Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Citizens' Assembly in the Southern Cone



2009 Harvest of the South American Regional Integration Chair

Translations : Español . français . English

A new cycle of the South American Regional Integration Chair “José Carlos Mariategui” concluded on Saturday, 30 May, 2009 in Lima, Peru, where at least seventy people took part. This is something to congratulate ourselves on after its beginning in June, 2008 ! Let us not be afraid to say it : this initiative, due to its content and its organization framework, is an unprecedented experience in today’s landscape of the learning spaces connected with governance in Latin America.

The chair is organized around a series of in-person courses (12 hours total) with four thematic modules : 1. North America and Europe : hegemony and resistance 2. The first independence: South America as a concept 3. Economic Complementarity from the South : problems and challenges 4. South American Integration : challenges and perspectives. All of the modules were distributed along the four Saturdays in May and given in the classrooms of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Mayor National University of San Marcos, in Lima.

How was this Chair born? First of all, thanks to the meeting between various thinkers and activists from the region, within the framework of the Regional Citizens’ Assembly of the Southern Cone. Several ascertainments are shared :

  • Regional integration is a decisive challenge for Latin American societies ; its process has clearly begun and it has as its basis a capacity which goes beyond current political and institutional forces. It has to be carried out in a more extensive way by all the actors from the community.
  • Reflection work becomes necessary as regards the extended history as well as the concepts, changes in society and proposals to generate a profound and deeply-rooted vision of the regional South American integration.
  • The assortment of knowledge about regional integration is relatively small and tends to be confined to official academic spaces, though there is a strong demand from various social and popular sectors to gain access to this knowledge.

This is how the integration chair was born, as an informal and autonomous learning space built with help from the university and aiming at the creation of a dialog between academic knowledge and social leaders and activists’ knowledge. It encourages students’ participation in the learning process : a preliminary meeting with the students was held at the beginning of May, in order to deal with the learning framework and objectives. This may also be complemented by forums connecting civil society actors which will be open to the general public as well. The launching of the 2009 edition of the Chair created the opportunity to introduce the works Yatiris de la integración (literally, “Integration Magicians”) which compiles reflections produced in 2008 and other materials.

The current team of teachers and organizers is made up of Peruvian and Chilean sociologists (Lucia Alvites Sosa, Ricardo Jimenez, Hector Bejar), economists and political scientists (Raul Wiener, Claudio Zapata, Ricardo Soberón, Claudio Bedoya) and a congresswoman (Elsa Malpartida). Other intellectuals have also collaborated depending on the opportunities and agenda : Jorge Mariano Cáceres-Olazo, Luis Alberto Rivera, Luiz Basseio – Brazilian theologian, Gloria Ajpi – Bolivian sociologist.

In order to build this kind of dynamics, apart from the will shared by a small group of activists and a vision of the regional integration challenge, a collective work capacity needs to be developed in spite of the limited financial means available. With this second experience, the team managed to really learn as regards the following aspects :

  • the animation of a small university and activist network in countries of the Southern Cone about the topic of regional integration
  • the selection and elaboration of teaching and reflection material, reading guides and bibliographic references
  • logistics and teaching
  • document digitalization and use of such communication tools as e-forums and blogs.

The Chair in Lima is, in fact, the «Peruvian chapter» of an initiative that aims at getting to all countries in the Southern Cone. Another instance which is getting ready is the university diploma on regional integration which will be issued by the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Mayor University of San Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Other magicians are joining the initiative little by little. Let’s encourage them and show them our solidarity !







the Southern Cone Assembly ont the web

Visit the webpage of the Assembly : and the different blogs linked to its initiatives : the General Blog of the Argentinan team in Córdoba, the Blog of the revue Pensamiento Propio, the blog de la Regional Integration Chair.

Pictures of the 2009 women's meetings

Have a look at the pictures of the women’s meetings held in September and November 2009


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