Sponsored by: Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law and the Center for Latin American Studies
About the Speakers:
Laura Alonso has an extensive and unique cross-sector career in government, Congress and the NGO sector for almost two decades. She was the head of the Anticorruption Office (AO) in Argentina for four years. Member of Congress for six and Executive Director and program manager of the chapter of Transparency International in Argentina for eight years. Publicly acknowledged as a democracy activist and a fierce advocator for institutional reforms, Laura is a profound analyst of Argentina and Latin American politics and institutions.
After her four-years term leading the anticorruption and integrity policy, Argentina reached its highest assessment and position in the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International in 2020.
She promoted the enactment of the corporate liability legislation, asset recovery regulations and the whistleblower act. She has been a leader of the ethics and compliance revolution in private and State-owned enterprises in Argentina. She promoted the presidential decrees that regulated gift policy, the prevention of conflicts of interest in public procurement and the network of ethics focal points throughout the public sector. Under her leadership the AO has developed new courses and tools to train officials. She also promoted new procedures to control the assets and interests of +55 thousand officials and produced historic decisions about the creation of the first presidential trust and divestment.
The AO opened more than 2,000 investigations and it also participated in historic corruption investigations against former Presidents and more than 300 high-rank officials and businessmen. A former Vicepresident, a super powerful Infrastructure minister and other officials were convicted.
She also co-chaired the Anticorruption Working Group of G20 in 2018 producing and negotiating the documents on transparency and integrity in State Owned Enterprises and on integrity in the public sector that were endorsed by G20 Leaders. She was the chief of delegation at the OECD Bribery Working Group and the Senior Public Integrity Officials Group, the OAS and the G20. She promoted Argentina´s access into the the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative).
As a member of Congress (2009-2015), she promoted the access to public information law, political and campaign funding reform and open government policies. She also drafted legislation about judicial and criminal reforms, electoral issues and gender parity.
Laura is a British Chevening Scholar, an Eisenhower Fellow and a Draper Hills Fellow. She was an US International Visitor in 1995 and 1998. She was selected Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012 and received an award by Vital Voices Global Partnership in 2008 for her public leadership.
Laura has been a speaker at the OECD, IMF, CAF, World Bank, IADB, OAS, the Aspen Ideas Festival, Women in the World, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Harvard, Stanford and Columbia universities, the B20, the NYC Bar Association, among others.
She is a political scientist from the University of Buenos Aires and holds a master degree on public administration and public policy from the London School of Economics.
Iván Velásquez Gómez was born in Medellín, Colombia. He studied law at the University of Antioquia, Medellín, and received his law degree in 1983.
After serving as an independent lawyer, he was appointed Deputy Prosecutor of the Department of Antioquia between 1991 and 1994, during which he conducted administrative investigations against civil servants, including members of law enforcement for activities related to torture, extrajudicial executions and abuses against the civilian population.
On October 1997, he was appointed Regional Director of Public Prosecutions in Medellin (1997 - 1999), which put him, along with a brave team of prosecutors and investigators, in charge of conducting investigations against various types of criminal structures, especially paramilitaries and drug traffickers.
He later became an Auxiliary Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia in May of 2000. As such, he led the Commission of Investigative Support of the Criminal Chamber, from the second half of 2006 to August 2012, where he was in charge of investigating the relations between members of the Colombian Congress and paramilitary groups. As a result of these investigations, about 70 congressmen were convicted of criminal conspiracy.
After resigning on September 30, 2012, he practiced law between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013.
On October 1, 2013, he was appointed Deputy Secretary General of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) by the Secretary General of the United Nations and led the commission until its end on September 3, 2019. At the request of the Secretary General of the United Nations, he assumed his charges from outside of Guatemala beginning on September 3, 2018, since the Guatemalan president had prohibited his entry into the country and tried to expulse him in August 2017, declaring him a persona non grata.
CICIG was an international organization in charge of supporting the Guatemalan Attorney General's Office in the investigations of powerful criminal structures known in that country as illegal groups and clandestine security apparatus (CIACS). As a result of these investigations, under the direction of the commissioner, dozens of the highest state officials (including former presidents, ministers, congressmen and judges of the Supreme Court of Justice) and numerous businessmen were prosecuted for corruption-related crimes and illegal electoral financing. Other people have been prosecuted for extrajudicial executions, violent dispossession of land and money laundering.
He has also received many international accolades:
In 2011, the International Bar Association (IBA) presented him with the World Human Rights Award.
In 2012, the Association of German Judges awarded him for his commitment to the fight against impunity and respect for fundamental rights.
In 2016, the prestigious Americas Quarterly magazine distinguished him as one of the top 5 “corruption-hunters” in Latin America.
In 2018, he was awarded the 2018 WOLA Human Rights Awards and Right Livelihood, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, for "his innovative work in exposing the abuse of power and prosecuting corruption, thus rebuilding people's trust in public institutions" .
In 2019, Berkeley Journal of International Law awarded him the Stefan A. Riesenfeld award "for his courageous commitment and leadership in the fight against corruption".
Francis Fukuyama, Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj, Tinker Visiting Professor