Thais Tartalha Lombardi
I’m from Brazil and all my career I have developed as a student and researcher there. Nonetheless I found at LASA a place to broader my knowledge and contact to Latin America, leading me to meet and learn from distinguish researchers, students and traditional population leaderships from all Latin American countries and it changed my own understand and relation to the region I live. I have joined LASA in 2009 and for all those years I’ve seen the growing participation of researchers from all Latin American countries and from other part of the world. I’ve seen the will of students to be at LASA either to start their networks with seniors and juniors fellows or to have the opportunity to engage with different approaches that focus on their areas of study or to broaden their knowledge within their field. Thus, it would be one of my core activities to continue to make LASA this broader open space securing the participation of those already part of the association and reaching out those who aren’t part yet, including helping LASA to become a more diverse association in terms not only of regional participation but also racially, ethnically and gender diverse. In addition I’d like to help on this goal of made it a space not only for academics, but also for social movements and representatives of indigenous and traditional groups that are our colleagues on building knowledge and tools for a better Latin America and to better understand it. Thus, it would include a continuous improvement on the hability of the association to listen to their members of all levels and origins and arrange its guidance, codes and structure to be able to take action whenever this hearing brings a solid need or demand. Likewise, initiatives as the newly harassment committee and the change of the executive council to bring section representatives into it are examples of good practices and goals I’d like to help improve and expand. Nonetheless, the COVID-19 pandemics put a heavier load on all of us as researchers, citizens and as individuals, of course impacting LASA once it is made of those same individuals. It prevented many of conducting researchers, teaching and studying activities or change it in a way never imagine before, together with a financial burden of funding shortages and financial problems within each country. It leads to a growth of inequalities, hunger and prejudice at different levels and aspects in the whole region and sure it had impacts on the capacity to be a LASA member or to participate of it events as much as individuals livelihoods and research goals. However it also changed the way we connect through LASA leading to a virtual and hybrid form of share and dialogue that brought some positive aspects on possibilities to sustain the dialogues or broaden it. Therefore, as a Latin American citizen I would engage on debating and measuring the impact of the pandemics and the positive and negative effects of the changes made by LASA during this period and create proposals of continuing the virtual engagement tools that had positive impacts at the same time that find ways of maintain the in person conferences and events where many networks and acknowledgments where made. In doing so I hope to help LASA to be this open space of dialogue in a time of so much austerity and intolerance.