Empty Bellies, will be published in the coming year.

Thursday November 7, 2002
12:30pm – 2:30pm

Winters Dining Hall
(001 Winters College)
York University

A Reception Will Follow This Event.

See also:
Andrew Kei Miller on the Poetry Express
More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

The Dept. of Political Science at York and CERLAC

The New Interventionism:
IMF/World Bank Governance of Global Capitalism in the 21st Century

a presentation by visiting speaker

Paul Cammack
Professor of Government, University of Manchester

Over the last five years the World Bank and the IMF have devised and begun to implement a new joint role for themselves in the management of global capitalism. It promotes 'deep intervention' aimed at altering policies, institutions and patterns of behaviour in low and middle income countries around the world, in contrast to the 'shallow interventions' characteristic of structural adjustment, and it is best understood as a bid for 'relative autonomy' at global level.

Paul Cammack is author of Capitalism and Development in the Third World (Cassell, 1997), and a series of recent critiques of IMF/World Bank activity, including: 'Attacking the Poor', New Left Review 2/13, 2002, and 'Making Poverty Work', in L. Panitch and C. Leys, eds, A World of Contradictions: Socialist Register 2002 (Merlin Press 2001).

Thursday, November 7, 2002
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Verney Room
(Dept. Political Science, 6th floor South Ross Bldg.)
York University

More information: Alejandra Roncallo (; 416-736-2100 ext. 33103.

CERLAC and The Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS)


Narratives of Fear and 
Geographies of Displacement
in Medellín, Colombia


Pilar Riaño-Alcalá
CERLAC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Chaired By
Professor Peter Penz
Faculty of Environmental Studies and Director of the Centre for Refugee Studies.

This seminar will describe the impact of the widespread violence that is being experienced in Medellín, Colombia’s second largest urban centre. The daily presence of violence, along with forced displacement, high unemployment rates and the weakening of local social networks, have redefined fear and its responses for the residents of Medellín. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá  has published numerous articles analysing the current state of violence in Columbian cities and its effects on Colombian civilians.  Many of her works have appeared in the Journal of Latin American Anthropology, a journal she has also guest-edited on numerous occasions.

12:30pm – 2:00pm
Wednesday, November 6th, 2002

305 York Lanes
York University

This event is free and open to the public.
All are welcome!

See also:
More on Violence in Medellín
The War Moves to the City
Article Published by Pilar Riaño-Alcalá on Cultural Identity of Medellín Youth (in Spanish)

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705 or

CRS Co-ordinator, Colleen Burke at 416- 736-2100 Ext. 30391

CERLAC and Theatre@York


The legacy of politcal violence in Chile and elsewhere 

a panel discussion

Dr. Pilar Riaño
CERLAC Post-doctoral Fellow; Researcher on Violence and Memory in Colombia 
Carlos Torres
Activist with the Centre for Social Justice
Dr. Judith Pilowski
Psychologist; Member, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

Moderated by
Dr. Judith Rudakoff
CERLAC Fellow, Dept. of Theatre, York University

How does an individual - and a society - deal with a past of political violence?  Should memories of state terror be forgotten in the interest of "national reconciliation"?  Under what circumstances can (or should) a victim of oppression or torture forgive his or her oppressor? Can personal and national wounds be healed without the realization of justice - in the context of impunity?

This panel was organized by York MFA, Theatre, candidate Antonio Ocampo-Guzman to speak to the provocative themes of the Ariel Dorfman's play, Death and the Maiden.

A performance of the play (a presentation of Theatre@York), directed by Antonio, will follow the panel.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2002
Atkinson Theatre, 102F Atkinson College
York University

10:00 am - Panel discussion

1:00 pm - Presentation of Dorfman's play, Death & the Maiden

". . .I found the characters [in this play] trying to figure out the sort of questions that so many Chileans were asking themselves privately, but that hardly anyone seemed interested  in posing in public. How can those who tortured and those who were tortured coexist in the same land? . . . And how do you reach the truth if lying has become a habit?"
-- Ariel Dorfman.
Dr. Pilar Riaño is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at CERLAC. She received a BA in Anthropology from the National University in Bogotá, Colombia. She holds a MA in Communication (Simon Fraser) and a PhD in Anthopology (UBC). She as edited a book called Women in Grassroots Communication: Furthering Social Change, and is working on a book on memory and violence in Colombia. She has published articles on youth, memory and violence in North American and Latin American journals.

Carlos Torres is a social activist currently working with The Centre for Social Justice. Carlos originally came to Canada as a Chilean political refugee fleeing the Pinochet dictatorship.

Dr. Judith Pilowski is a Chilean clinical psychologist with vast experience in the area of trauma. She has an undergraduate degree from York University and conducted graduate studies at the University of Toronto. She is presently a member of the health network of the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture. She was forced into exile from Chile and came to Canada in 1975.

Free admission to the panel. Limited seating.
For tickets to Death and the Maiden, contact the Box Office at (416) 736-5271, ext. 3

Interview with Dorfman on memory and truth
Interview with Dorfman in The Progressive
Impunity rules in Chile (The Guardian, Dec 2000)
Chile's legacy of torture, murder,  international terrorism and "the disappeared"

CERLAC, Osgoode Hall Law School, Founders College, LACS, and the RCDG

Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
in El Salvador
and the Pursuit of a Real and Participatory Democracy

With visiting speaker

Ricardo Santamaria
(Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación de Derecho)

Ricardo Santamaria is current co-ordinator of the Department of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in the Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación de Derecho (FESPAD), a progressive legal research institute in San Salvador. He has an extensive personal history in research and political work in El Salvador, especially on agrarian issues and  social rights.  He authored many articles and research documents relating to agrarian themes. From 1992 to 1996 he was member of the Sectretary of Agaraian Affairs of the FMLN, in charge of agrarian policy and monitoring the fulfillment of the agrarian measures outlined in the Peace Accords. Until 2000 he was coordinator of research in a major NGO dedicated to rural development.

Immediately prior to his appearance at York he will be giving a presentation on the same topic to the UN in Geneva.  He is an eloquent, critical, and intellectually acute speaker with an intimate, soldily-researched knowledge of the economic situation and its political context in present-day El Salvador.

FESPAD is a non-profit, progressive legal research institute that provides legal council and assitance to small Salvadorian communities on a variety of  issues including human rights and workers' rights violations.  FESPAD also works in educating the public on their constitutional rights, compliance with these rights, and on how proper legal proceedings are to be carried out.

12:00 - 1:30  pm
Tuesday October 29, 2002

305 York Lanes
York University

See also:
Interview with Carlos Urquilla of FESPAD

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705


The Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program (LACS)
in association with CERLAC and the Dept. of Anthropology at York

H. Nigel Thomas
(Professor of Literature, Laval University, Quebec; CERLAC Visiting Fellow)

in a panel discussion with

David Murray(Anthropology, York),
Kamala Kempadoo (Social Science, York), and
Andrea Davis (Humanities, York).

Challenging “Illegitimate” Sexualities in the Caribbean

Tuesday, October 29, 2002
2:30 – 4:30 pm
Harry Crowe Room
(109 Atkinson College)
York University

Dr. H. Nigel Thomas is a professor of Literature at Laval University in Quebec. A novelist, poet, short story writer and literary theorist, he is perhaps best known for his novel, Spirits in the Dark first published in 1993. This groundbreaking novel offered a critical and honest examination of homosexuality and the anxiety of black cultural identity within a particular context of religious repression and homophobia in the Caribbean. Among his other publications are a more recent novel, Behind the Face of Winter (2001), and From Folklore to Fiction: Folk Heroes and Rituals in the Black American Novel (1988).

Everyone is welcome.

More information:, (416)736-2100 x 33320

OPIRG York, CERLAC, LACS, RCDG, the Business & Society Program, and the Fair Trade @ York Campaign


Cooperative Coffee & Land Rights in Guatemala

With visiting speakers

Leocadio Juracan and Julian Marcelo
of the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA), Guatemala

Leocadio Juracan and Julian Marcelo are Cakchiquel Mayas from Solola province (near Lake Atitlan), Guatemala, and are delegates of the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) - an organization that works to defend the rights of workers on large coffee, sugar, and cotton plantations and to recover lands taken from the Mayan communities over the past century.

They will speak of the experience of the El Paraíso Cooperative, whose best organic beans are purchased by the CCDA to be marketed internationally and within Guatemala as “Café Justicia!” – a Fair Trade Plus coffee line. The presentation will also touch upon the larger context of indigenous and land rights in Guatemala.

Café Justicia coffee will be sold at this event.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002
12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

430 Student Centre (GSA Meeting Room)
York University

More information on the speakers:

Leocadio is national president of the CCDA and is also a member of the  executive of CNOC (Coordinadora Nacional Obrero Campesina) - the Guatemalan  umbrella campesino coalition that includes CONIC, CUC, the CCDA and others. Although Leocadio lives in a small Mayan village, he has participated in a  number of international activities and is well-versed in the plight of farmers  around the world.  He a dynamic speaker and has attended both international conferences on the Plan Puebla Panama, so can speak with some authority on the threat that trade initiative poses to the environment and indigenous and campesino rights.

Julian is a young activist from Santa Cruz Quixaya in Solola province. He has worked very closely with the coffee cultivation and processing at the CCDA Cooperative of El Paraiso and can speak with authority about the  cultivation, processing and marketing of fair-trade organic coffee. He can also provide a youth  perspective on the Mayan movement and campesino organizing.

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext 88705.

CERLAC, LACS, RCDG, the Temuco Project, and La Fundación Chol-Chol


Promoting Human Development in Southern Chile

Reviving Indigenous 
Weaving Techniques

with visiting speakers

Marnie Schilken
Executive Director 
Joanna Pérez
National and International Relations
of Fundación Chol-Chol

Through hands-on training programs based in local communities, Fundación Chol-Chol  para el Desarrollo Humano works with indigenous Mapuche people throughout the ninth region of Chile, who are interested in exploring their potential for building self-reliance and self-sufficiency, improving their economic, social and technical plights, and supporting the rebirth of many traditional Mapuche cultural ways.  Every Mapuche individual with whom the Foundation works has come voluntarily to the Foundation to take an active step in creating change for a better future.  Marnie Schilken, the Executive Director of Fundación Chol Chol,  and Joanna Pérez will illustrate how the indigenous Mapuche women of Southern Chile have taken charge of their lives by creating and supporting self-sustainable change through the revival of indigenous weaving techniques.   Other initiatives undertaken by the  Foundation--such as integrated educational programs and systems of micro-credit lending-- will be presented with particular focus on how these have generated autonomy and self-sufficiency in the area.

Mapuche textile crafts will be sold at this event.

1:00 - 2:30  pm
 Wednesday October 16, 2002

Founders Senior Common Room
(305 Founders College)
York University

See also:
Mapuche Documentation Centre
The Mapuche Nation

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

York University Bookstore, The Centre for Research On Latin America And The Caribbean (CERLAC) & John Wiley & Sons, Canada Ltd.
are pleased to present

a talk by

Cuban writer
Enrique Oltuski 

Author of the newly-released

Vida Clandestina: 
My Life in the Cuban Revolution

Thursday, October 17 @ 2 p.m.
Founders Assembly Hall, Founders College
York University

Enrique Oltuski was a leading force in the urban underground during the struggle and ultimate triumph of the Cuban Revolution.  He was appointed Minister of Communications in the first revolutionary government, and later served under Che Guevara as Deputy Minister of Industries and in the Central Planning Committee.  He is currently the Cuban Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Merchant Marine.

Vida Clandestina, a compelling memoir which spans the period from March 1952 to February 1959, recounts the experiences of Enrique Oltuski’s revolutionary life.  A middle-class, U.S.-educated Cuban Jew and Shell Oil executive, Oltuski joined guerillas Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in their struggle against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.  He launched a secret newspaper, raised money for medical supplies and weapons, organized military operations, and was a leader of the “26th of July Movement”.  The book also deals with his personal story as a young university student, graduate, and new husband.

Although he has spoken in the United States several times, most recently at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Mr. Oltuski has been denied a travel visa by the Bush Administration to appear at several scheduled speaking engagements in the U.S. this month.

Everyone is welcome.

More information:, ext. 22078

CERLAC presents a Brown Bag Seminar


In anticipation of the CALACS conference in Montreal at the end of October,
Prof. Judy Hellman will lead

A Workshop on


Graduate students who will be presenting at CALACS or who plan to present conference papers at other meetings in the not-too-distant future are cordially invited to participate in this workshop on

15 October, 2002
4 -5:30 PM
390 York Lanes

While sponsored by the Graduate Diploma Programme in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at York University, the workshop is open to any graduate student from any program at York who may wish to attend.

CERLAC, LACS, and the Rural Community Development Group (RCDG) at York University
with The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)

Land Reforms and Indigenous Rights
in Guatemala

with visiting speaker
Alfredo Ché
(Organizer, CNOC - the National Coordinating Body of Campesino Organizations of Guatemala)

Thursday, October 10th, 2002
3:00 - 4:00 pm

305 York Lanes
York University

Since the 1996 signing of the Peace Accords, land activists - often indigenous peasants occupying lands to protest the extreme poverty and their inability to obtain land titles - have continually been threatened and killed.  Land owners have hired private security guards that act as paramilitary groups whose soul purpose is to intimidate land activists. The violence has only grown worse in recent times.  In the last week of June 2002 alone, 3 land rights activists were killed, bringing the total to 6 in 15 months. Many serious issues revolve around the department of Izabal, where land has been illegally taken from campesinos and sold to multinational corporations for decades.  This continues today and is at the heart of many of the disputes.

CNOC and its member organizations have proven to be one of the few social movement groups able to mobilize thousands of people for a given cause.  Alfredo Ché, a CNOC organizer in the Petén region of Guatemala, will discuss the organization's experiences in the broader context of historic and on-going struggles over land rights in Guatemala, paying special attention to the question of indigenous rights.

Mr. Alfredo Ché is a Maya Q’eqchi’ who is currently the Regional Secretary of the Executive Commission of CNOC
in the Peten Region.  Mr. Ché is the co-founder of the Campesino Movement Association 29 de Diciembre and is
the President of the Improvement Committee of his community, Tamariz las Vegas La Libertad, Petén.

Everyone is welcome.


CNOC (the National Coordinating Body of Campesino Organizations) began working in 1993 in order to support dialog and negotiations in the peace process.  CNOC’s four main areas of work have generally included land issues, labor rights, demilitarization and respect for human rights to specifically support economic, social and political development in Guatemala.

CNOC is also part of the growing movement to stop Plan Puebla Panama, which would have damaging environmental, community, and economic impacts on Guatemala and the rest of Central America.  They have participated in international strategy meetings and initiated outreach to indigenous communities, in order to create a stronger grassroots opposition to the plan.

Guatemala’s colonial history led to the concentration of land ownership became in the hands of the wealthy elite and multinational corporations such as the U.S.-based United Fruit Company.  The modest land reforms of the “ten years of spring” from 1944-54 were reversed after the 1954 CIA-sponsored coup, and inequality of land ownership was one of the reasons for the 36-year civil war during which the wealthy land owners allied themselves with the military forces terrorizing the country.  While the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996 officially brought the war to an end, it did not initiate land reforms significant enough to solve the longstanding problem of unequal ownership.

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, The Division of Social Science, and the International Development Studies Program


The Political Dynamics of Anti-Globalization

a lecture by

Henry Veltmeyer
Professor of Sociology and International Development Studies,
Saint Mary's University

12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2002

Social Science Lounge, S752 Ross
York University

Henry Veltmeyer is Professor of Sociology and International Development Studies, St. Mary's University; Adjunct Professor in Political Science and Development Studies, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico.  He is the winner of Robert Kenny Prize (University of Toronto) for best book contribution to Labour Studies in Canada (2002).  Recent publications include Desarrollo Alternativa en America Latina. (UAZ/UNESCO, 1999); Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (Macmillan UK, 2000); Transcending Neoliberalism; Community-Based Development in Latin America (Kumarian, 2001);  Globalization Unmasked (Fernwood Books/Zed Books, 2001); Cardoso's Brazil: A Land for Sale (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003) and; Development in an Era of Globalization (Ashgate, 2003).

See also: Argentina: Between disintegration and revolution by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer, in Rebelión

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705


Chile: Human Rights
and the Transition to Democracy

with Visiting Speaker

Viviana Díaz
Organization of the Relatives of the Disappeared Political Prisoners, Chile

2:00 – 3:30  p.m.
Monday, September 30, 2002

305 York Lanes
York University

Viviana Díaz Caro is the daughter of Víctor Manuel Díaz Lopez who disappeared on May 12,1976.  At the time of the 1973 Chilean coup against then-president Salvador Allende, he was general  secretary of the Chilean Communist Party as well as a National Leader of the Workers' Central Union of Chile.

For many of the 27 years since her father's disappearence, Viviana has been working with the Organization of the Relatives of the Disappeared Political Prisoners (Agrupacion de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos - AFDD) in Chile, the organization of which she is now President.  As President, she has been very active in promoting her cause internationally, and has become  a widely recognized figure in Chile where she is respected by all sectors of national life. This year she was chosen one of the Women of the Year for her work in Human Rights by the Women's Ministry (Servicio Nacional de la Mujer).

During the years when fear was a part of everyday life in Chile, Viviana and other members of AFDD participated in actions that have stayed in the collective memory of Chileans such as the "long strike" of 1978, denouncing the immorality of the Amnesty Law. In 1979 she was one of the 63 relatives that chained themselves to the National Congress in Santiago.  She experienced many violent manifestations of repression by the national forces of law and order ("Fuerzas del Orden" ) but, despite her youth at the time and the abuses of the dictatorship, never abandoned her commitments.

It is from the perspective of this long-term engagement in issues of human rights and social justice in Chile that Viviana will address the topic of human rights and the state of "democracy" in Chile at the present juncture.

Chile has not Forgotten - interview with Viviana Díaz (in English)
Interview with Viviana Díaz (in Spanish)
Human Rights Watch on Chile
Las Razones de las Victimas - sobre Viviana Díaz y la AFDD
Derechos Chile (English and Spanish versions)

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, The Business and Society Program, International Development Studies Program, and Oxfam Canada

present a talk by

Blanca Rosa Molina

Fair Trade and the Coffee Crisis
in Nicaragua

Homeless Nicaraguan labourers and their families along the highway near El Tuma-La Dalia, who have been evicted from coffee farms.
Photo: Gerry Hadden, NPR

12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 25th, 2002

Social Science Lounge
(752 South Ross Bldg.)
York University

Blanca Rosa Molina, an agronomist and small farmer from Nicaragua, will speak on the coffee industry and the impact of the international coffee crisis in Nicaragua.  Ms. Molina is a founder of the Danilo Gonzalez Cooperative, which produces and markets coffee. The co-op belongs to the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives (FENACOOP), an Oxfam Canada partner, which aims to improve the living conditions of farmers and their families.  Ms. Molina sits on the FENACOOP board and is president of the Northern Nicaragua Coffee Cooperative Association, which specializes in the marketing of coffee.  Ms. Molina is also a founder of the Women's Section of UNAG (Nicaraguan Farmer and Rancher Union) in Matagalpa, and has been extensively involved in grassroots community development initiatives since the 1970s.

Oxfam Canada is hosting Ms. Molina’s visit in conjunction with Oxfam International’s Make Trade Fair campaign.  Her visit complements York’s Fair Trade Initiative, spearheaded by Professor Darryl Reed of the Business and Society Program.

Background on the coffee crisis in Nicaragua:

A Coffee Crisis' Devastating Domino Effect in Nicaragua
Nicaragua: Coffee crisis and drought hit most vulnerable
Nicaragua: Land Of Coffee and Famine
Various articles on the crisis and the relevance of Fair Trade
Oxfam fair trade coffee campaign

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Programme (LACS),
and the Department of Film & Video at York

Metaphor, Context & Immersion
in the work of Banyan
Signs of a Caribbean Television Aesthetic


with visiting speaker
Christopher Laird
(Managing Director of Banyan Television, Trinidad; Filmmaker)

Banyan is the Caribbean's foremost producer of television programmes about the Caribbean and its people. It has produced approximately 500 television productions in the past 26 years.  Many observations have been made about the 'Banyan Style'. What does this mean? Caught in the frenzy of prolific production there has been little opportunity for self-analysis, and professional media criticism is a resource that the Caribbean lacks.  This presentation attempts to identify and illustrate some of the main principles underlying the Banyan Style and in the process raises questions about a developing Caribbean motion picture aesthetic.

Christopher Laird, according to Richard Fung of U of T, is "one of the most important filmmakers working in the Anglophone Caribbean." Fung considers Laird's presence in Toronto a "great opportunity" to hear from a "thoughtful speaker with a keen understanding about media and the stakes involved not only in Trinidad but across the Caribbean region."   Christopher is a published poet, has run a theatre in Port of Spain, published a journal of the Arts for five years in Trinidad & Tobago, and since 1975  has been working in television and has written, directed and or produced over 400 programmes for Banyan.

He is currently Managing Director of Banyan and is working, among other things, on a film about Canadian/Trinidadian author, Harold Sonny Ladoo and two films on Storytelling.

Thursday, September 19th, 2002
1:00 - 2:30 pm
(preceeded by a recommended film screening at 12 pm*)

The Sound Stage
Department of Film and Video
(Room 130, Centre for Film and Video)
York University

* NOTE: at 12 pm, an hour before this presentation, Mr. Laird’s film “And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon” will be screened in the same venue (the Sound Stage).  About this film, see:  While the talk with Christopher Laird can be attended as a separate event, it is recommended that those able to arrive one hour before to see this film do so, as the film provides relevant background to which the speaker will make reference.

More on Christopher's work:

Christopher Laird's  work has been selected for many international festivals, and his awards include: The Commonwealth Film & Television Festival 1980 "Special Award for use of video for community development"; the National Media Awards for Best Series three times for the weekly arts magazine "Gayelle";  Best Documentary on AIDS and Best Documentary for "Crossing Over," which also won Best Video Documentary at the 2nd Caribbean Film Festival in Martinique in 1990.

In 1991 the landmark 13 part series "Caribbean Eye" on culture in the region, produced by Christopher, won best series at the regional Caribbean Broadcasting Union media awards and a special CARICOM prize for Caribbean integration.

In 1992 Christopher directed "And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon," a documentary for the BBC/TVE series  Developing Stories which won Best Environmental Film and Best Video Documentary at the 3rd Caribbean Film Festival in Martinique in 1992 and Best Public Affairs Documentary at the 13th Annual International Film & Video Competition held by the National Black Programmers Consortium in Maryland USA 1993.

In 1996 he won Awards for excellence in the National Media Awards for best Current Affairs Programme ("The Pink Mealy Bug in the Caribbean"), Best Documentary ("Habitat ll - Think Global, Act Local") and for the Best Children’s Programme in the Caribbean by the Caribbean Broadcast Union ("The Music of the Street"). In 1998 he won the Pan American Health Organisation’s award for Best Television Programme on Health Matters in the Caribbean  for his drama on AIDS in the workplace, "After One Time is Two Time."

On Banyan:
(from Popular media and cultural identity in the Eastern Caribbean by Gregory Rabess)

What role have popular media played in the formation and reproduction of cultural identities and in mainstream media programme content? Gayelle was a  multi-cultural television programme produced by Banyan on contract for Trinidad and Tobago State Television (TTT). For the first time it featured African and Indian presenters and themes on the same show. Television programming in Trinidad  and Tobago tended to apply an apartheid approach to programming in which there are separate shows for the separate races, African and Indian, which make up the society. Gayelle was able to bridge the racial divide, though not without  problems and even resistance by elements within the two major ethnic groups.  The programme forced a reconsideration of national cultural identity by these ethnic groups. It also reported on remote towns and villages and dealt with  aspects of popular culture generally ignored by mainstream programming.

 Here is an example where an independent producer was able to fill in a gap in  television programming and impact on cultural identity. Gayelle also used  alternative presentation formats, dialect and other oral presentation devices  rooted in the culture and challenged dominant broadcasting practice in the context of Trinidad and Tobago. It represented an alternative approach to  sourcing material, to obtaining local programme content. Despite being among  the top three most popular TV shows in Trinidad, the programme received  reduced funding every time it came up for renewal until the programme was finally taken off the air.

Banyan also produced a number of television documentaries on Caribbean culture including Caribbean Eye and And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon,  which have been aired on most if not all TV stations in the Anglophone Caribbean  and which have received regional and international acclaim. Again these used  non-traditional presentation formats and other production values which resonate  with Caribbean culture and lifestyle thus pioneering what might be considered a Caribbean popular media aesthetic distinct from American or European approaches or production values.

More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705