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Current Team Members

Doug Ahlers

Doug Ahlers was Associate Professor of Public Policy and he founded the Broadmoor Project at Harvard Kennedy School, a collaborative redevelopment effort between the Katrina-devastated Broadmoor New Orleans neighbourhood and the Kennedy School. He has also done consulting in the city of San Francisco on preparing to recover faster after a disaster strike. Ahlers has been Fellow at the Preventative Defense Project at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, and Fellow at the Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard. Mr. Ahlers is the co-founder of Modem Media (now Publicis Modem) and is on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Board and the board of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He attended Simon's Rock College and received his BA from URI and MJ from Louisiana State University.

Pilar del Canto

Pilar is the Dichato Program Manager in the area of Mental Health and works in the office for Women at the Municipal Program of Gender Violence. She also volunteers at the solidarity-dining hall in Dichato. Previously worked as a consultant in logistics and psychosocial coach in business entrepreneurship and implementation of Chile's reconstruction program, led by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. Pilar also has seven years of experience at multinational companies as HR Regional Coordinator of 15 Latin American countries, experience that enabled her to know the reality of various countries in the region. Pilar is an Organizational and Transpersonal Psychologist and she has a degree in Counseling Clinic from Universidad Sek and Universdidad de Chile and a Master in Management Competence from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and she also is a Floral Therapist and Family and Organizational Consteladora.

Pablo Allard

Pablo Allard is Dean at the Faculty of Architecture and Arts at Universidad Del Desarrollo in Concepción and Santiago, Chile and Principal at Allard & Partners architecture, landscape and urban design, Founding Partner at Nueva Via, focused on the development of transportation infrastructure projects, and Board Member at Patagonia Sur, dedicated to conservation and sustainable development in Chilean Patagonia. In partnership with Pritzker awardee Alejandro Aravena, in 1999 Allard co-founded the "Do-Tank" ELEMENTAL focused on applied innovation for social housing and urban design. After the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Chile in 2010, he left ELEMENTAL to serve as National Urban Reconstruction Coordinator at the Chilean Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, leading the recovery master plans of more than 150 Chilean cities and towns.

Iván Cartes

Architect from the Universidad del Bío-Bío with a Master's degree in Urban Design from the University of York in the UK; a PhD. in Urban Design from the University of Nottingham in the UK, and a Post-doctorate in managing urban risks. He is full professor and academic in the Planning and Urban Design Department at Universidad del Bío-Bío and researcher at Fondecyt, Conicyt, British Council and Universidad del Bío-Bío. During the tsunami and earthquake on 2010, he was the area coordinator of the program Plan de Reconstrucción del Borde Costero del Biobío (PRBC 18) in the north and at the epicenter. Also, he is Director of the Diploma in Sustainable Urban Design of the Planning and Urban Design Department at Universidad del Bío Bío and President of the Unión de Facultades de Arquitectura de Latinoamérica (UDEFAL). His main areas of research are sustainable urbanism, reconstruction and post-disaster recovery. Currently, he is cooperating with the Government and Ecuadorian universities to align de reconstruction plan after the earthquake of 2016.

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Diane Davis

Davis is the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Before to moving to the GSD in 2011, Davis served as the head of the International Development Group in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, where she also had a term as Associate Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. A prior recipient of research fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Heinz Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the United States Institute for Peace, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Davis recently authored a study of Urban Resilience in Situations of Chronic Violence, prepared for USAID, which examines the coping and adapting strategies adopted by citizens and authorities to push back against violence in seven cities around the world. Founder and curator of the Mexican Cities Initiative at Harvard’s GSD, Davis is Chair of the David Rockefeller Center’s Faculty Committee on Mexico, member of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA) Executive Committee, and  a contributing editor for the US Library of Congress, Handbook of Latin American Studies (Sociology: Mexico). 

Judith Palfrey, MD.

Judith S. Palfrey, MD., is the T. Berry Brazelton Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Palfrey also serves as Director of the Center for Global Pediatrics in the Department of Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. She has served at Boston Children's Hospital for over 30 years and has held key positions, including Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics. Dr. Palfrey is the former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and served as chair of the AAP Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She was also the Director of Building Bright Futures and the National Program Director of the Dyson Community Pediatrics Initiative. Dr. Palfrey is the recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Milton Senn Award and the New York Academy of Medicine's Millie and Richard Brock Award. She holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Sean Palfrey, MD.

Sean Palfrey, MD., is a practicing and teaching general academic pediatrician at the Boston Medical Center and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and of Public Health at Boston University. Wellness through access to health cares for all, early prevention of illness and attention to social determinants of health, have been Dr. Palfrey’s central activities. He founded and has directed the Immunization Initiative of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MCAAP) and has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for decades. He has run lead poisoning prevention programs for the State and the City of Boston, and has been an outspoken advocate for better research on and regulation of potential toxic materials in the environment. He is one of the local and national spokespersons for Reach Out and Read. From 2002 until 2004, Dr. Palfrey was president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and has worked with the Massachusetts, and national, legislatures to build better public health programs for children.

Elizabeth Peacock-Chambers, MD.

Dr. Lili Peacock-Chambers is a board certified pediatrician at a community health center in Western Massachusetts. She received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a medical degree from University of Washington. Dr. Peacock-Chambers completed her pediatric residency training through Harvard University at the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Boston University Medical Center; and her Master’s degree in Epidemiology from Boston University. Over the past 15 years, her work on public health initiatives in Latin America and Africa lead to a focus on development of education and health programs that promote early childhood development in young children. 

Ana Maria Quiros

Ana Maria is an urbanist, designer, and entrepreneur based in Quito, Ecuador. She holds a masters degree in Risk and Resilient Design from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and a B.S. in Environmental Design and Analysis from Cornell. Her research focuses around the use and collection of geospatial data for urban development and mobility studies. Ana Maria is founder and CEO of Urbamapp, a community-centered mapping application that aims to connect citizens with locally owned businesses.

Marcela Rentería

Marcela Rentería is the Executive Director for the Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Regional Office (RO). Along with Steve Reifenberg, Marcela is one of the co-founders of the Regional Office, Harvard’s first-ever, university-wide overseas office, and a model for Harvard international initiatives in other parts of Latin America and in Asia. She is also one of the co-founders and leaders of Harvard's Recupera Chile initiative and currently, Marcela also serves in the Board of America Solidaria in Chile. Since the office's founding, she worked as Program Officer managing the financial administration, strategic development and faculty-led projects of the Regional Office. Previously, she worked on the Center's staff in Cambridge as Conference and Public Events Coordinator, in outreach and publications areas. A native of Colombia and with a background in advertising, Marcela worked in Bogota for five years as a creative copywriter in international advertising agencies such as Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi. Marcela holds a Master's degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and a B.S. in Mass Communications, with an emphasis in Organizational Communication, from the Pontificia Universidad Javierana in Bogotá.

Annie Savaria-Watson

Annie Savaria-Watson is the Communications Manager and Project Consultant for Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Regional Office in Chile. She holds a Sc.B. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Brown University, and is currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate pre-medical degree at Portland State University. A 2019 Edward Giuliano Global Fellow in Bolivia, Peru, and Canada, 2021 US Fulbright Research Award to Chile, and dedicated interdisciplinary researcher, she is interested in engaging with the intersection of human health and climate change, particularly in vulnerable and alpine communities. Savaria-Watson is also engaged in a variety of health and equity projects, including bilingual grant-writing and project development for the LatinoBuilt Foundation, fundraising for the Bridges Collaborative Care Clinic, medical scribing at the Oregon Health and Science, and as a Member of the Student Health Advisory Board for PSU Health Services.

Former Team Members

Jessica Cabrera

Jessica Cabrera has a technical degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance. She is an entrepreneur in Coliumo, a cove located in the Biobío Region where she has a “marine farm” called Granja Marina Coliumo. In this farm she cultivates oysters and scallops and she hopes to become the first regional delivery. It is the first company of an entrepreneur from the fishing artisanal sector who would take products from the sea with a delivery format, that is to say from the crop directly to the table in less than 4 hours. Also, Jessica has made various contributions in working tables with different authorities at a regional level in the fishing and aquaculture area. She has served as Regional Coordinator in post tsunami projects from the Promotion of Artisan Fishing Fund in different coves of the Biobío Region. Likewise, she has been part of the work team of the Universidad de Concepción in different research projects in the aquaculture area at a regional level. She is member of the Recupera Chile team where she is the Technical Advisor of the Sea Farmers project.

Catalina Campos

Catalina is the Web Content Coordinator of the DRCLAS Regional Office and Recupera Chile websites. She assists in managing and maintaining them including uploading news, events, blog posts, links, banners/slideshows, newsletters, staff updates, projects, and updating information for faculty projects and student programs (SIP/HSI/Rural Program/J-term). Also, Catalina supports in the translation of proposals and description of projects; in connection to the DRCLAS Regional Office. Prior to joining DRCLAS Regional Office, Catalina served as a Bilingual Executive Assistant at the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC), where she assisted the Secretary of the Commission and later served as Content Manager at the Publications and Web Services Division. Catalina graduated from CFT Manpower as a Bilingual Executive Assistant and earlier as a Graphic Designer from Universidad Diego Portales

Javier Fuentes

Javier is a Chilean Electrical Engineer, currently in his third year of the dual degree (MBA/MPA) between MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School. His background is on finance and environmental issues. During his last professional experience, he was Chief Financial Officer of the conservation fund Patagonia Sur. There, he developed an innovative business model that combined permanent environmental protection of large ecologically sensitive areas, local development programs and profitable businesses. In parallel, he participated in the creation of two NGOs to support and enhance the mission of the firm: Centro MERI (world-class marine research center) and Tierra Austral (the first Land Trust in South America).

Yuly Fuentes-Medel

Yuly Fuentes-Medel is a catalyzer of creative ideas. She believes that the understanding of the science to society connection is critical to open opportunities for people and organizations. Yuly’s graduated with a PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA, and is perusing her postdoctoral training at the MIT Sloan School, where she studies the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation selection process of innovation. Yuly is energetically involved in fostering scientific interest and careers diversity in the sciences as a current intern for Propel Careers. She is an active member of Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (WEST) and received a volunteer giving back award at the 2011 WEST Giving Back award event. 

Tomás Folch

Tomas Folch is a current faculty member of the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago, Chile with a master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. Through his five years of professional experience, he has addressed solutions for urban renovation, heritage, urban infrastructure, social housing and landscape architecture. His actual studies and research are focused on landscapes of extraction, going beyond the reclamation as a final stage to incorporate ecological process and environmental externalities as values for the equation of production. His work has been recognized and presented in the Chilean Biennale of Architecture 2008, the Shanghai Exposition 2010, the Venice Biennale 2010 among others. He consults Recupera Chile on all aspects of the Sea Farmers project and provides a great deal of insight on the design of the project from architectural, operational and logistical angles.

Víctor Guaquín

Víctor is a Marine Biologist of the Universidad de Concepción, expert in the aquaculture farming of molluscs and currently he works as a researcher at Universidad de Concepción. He is also project manager of entrepreneurship and innovation projects, which led him to found Granja Marina Bahía Coliumo Ltda. This farm is devoted to the sustainable cultivation of gourmet fresh molluscs such as the Japanese oyster, Chilean oyster and Choro Araucano. Also, this marine farm is in collaboration with universities and research centers, developing technologies and aquaculture researches and its applications. He is also member of the Recupera Chile team where he is technical advisor of the Sea Farmers project.

Alex Mansfield

Alex Mansfield has a master in Marine Ecology from the University of Massachusetts and specializes in environmental restoration projects.  Alex is the Ecology Program Director for Jones River Watershed Association in Kingston, where he has been conducting dam removals, fish habitat improvements, and other river restoration efforts.  Alex is also a Principal Research Scientist for Battelle Memorial Institute. His primary role with Battelle is conducting environmental field sampling surveys from the tropics to the arctic. From 2005 to 2012 Alex owned and operated an oyster aquaculture farm in Duxbury, MA.

Miho Mazereeuw

Miho Mazereeuw is a landscape architect and architect who teaches MIT and has formerly taught at Harvard University and the University of Toronto. As an Arthur W. Wheelwright Fellow, she is completing her forthcoming book entitled Preemptive Design: Disaster and Urban Development along the Pacific Ring of Fire and is currently working on the coast of Miyagi Prefecture in Japan.  Mazereeuw was formerly an Associate at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam and has also worked in the offices of Shigeru Ban and Dan Kiley. Mazereeuw completed a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in Sculpture and Environmental Science at Wesleyan University and her Master in Architecture and in Landscape Architecture with Distinction at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she was awarded the Janet Darling Webel Prize and the Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship.

Marco Pérez-Moreno

Marco Pérez-Moreno joined the DRCLAS Regional Office as and Student Programs Coordinator in September 2013. He graduated from Harvard College in December 2012 with a degree in Sociology and Language Citations in French and Italian. As an undergraduate, he conducted research in Puebla, Mexico and New York City for his senior thesis Fostering Educational Aspirations—Vehicles for Mexican Migrants to Attain Socioeconomic Mobility, for which he won the Joan Morthland Hutchins Thesis Prize for best undergraduate thesis concerning Latinos in the United States. Before joining DRCLAS, he worked as Communications Coordinator for Harvard Public Affairs and Communications.

Matt Stolhandske

Matt Stolhandske is a senior research and teaching fellow at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and is the Project Manager for Recupera Chile. He is a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School where he received a Master in Public Administration and is currently on sabbatical from his doctoral studies at Oxford University. Prior to Harvard, he co-founded a small and medium enterprise development organization in Kenya called Sinapis, which trains, consults and invests in SMEs. He has also completed a Graduate Certificate of Christian Education Redeemer Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas and studies the role of faith and Christian institutions in development. Matt started his professional career working for the strategic management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company in Dallas, Texas after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Professional Accounting in Taxation. 

Ned Strong

Ned Strong joined the Center in 2010 as the Program Director for the DRCLAS Regional Office in Chile. In June 2014 he was named Executive Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, based in Cambridge. Since 1997, he served as Executive Director of LASPAU: Academic and Professional Programs for the Americas, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Harvard University. Prior to joining LASPAU, he was Budget Director for the Latin American region of the Peace Corps in Washington, DC, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. He was national fellow of the Explorers Club and currently he serves on advisory boards for educational and social services organizations, including Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Superior Council of Education of Chile, and the Alliance for Education and Cultural Affairs. Ned is an economist from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and has a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Mónica Troncoso

Ophthalmic Medical Technologist of the Universidad de Concepción and graduate in Health Sciences of the Universidad San Sebastián on the premises of Concepción, since the beginning Mónica has worked close to the patients and later in education with undergraduate students and she has proven her great vocation and dedication to the Health Area, particularly as “Health Educator”. Her challenge has been to deliver everything concerning her competence to contribute everything she has learned in her labor trajectory. With a professional development in public hospitals and private clinics in Chile and Argentina since 1980 to date, Mónica currently is Outreach Director of the School of Medicine at the Universidad de Concepción.

Mario Valdivia

Dr. Mario Valdivia got his MD from Universidad de Concepción in 1990 and finished his training as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Specialist in Universidad de Chile in 1994. Dr. Valdivia became a PhD in Psychiatry and Community Care in the Universidad de Granada, Spain, in 2016, and his doctoral thesis was about "Associated Variables to Suicide Attempt in Secondary Students in an Urban-rural Town in Chile". He serves as a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at Universidad de Concepción since 1995. There, he is currently Titular Professor and Director of the Specialization Program in Children and Adolescents Psychiatry. Dr. Valdivia also is the head physician in Youth Short Stay Inpatients Unit in charge of the psychiatric hospitalization of children and adolescents in the Psychiatry Department of the Regional Hospital. In 2020, Valdivia was appointed Dean of the University of Concepcion Medical School. 

María Angélica (Keka) Wiedmaier

María Angélica Wiedmaier joined the DRCLAS Regional Office staff in 2006 as Administrative Assistant. She organizes all of the logistics for the office, prepares translations and assists the Program Officer with the finances as well. Prior to joining the DRCLAS Regional Office Maria Angélica was the Administrative Assistant for Mr. Patricio Meller at CIEPLAN, a well respected think tank on social and economic research corporation in Santiago, Chile. She graduated from Instituto Chileno Norteamericano de Cultura in Santiago Chile as a bilingual secretary. Also, lived in the United States for twelve years, where she worked at Peterson International located in Decatur, Arkansas, and acquired great experience. 

Martín Zilic

Medical Surgeon of the Universidad de Concepción, specialist in Surgery and Intensive Care and with a master's degree in Science and Intensive Care and Surgery of Universidad Católica de Lovania, in Belgium. He is Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Universidad de Concepción, Unit Manager of Innovation Projects and International Relations. He promoted the creation of the Biotechnology Centre at Universidad de Concepción and was its first director. Also, he is member of the Chilean Society of Intensive Care of the Society of Surgeons of Chile and of the Concepción-Talcahuano Medical Society. He was in the Organizing International Committee of the Global Biotechnology Forum ONUDI on 2004 and Director of the Comprehensive Program of Regional Development at Universidad de Concepción. Head of the Pavilions and Anaesthesia Unit, Medical Director and Subdirector at the Hospital Regional de Concepción; Mayor of the Biobío Region under the G President Eduardo Frei (1994-2000); Minister of Education under the first Government of President Michelle Bachelet.

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