Americas Initiative Continues with AERA-WERA Participation in Chile
Americas Initiative Continues with AERA-WERA Participation in Chile
Andres Bernasconi, Felice J. Levine, and Verónica López

August 2017

The Americas initiative in education research, launched in September 2016, took another step forward with meetings convened in Santiago, Chile, on August 8–11. Initially convened by AERA and the World Education Research Association (WERA) as a meeting of Americas research associations and related organizations, these associations are now working together from Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, and the U.S. as an Americas Education Research Network. The aim is to also expand participation the network.

AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine, who is also the President of WERA, and AERA International Relations Committee Chair Gustavo Fischman participated in these meetings. The program of activity was organized by Daniela Véliz, President of Red de Investigadores en Educación Chilena, the Network of Researchers in Chilean Education (RIECh). Ana Luisa Muñoz and Carmen Gloria Zuñiga, RIECh leaders, also coordinated the meetings.  

The events in Chile were broad in their reach and impact for future work across the Americas. They included a special meeting of the RIECh leadership on August 8 with Levine and Fischman. Discussion focused on the Americas network, the work of RIECh, and issues of significance to the global south and north for education research. RIECh also co-organized an afternoon event for Levine to address and meet with doctoral students in education research followed by a meeting with faculty and graduate students. 

The occasion of these gatherings in Santiago was the 4th Interdisciplinary Congress on Research on Education-CIIE (Congreso Interdisciplinario de Investigación en Educación) held at Pontificia Universidad Católica.  The Congress, organized by the Asociación de Investigadores en Educación de Chile, was also co-sponsored by RIECh among other organizations and universities.  

Levine spoke at the Congress as part of a special inaugural event to celebrate the establishment of two new major centers in education research recently launched with government support. With remarks that opened in Spanish, Levine noted the significance nationally and globally of the Center of Advanced Studies on Educational Justice directed by Dr. Andres Bernasconi and the Center for Research in Inclusive Education directed by Dr. Verónica López.

Fischman’s participation at the Congress included giving a major plenary address—“For what and for whom to investigate?: Challenges, strategies, and alternatives to mobilize research in education.” Bringing expertise in open knowledge, Fischman punctuated his lecture with humor and personal stories. His message of not getting caught up in conventional metrics of productivity and performance at the expense of making knowledge accessible worldwide captured the attention of the audience.

The Americas Education Research Network held a symposium at the Congress on the “Articulation of research in education with public policy experiences of Brazil, Chile and Peru.” Simultaneously translated in English and Spanish to a packed audience, the comparative perspective across the Americas in this symposium led to an important discussion of the impact of research on policy and the impact of policy on research. Chaired by Carmen Gloria Zúñiga (Chile), papers were presented by Juan León (Peru), Geovana Lunardi (Brazil), and Alejandro Carrasco (Chile). Levine and Fischman served as commentators.   

Representatives from the five associations in the Americas Network present in Santiago also meet twice to continue their planning and work. The group discussed how the initiative is growing and benefitting from efforts taking place throughout the Americas. Topics of discussion included stimulating research collaborations across the Americas, professional development opportunities for early career scholars, developing potential vehicles for open knowledge, providing greater access to job and career opportunities, and continuing to build relationships across scholarly communities.

“The quality and vibrancy of these meetings and interest in continuing across the Americas were palpable,” Levine said. “These discussions are leading to stronger ties among our research communities that will enrich us all. I am looking forward to our upcoming meetings in witnessing how our collective efforts will take shape throughout the Americas.”

The next meetings and symposia of the Americas Education Research Network will take place in Brazil and Mexico in October and November, respectively. In addition, the group plans to reconvene as a group and hold Americas-wide symposia at the 2018 AERA Annual Meeting in New York City.

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Left: Juan Pablo Queupil, Beatrice Avalos, Daniela Veliz, Felice J. Levine,
Juan León, Astrid Pickenpack, Gustavo Fischman, Carmen Gloria Zuñiga, and Paulina Perez