FABIANA FLORES SANCHEZ
Fabianna is a third-year International Relations and International Law MA (Hons) student at the University of Edinburgh.
She is originally from Venezuela, but was born in Canada and grew up in the Netherlands. The merging of cultures has instilled within her a deep curiosity about the wider world and believes there is much to learn from one another's experiences. Striving to bring people together, she served as the 2019 Latin American Society Events Director, currently serves as the Events Coordinator for the student-led academic journal Leviathan and has simultaneously taken on an organizing role in the planning of the 2021 Latin American Forum.
Passionate about feminism, she strongly believes that this year’s theme is as important as ever and shall serve in promoting meaningful discussions on contemporary gender issues. Therefore, she encourages everyone to join the forum to hear the inspiring experiences of individuals working to promote activism against gender inequality in Latin America.
FERNANDA DE SZYSZLO
Fernanda is Peruvian and she is a second-year Social Anthropology student at the University of Edinburgh.
She was initially drawn to Social Anthropology because of its commitment to convert intellectual work into action. She was amazed by how anthropologists used their research tools to give a voice to people who had been systematically neglected and oppressed by society.
Studying Social Anthropology has also shown her that to develop effective strategies for change, it is essential to begin by truly understanding people’s lived experiences. Fernanda believes this is why the Latin American Forum is so important; by bringing a number of diverse voices to discuss a common topic, the Forum will foster understanding and awareness of the complex issues faced by contemporary Latin Americans. She hopes this will encourage everyone involved to act conscientiously to promote positive change in the region.
Iñaki is a second-year student at the University of Edinburgh studying Ancient and Medieval History. He is half Argentinian, half French and has lived in London for most of his life. Having had experienced multiple languages and cultures from a young age, he strives to promote cultural understanding.
Although never having lived in Latin America, he has always had a strong connection thanks to his father. He spent two years at an international college (UWC) in Canada, where Iñaki reconnected to his Argentinian roots due to a strong Latin American community and now hopes to promote this beautiful region.
Having joined the committee last year, he wanted to keep it running for its 10th edition. Iñaki hopes that the forum will be a place to strike discussion and help with the understanding of Latin America. He believes that this underrepresented and often overlooked region can be seen it different a light, and be used as an example to tackle the problem of gender inequality, which appears everywhere in the world, and is especially prevalent in the engrained machismo of Latino culture.
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MARCO ANTONIO GARCIA MENDEZ
Marco Garcia is currently a 3rd Year International Relations student at the University of Edinburgh. He currently serves as the Outreach Director at ELAF and is the Secretary of the University of Edinburgh Latin American Society.
Marco is originally from Mexico and was born in La Paz, Bolivia. Having wide experience in European refugee centres, student organisations, organisation management, and editorial roles of publication, he has a keen interest in building up leadership and team-building skills by taking advantage of acquired inter-cultural experience having lived in Latin America, Africa, and Europe.
During his time in Edinburgh, Marco believes that Latin America offers an incredible amount of rich and diverse experiences that, for the most part, remain unexplored - he believes it’s time to bring Latin America to the centre stage of the conversation. He hopes that ELAF can further highlight Latin America’s contributions to the world and - despite its challenges - explore its dynamic future.
During his time at the University of Edinburgh, Marco has co-founded Edinburgh Model World Trade Organisation, the 1st in the UK is currently the Senior Strategy Manager of One Edinburgh, a student-led initiative designed to help facilitate better integration of student communities with the City of Edinburgh, and was elected as the School of Social and Political Science Undergraduate Representative for the term 2018-2019. He is also a founding member of SiNE, the UK’s first student-run organisation in Swarm Intelligence, and is a regular contributor to “El Cortao’, a King's College London affiliated publication on Latin American issues. Marco is also launching his podcast “Let’s Taco’ Bout It”, aimed to highlight Latin America’s relevance in our world, explore its current challenges, and push for a conversation around Latin America on topics that matter.
MARIA GARCIA VALDIVIA
Maria Gracia is currently a second-year English Literature student at the University of Edinburgh.
Maria Gracia was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Growing up in a third world country has always made her understand the immediate need there is to shed light and awareness in Latin American issues and trends.
Working as a Marketing Director at Edinburgh Latin American Forum, Maria Gracia aims to promote and include as much of a diverse audience as possible. Her goal is to make Latin American issues a topic that everyone is aware of and knows about - not to make it appear as something so foreign, and increase the will of everyone to take action.
Maria Gracia Valdivia
Marina Sanchez Garcia is a second year Social Policy and Economics student at the University of Edinburgh. She hopes to use her degree to enact real change in the field of economic policy and translate positive change into broader social context.
Marina has participated in numerous cultural inclusion initiatives, starting from her time at UWC Adriatic, an international school in Italy. She is passionate about advocating for social inclusion and gender equality, and believes that the Latin American Forum promotes a shared vision in fighting for gender equity at all levels; as debates on feminism are heavily based in Eurocentric and American-centric perspectives, she believes feminism is best analysed alongside a geopolitical lens and adapted to the relevant cultural and social conditions.
Additionally, Marina volunteers her time as the President of Economics 4 Change, a student-led organization designed to critically educate and participate in shaping economics fit for the 21st century.
Sophie is currently in her 2nd year of studying Biomedical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Being born and raised in Berlin, a very multicultural city, she has always treasured to be surrounded by and getting to know different cultures. She is currently the Cultural Secretary of the UoE Spanish Society.
After graduating from High School, Sophie took two gap years to travel and get to know different parts of the world. During the first year she went on exchange to Mérida, Mexico where she lived with a host family and attended a local school. Quickly she fell in love with the beauty of the country and the heart-warming and positive mentality of the people. Sophie deeply cares for all the wonderful people she met in Mexico and considers this year one of the most valuable experiences of her life so far. For this reason, she is excited to form part of this years’ ELAF committee. She is convinced that it can bring together like-minded people and open a dialogue about important topics that need to be discussed for Latin America's promising future.