Speakers at the UiB Latin America and Caribbean Conference 2023

We present an overview of the keynotes, panellists and moderators at the UiB Latin America and Caribbean Conference 2023. The speakers are in alphabetical order. The list will be updated!

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Karina Batthyány is the Executive Director of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO). Doctor in Sociology, she is a Professor of the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Universidad de la República (Uruguay) and an advisor to several international organizations including ECLAC, UN Women and the ILO. Member of the Governing Board of the ISC (International Science Council). She is a member of the National Research System of Uruguay. She is the author of numerous publications on the topics of social welfare, gender, public policies, unpaid work and care.


    Benedicte Bull (PhD) is professor of political science at the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, and president of the board of the Nordic Institute for Latin America Studies (NILAS). She was director of the Norwegian Latin America Research Network (NorLARNet) (2008-2020), and Oslo Academy of Global Governance (2015-2020). Bull has researched international development, development institutions and Latin American political economy and environment. Her most recent books are: Handbook of International Development and the Environment (2023, Edward Elgar, with Mariel Aguilar-Støen), and Latin America Today: new interests and old ties to the USA, China, Russia, the Middle East, and Europe (2021, Cappelen Damm, in Norwegian).


    Ulises Canchola, current Ambassador of Mexico to Norway, holds a law degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. His previous foreign postings include the Permanent Missions of Mexico to the UN in New York, Vienna, and Geneva as well as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Mexico’s Chancellery, he acted as Director-General for the UN System, head of International Bilateral Relations and Economic Cooperation, and Mexican Representative for the Coalition for Innovation in Epidemic Preparedness. Ambassador Canchola has engaged in negotiations regarding ocean affairs, climate change, terrorism, migration, transnational organized crime, and human rights.


    Benedicte Carlsen is the Vice-rector for Research and International relations at the University of Bergen and she is also professor of public health. Carlsen was formerly Head of Department of Health Promotion and Development. Carlsen holds a master's degree in social anthropology based on field studies in Chile and a PhD in health service research, both from UiB. She has led several interdisciplinary research projects, in fields such as organization in the health services, research communication during pandemics and implementation of research knowledge in practice. Carlsen is particularly involved in the social role of research.


    Ambassador Enio Cordeiro assumed the position of Ambassador of Brazil to Norway in June 2021 after serving as Consul General in New York (2018-2021) and Brazilian Ambassador to Mexico (2015-2018). Before that he was Undersecretary General for Economic and Financial Affairs at the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations and Brazil’s G20 Sherpa (2013-2015). He served as Ambassador to Argentina (2010-13) and Undersecretary General for Latin America (2010-2013). He was National Coordinator for Mercosur, Unasul and Celac (2007-2010); Director General for South America (2004-2010); and Member of the Governing Council of Itaipu Binacional (2006-2010).


    Jacquelin Elizabeth Cobos Mora is a young researcher with a background in petroleum engineering, currently working at the University of Bergen. She studied Petroleum Engineering at the well-known engineering university Escuela Superior Politénica del Litoral in Ecuador. After finishing her bachelor’s studies, she continued with a masters and Ph.D. at Aalborg University in Esbjerg, Denmark. Then, she did a postdoctoral fellowship on geothermal energy at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). She has worked primarily on the understanding of complex interactions between rock-fluid and fluid-fluid using calorimetry for different purposes within earth sciences, such as enhanced oil recovery, geothermal energy production and CO2 storage.


    Emilce Cuda is Doctor in Theology from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Argentina. Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America at the Holy See. Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Science and of the Pontifical Academy of Life. Specialist in Social Moral. Research at ICMC (International Catholic Migration Commission). Visiting professor at Northwestern University ((2011), Boston College (2016), De Paul University (2018). Focusing on union workers, migrant workers, political movements and organizing community. Currently is coordinating a programme for the Holy See: Building Bridges between Latin America and others continents with university's students and presdents, in dialogue with Pope Francis.


    Walter Flores is a social scientist and human rights advocate with over 25 years of professional experience. Dr. Flores’ professional work has been carried out in more than 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. His areas of expertise are health systems and policy, right to health and indigenous populations, democratic governance, social accountability, legal empowerment and community participation. Currently, Dr. Flores is research professor at the Accountability Research Center, American University, Washington DC and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems; a Guatemalan civil society organization.


    Director at the EQUIDE, the Research Institute for Equitable Development at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He has a PhD in Social Welfare by Boston College and was trained as a Sociologist and Psychologist. He is a member of Mexico’s National Registry of Researchers, First level. Co-coordinates the research network on water insecurity in Latin-America. Collaborates as an evaluation consultant with the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative from the World Bank. Managing editor of the International Journal for Equity in Health. Interested in health systems, social determinants of health, food and water insecurity, aging, mental health, and implementation science.


    Fernando Galvan is the current Secretary General of IAUP: International Association of University Presidents (2021-2024). He is Professor of English Literature and Rector Emeritus at the University of Alcala, Spain, where he was Rector/President (2010-2018). He has a distinguished career as a scholar in English fiction, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, literary translation, as well as comparative literary and cultural studies. In 1996-2002 he chaired the Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies (AEDEAN), and during 2007-2013 he was President of the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE). He also chaired the Academic Permanent Forum Latin America, the Caribbean and European Union (FAP ALC-UE for its acronym in Spanish), 2014-2018.


    Ambassador to Norway and Iceland. Doctor from Complutense University of Madrid in Political Philosophy. Degree in Economics and Business Administration from ICADE and in Political Science and Sociology. He has a Diploma in Advanced Defense Studies and a Leadership Program for Public Management. Other duties: Deputy Director of the Diplomatic School, General Direction for Iberoamerica and positions in Embassies of Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Head of the Spanish Delegation in the Europen Union and Deputy Head of the Cabinet of the Director General of Foreign Policy. Member Spanish Parliament and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs. Author of books Letters from Sarajevo, Reflections from outside the walls and Edmund Burke.


    Eira Martinsen Garrido is the deputy mayor of the city of Bergen since December 2022. In 2019 she was elected a member of the Bergen city council, representing the socialist party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti). Garrido is an alumna of the University of Bergen (UiB), where she has a bachelor's degree from the Department of Comparative Politics and a joint bachelor's from UiB's Department of Information Science and Media Studies and Universidad de Autonomos Barcelona. During her time in university, she was active in student politics and was the student representative in the programme committee for the SDG Conference Bergen 2020.


    Born in Caracas. An administrative career official at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, since 2003, holding a wide range of executive-level positions, being the most recent Ambassador to Norway, since November 2022, and Deputy Foreign Minister for Cooperation, from 2015 to 2022. He has extensive experience in international commissions, presidential summits and as negotiator of international legal instruments. He has been chair of the Venezuelan export bank and the ALBA alliance regional development bank. He has participated in several international political negotiations, playing a key role as co-drafter of the “Agreement for National Reconciliation and the Consolidation of the Democratic System in the Republic of Honduras”, signed in 2011.


    Margareth Hagen is a Norwegian literary scholar and philologist. She is the current rector of the University of Bergen, elected for the period 2021- 2025. Before her term as rector, she served as prorector with responsibility for research, the ph.d education and research ethics at the same institution in the period 2017 - 2021. As rector and prorector she has been a clear voice for the research intensive and comprehensive universities, academic freedom, and the working conditions of scholars. She has furthermore worked to vitalize the university democracy.


    Thomas Hansteen is Special adviser on international relations, and works primarily with Countries outside EU-EEA. Former Director for global development and international relations in the Research Council of Norway (2021-22), and Science counsellor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beijing (2013-16). Council member of IIASA (International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis) since 2022. Hansteen has worked in various positions at the Research Council on science policy, environmental and polar research policy and international research cooperation. Hansteen has a background from Ministry of Agriculture as research policy adviser, and at the Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo, doing research and teaching.


    Ignacio Herrera Anchustegui is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Bergen. He leads the Research Group for Natural Resource Law, Environmental Law and Development Law. Ignacio's area of expertise deals with energy markets, with a special emphasis on the regulation of offshore energy, offshore wind and new energy technologies. His PhD “Buyer Power in EU Competition Law” won the 2017 Concurrences PhD Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of competition law or economics, and he has also received the Meltzerprisen for yngre forskere 2017 for his academic research and significant contributions at the University of Bergen.


    Bert Hoffmann is a Latin America expert at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg. Holding a doctorate in political science, he has done extensive research on Latin American and Caribbean politics and the region's international relations. He also is head of the GIGA's Berlin Office and professor of political science at Freie Universität Berlin. As a principal investigator of the German-Latin American Centre of Infection & Epidemiology Research & Training (GLACIER) he is currently leading a comparative study of COVID-19 vaccination policies and politics in Central America and Cuba.


    Millaray Huichalaf (31) is a Machi, the spiritual guide and healer of her Mapuche Indigenous commune in the south of Chile. She leads the resistance against Statkraft, a Norwegian state company building hydroelectric plants that could destroy the delicate ecosystem of Pilmaiken, a river that is sacred to her culture. In the context of a long history of predatory colonization and a global climate, economic and health crisis, Machi Millaray's story embodies the moral courage of Indigenous women in defense of natural and spiritual ecosystems. She is described as the Protectress of the Sacred River (La Defensora del Río Sagrado).


    Ragnhild Imerslund has been Norway´s Ambassador to Mexico and Central America since 2021. She has worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2009, was previously the Director of Communication in MFA, Deputy Head of Mission in London and headed successfully Norway's campaign to join the UN Security Council in 2021-2022.Before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs she worked in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for eight years and she also has experience from ICRC and journalism. Ragnhild Imerslund helds a MSc in International Relations from London School of Economics, and has a BA from University of Oslo in Spanish and Journalism.


    Vibeke Irgan is a senior advisor at UiB Division of Research and innovation and is leading the UiB support team for external funding. The support team specializes in national large-scale proposals such as rcentre and infrastructure projects, and Horizon Europe proposals. In addition to proposal support, the team also offers support in other project phases, such as contract and project management phase. Vibeke Irgan holds a PhD in molecular biology, but has since 2006 been working with research training, internationalization and research support at various faculties and divisions across UiB.


    Trine is an experienced lawyer, graduated from UIB in 2012. She has experience working with energy- and environmetal related law, working at the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) from 2013-2016. She has been working as a legal advisor at Innovation Norway’s export center since 2016, giving advise to Norwegian companies on EU inner market law. In January she started in a new position as a regional EU-advisor for Innovation Norway Vestland. Trine supports Norwegian companies by offering advisory services when applying for funding from Horizon Europe, mainly the EIC Accelerator program. If you have any questions related to EU-funding, please get in touch: trine.smukkestad.lavik@innovasjonnorge.no


    Laila Linde Lossius, works at the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-Dir), where she manages funding programmes for Higher Educational collaboration between Norwegian institutions and similar institutions in specific countries outside Europe, as Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, South-Africa, South-Korea, and USA. Lossius has a master’s degree in biology and has worked with fisheries research, engineering education, management of subsea projects in the oil & gas sector and international education collaboration for several years. In this session she will talk about the opportunities for educational collaboration between universities in Norway and Brazil, through the UTFORSK programme, and the possibilities for collaboration with other Latin-American countries through the Erasmus+ programme.


    PhD. in Economics, Professor University of Buenos Aires, Independent Researcher of the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET), Senior Researcher at CEDES, and Director of the MBA-Health, University of San Andrés. Maceira has collaborated with a wide array of institutions, such as IDRC, UNICEF, WHO, PAHO, ECLAC, UNDP, USAid, the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), Gates Foundation, The World Bank, the Global Development Network, the Global Fund; the Inter-American Development Bank; GAVI Alliance, among others. He has numerous national and international peer review publications and coordinated many research projects and technical assistance initiatives particularly in the Latin America. He is Board Member and Chair for The Americas of Health Systems Global.


    Deron Maitland is a graduate student in Department of Physics, at The University of the West Indies (Mona), Jamaica. My current PhD project is focused on sea level variability in the Caribbean. This entails looking at the rate of sea level rise in the Caribbean, and the impact it may have on people and the coast in the future. My work aims to provide regional and local sea level rise assessments, which I believe are crucial pieces of information that are required to develop climate models and renewable energy systems that will aid in climate change adaptation and mitigation planning in the Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean.


    Leiv Marsteintredet holds a PhD in comparative politics and is professor and Head of Department of the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen. He works on political institutions, constitutional history, and democracy in Latin America. His most recent publication is Latin America in Times of Turbulence. Presidentialism under Stress (Routledge, 2023), which is co-edited with Mariana Llanos. Marsteintredet has written extensively on issues like presidential breakdowns and coups, presidential succesion, presidents and vice-presidents, and presidential term limits or reelection rules in Latin America. He is also an expert on Dominican politics and follows Dominican politics closely.



    Yuvelis Morales Blanco is a 22-year-old young Colombian socio-environmental leader. Born in Puerto Wilches (Santander), where Ecopetrol and ExxonMobil intend to drill fracking wells, she has fought for the protection of the Magdalena River and the ecosystems that make up the wetlands complex of the Magdalena Medio Region, has collaborated in actions to make visible the problems that extractivism causes in areas of environmental importance, and to promote positive relationships between communities and the territories they inhabit. She is a member of the Alianza Colombia Libre de Fracking and winner of the French award for human rights and environmental defenders “Initiative Marianne”.


    Håvard Mokleiv Nygård is a Deputy Director-General and Director of the Department of Knowledge of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Dr. Nygård came to Norad from the position of Research Director at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, (PRIO). From 2014 to 2021 he was a Senior Researcher, and later Research Director, at PRIO. Dr. Nygård’s research focused on the causes and consequences of violence, social order, and development. His research on the development consequences of armed conflict and political violence, on dynamics of regime stability and patterns of democratic development, on peacebuilding and prevention and on forecasting and predicting has been published in leading international journals.


    Currently Senior Advisor in the Section for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Former ambassador of Norway to Colombia (2018-22) and to Cuba (2011-16), as well as ambassador for Multilateral Migration Affairs (2016-18). Deputy Director General (2007-10) for the Section for International Cultural Cooperation. Counselor, (2003-07) at the Norwegian Embassy, London. Assistant Director General, Section for Human Rights and Democracy (2001-03). He has also been posted at the Norwegian embassy in Mexico and at the Norwegian Consulate General in New York. He has an MA from American University, Washington DC and a Cand. Mag. from NTNU, Trondheim.


    Lise Øvreås is a professor in geomicrobiology at University of Bergen and associated professor at University Center at Svalbard. Her research if focusing on microbial diversity, ecology and climate change. She is particularly interested in how microbial diversity is shaped and is studying diversity and life in extreme environments. She is currently the President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and has been the director for Ocean Sustainability Bergen. She is a member of the National committee for UN Ocean decade and has been actively working with Scientific advice and UN sustainability goals


    Full Professor of the Institute of Public Health at the Javeriana University. Dentist, Specialist in Health Management with an emphasis in Social Security, Specialist in Social Policy, Master in Political Studies from the Javeriana University and Doctor in Political Studies from the Externado de Colombia University. Director of the research group "Health Policy and Economics". Member of the Research Network on Burden of Disease of the Health Observatory of the Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean. Founding member of the Colombian Association of Health Economics. Member of the European Evaluation Society. Visiting Professor of several universities in Colombia and Latin America.


    Tomás Reyes Ortega is an EU official who started his career in the Office of the Personal Representative of the High Representative, Javier Solana, for the non-proliferation of WMD. He later co-chaired the Working Party for the Western Balkans (COWEB) and served as Political Assistant to the Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia. He was Head of the Political Section in the EU Delegations in Moscow and in Baghdad. Back in headquarters he joined the Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Division. In September 2021, he was appointed Chair of the Working Party for Latin America and the Caribbean and of the Working Party for Transatlantic Relations.


    Daniela C. Rodríguez is a health systems researcher working in low- and middle-income countries focused on the intersection between politics and public health, focused on evidence-informed decision-making, health policy development, and donor transition and sustainability. She has a particular interest in issues of political will and commitment to provide and sustain services to vulnerable populations. Dr. Rodriguez has extensive experience conducting research and evaluations in multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural teams in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, including the Dominican Republic and Mexico. She plays leadership, management and coordination roles across projects. She also served as the Chair of the Translating Evidence into Action Thematic Working Group of Health Systems Global.


    Ane Rosnes works at the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec), where she manages funding to international partnerships between organisations, businesses and institutions who wish to share knowledge and expertise through exchange of personnel. Rosnes holds a master’s degree in Spanish and Latin American studies from the University of Bergen, and has several years of experience working with development cooperation and international relations from Mexico and Central America. During this session, Rosnes will talk about support opportunities for staff exchanges between Norwegian, Brazilian, Colombian, Guatemalan and Nicaraguan universities, as well as South-South personnel exchanges between universities throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia.


    Ana Lorena Ruano is a sociologist by training and holds a PhD in Public Health from Umeå University, in Sweden. Currently, she is a researcher at the Centre for International Health (CIH) at the University of Bergen, where she leads the project Strengthening Agency & Learning across Health Systems in the Americas (SALHSA). Her work focuses on equity in health and health system governance, including participation, social accountability, and legal empowerment. The target populations for her work include groups that have been traditionally excluded from decision making processes or policy processes in health, like indigenous peoples. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal for Equity in Health (IJEQH).


    Odd Magne Ruud (56) is Norway’s ambassador to Brazil since august 2021, including Surinam and Guyana. He was senior advisor for government relations and public affairs in Equinor (2016 to 2019), and director general for international affairs in the Norwegian Prime Minister’s office (2012-2016). Ruud has served as chief of staff for the Minister for International Development and been posted to the Norwegian Embassies in Beijing and Washington. In 2007-08 Ruud was chief of cabinet to the High Commissioner for National Minorities, OSCE. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a BA-degree in political science from the University of Oslo.


    My research focuses on environmental and energy humanities, political ecology, and cultural studies in Latin America and the Caribbean. I am interested in the media and political ecology of nature extraction and energy consumption across the region. My research interests range from late-19th, 20th, and 21st century Latin American and Caribbean cultural production and politics engaging with exctractivism to studies on critical theory and material culture with a world-ecological perspective. I am a member of the Petrocultures Research Group and collaborate with CLACSO's working group on Political Ecology. More about my research, teaching, and other projects here: www.gianfrancoselgas.com.


    I am a historian working on Latin America. I am more recently the author of "Breve historia del antipopulismo los intentos por domesticar a la argentina plebeya, de 1810 a Macri" (SigloXXI, 2021) and "Ambassadors of the Working Class. Argentina's International Labor Activists and Cold War Democracy in the Americas" (Duke, 2017). Currently, my research focuses on social and environmental issues: from the uses of animal metaphors in politics to an etymology of “resource”. Particularly, I work on the history of salmon farming in Chile, as a field of experimentation for transnational capital flows, labor regulations, environmental changes and a reconceptualization of the relation between human and non-human nature.


    Terje Tvedt is professor emeritus at the Department of Geography, University of Bergen, and a former professor in Global History at the University of Oslo and a former professor in Political Science at the University of Oslo. He has been a Guest Professor at Cambridge University. Tvedt is the author of a numerous books and articles, has written and co-directed a number of TV-documentaries and been the leader of national and international research networks and research projects. His main research fields include world history, with a special focus on water-society systems and linkages, development theories and the international aid system. He has written extensively on Norwegian history, especially Norway’s relations to the non-European world.


    Counsellor Julio Antonio Ubillús Ramírez, has been a member of the Diplomatic Service of the Republic Peru since 2011. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has worked as a Desk Officer for Chile and Bolivia, and more recently as an Advisor for Digital Foreign Policy at the General Directorate for Foreign Policy Studies and Strategies. Abroad, Counsellor Ubillús has served at the Embassies of Peru to the Czech Republic (2014-2019) and to the Kingdom of Norway (since 2022). Since Fabruary 2023, he has been serving at the Embassy of Peru to the Kingdom of Norway in the position of Chargé d'affaires a.i.


    Pablo Vommaro is the Research Director of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences. He holds a post-doctorate in Social Sciences, Childhood and Youth, a PhD in Social Sciences and is a Professor of History. He is a researcher at Argentina's National Scientific and Technical Research Council and a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, as well as the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He works on the problems of social organisations in Latin America, the forms of political, social and cultural participation of young people, social inequalities and public policies, and recent Argentine and Latin American history.