Centro Latam Digital Convenes Experts to Address Pressing Digital Policy Issues in Perú

More than 70 researchers, civil society leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials gathered at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos to celebrate DIRSI’s 14 years of impact and discuss opportunities for promoting ICT as vehicles for development in its next phase as Centro Latam Digital 

On Friday August 23, 2019, Centro Latam Digital and Institute for Peruvian Studies (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, IEP) held the event “América Latina en la Era Digital” to discuss the impact of ICT on the development of Perú and strategies for applying evidence-based research for digital policy in the region.

The event opened with a panel discussing the impact of DIRSI, the regional ICT research network that precedes Centro Latam Digital, and celebrated 14 years of academic research and policy influence. Fernando Perini, Director of IDRC Latin America, as well as DIRSI’s former steering committee Hernán Galperín (Annenberg USC, Co-Founder Centro Latam Digital, Argentina), Roxana Barrantes (IEP, PUCP, Centro Latam Digital, Perú) and Judith Mariscal (CIDE, Executive Director Centro Latam Digital, México) commented on DIRSI’s history and evolution through its next phase as Centro Latam Digital.

Rosa Virginia Nakagawa Morales, Vice-minister of Communications of Perú; Victor Hugo Morales, Mexico’s Ambassador to Perú; Judith Mariscal, Executive Director of Centro Latam Digital; Roxana Barrantes, Co-Founder of Centro Latam Digital and Researcher at IEP and PUCP.

Rosa Virginia Nakagawa Morales, Vice-minister of Communications of Perú stressed the importance and influence of research institutions to guide governments that struggle with capacity to implement effective digital policies. “If Peru has hope for everything that is ICT, it resides in your hands. Regional projects do give us the opportunity to generate change. The Peruvian government is very happy that this partnership has come fruition.”

“New technologies have arrived and are constantly changing. They also bring new inequalities,” said Roxana Barrantes, Co-Director of Centro Latam Digital, researcher at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos and professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. “Where we have to recognize these inequalities, we also have to respond to these realities. If new technologies are here to stay, they have to be understood within the framework of unequal social relations where technology changes bring us new challenges. We have to understand what is happening with the platforms, what is happening with the data.” 

Barrantes highlighted the importance of having a multi-stakeholder dialogue and concerted leadership across sectors in Perú to ensure the country’s development through sound and effective policymaking that promotes the use of ICTs as vehicles for development. “Centro Latam Digital will constitute this space from IEP, IEP being a place for exchanging knowledge and dialogue so we may continue thinking of Perú as a country where we can exercise full citizenship.”

Leaders from government and civil society discussed specific challenges faced by Perú, from connectivity to cybersecurity to digital literacy. Panelists included: Marushka Chocobar, General Secretary, Office of Digital Government and Heber Cusma, Office of Public Affairs, both within the Office of of the Presidency of the Cabinet, Perú; Daniel Navarrete, Learning Analytics Perú; Katherine Reilly, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University, Canada; and Miguel Morachimo, Executive Director, Hiperderecho. The panelists discussed the importance of the role of leaders in government working towards ICT policies to motivate the public sector to serve citizens and ensure democracy by bridging these gaps. 

Marushka Chocobar, General Secretary, Office of Digital Government, Presidency of the Cabinet, Perú; Heber Cusma, Secretary of Public Administration Office of Public Affairs, Presidency of the Cabinet, Perú; Katherine Reilly, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University, Canada; Miguel Morachimo, Executive Director, Hiperderecho; and Daniel Navarrete, Learning Analytics Perú.

Miguel Morachimo, director of Hiperderecho, stressed the importance of involving civil society and academia in the design of digital policies and to think differently about policymaking. “Why not adopt more flexible regulatory policies? Why not think about trial periods? Why not think of geographical limitations? There are many fruits that could benefit us between academia, civil society organizations and the state, and what Centro Digital Latam does is build that valuable space.” Similarly, Dr. Reilly emphasized the role that citizens can have in auditing private data use by companies when describing a research-action project she is working on with Hiperderecho. Dr. Reilly also highlighted the importance of citizens’ data literacy.

Judith Mariscal, executive director of Centro Latam Digital, stressed that the digital access gaps remain, but these gaps represent an even greater challenge. “Right now we are reaching not only those who are adopting connectivity but those dealing with the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) and issues around the future of work that are already here. There is much talk about the risks of AI and cybersecurity, and there is less talk about the great opportunities that these technologies can offer”, said Judith Mariscal, executive director of Centro Latam Digital (CLD). “At CLD we continue with the idea of strengthening technical capacities on ICT. Our vision is that new technologies can really be an engine for addressing social exclusion and increasing productivity and prosperity in the region.”

Mariscal announced that Centro Latam Digital will continue to build its regional presence and strengthen its relationship with local research institutions in Perú. In 2020, Centro Latam Digital will launch a collaborative initiative between CIDE, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos and Cet.la to create a regional academic journal on cyber policy for Latin America, carving out a unique space for academic reflection that serves as a platform for dissemination of quality ICT research and contributes to strengthening digital policies in the region.

Victor Hugo Morales, Mexico’s Ambassador to Perú commented on this new initiative: “This is a reflection and evidence of this dialogue among Latin Americans. It is really a great pleasure that CIDE and IEP are leading this extraordinary effort, which is also an effort within the framework of the fourth industrial revolution that we are undoubtedly experiencing, and also as Director Ricardo Cuenca commented, it’s our time and we have to build.”

To watch the recording of the event, please click here.

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Centro Latam Digital: center for digital policy in Latin America is a research center that generates knowledge, strengthens technical capacities and promotes dialogue around the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for economic, political and social development in Latin America. For more information please visit centrolatam.digital

The Institute of Peruvian Studies (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos ,IEP) is a social sciences research center characterized by the independent, plural and interdisciplinary study on Perú and Latin America. Since its foundation, the IEP has obtained important achievements in the field of social studies and has contributed significantly to the discussion of topics of fundamental interest for the development of the region.