Migration Dynamics: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Northern Triangle
Virtual Briefing Series
Thursday, January 18th, 2024 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET
Over the past few decades, migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle has more than tripled. Millions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are in the process of uprooting their lives to take on the dangerous journey to the U.S. in the hope of a better life. Despite President Biden’s early commitment, submitting a $4 billion plan on his first day in office to tackle the root causes of migration, the approval of this plan still hangs in the balance two years later. What factors drive this growing migration? What are the global ramifications of the crisis, and what solutions might address its deep-seated origins? How have both Washington and local governments navigated the complex landscape to alleviate the crisis?
Join us on Thursday, January 18th, from 12 PM to 1 PM ET, as we unravel the intricacies of the migration crisis, explore the nuanced origins, and delve into the intricate governmental dynamics that contribute to this enduring challenge. Our distinguished speakers for this discussion include Diego de Sola, President and CEO of De Sola Group and Co-founder of Glasswing International; Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight program at WOLA; and Dr. Elizabeth Oglesby, Associate Professor in the School of Geography and Development, and Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. This is the first event in a two-part series looking at the dynamics of migration from Latin America to the United States. The second, which will take place on February 1, will look at the migration crisis from the perspective of New York City.
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Diego de Sola
Diego de Sola serves as president and CEO of the De Sola Group, a Central American family enterprise founded in 1896, with operating investments in Real Estate (proyectosdevida.com), Coffee (unexsv.com), Remote Business Solutions (uassistme.com) and Hospitality. He also serves as board treasurer of Grupo El Angel (grupoelangel.com.sv), a sugar, energy and real estate business based in El Salvador. Diego is co-founder and serves on the board of Glasswing International (glasswing.org), a non-profit social venture promoting volunteerism in education, health and social integration. He received his BS from Cornell University and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business. He is a fellow and moderator for the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and was selected as a 2012 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Diego lives in El Salvador with his wife Alexandra and their three sons, Diego Xavier, Herbert and Alejandro.
Adam Isacson has worked on defense, security, and peacebuilding in Latin America since 1994. He now directs WOLA’s Defense Oversight program, which monitors U.S. cooperation with Latin America’s security forces, as well as other security trends.
As part of the program, Isacson tracks U.S. military and police training, arms transfers, and security engagement and their implications for human rights and civil-military relations throughout the Americas. This involves frequent liasoning with the defense community, congressional oversight staff, and partners in the region, and maintaining a vast database of up-to-date information on military assistance and other security issues.
Since 2011, Isacson has also focused on border security. He has visited the U.S.-Mexico border about 20 times, and has also completed field research along nearly the entire border between Mexico and Guatemala. Together with WOLA’s Border Security and Migration program, Isacson has published dozens of reports, memos, and multimedia projects about U.S. agencies’ security buildup at the border and its human impact. Isacson continues to accompany WOLA’s Colombia program on peace and security issues. This country has been a central focus for Isacson’s Defense Oversight work, as Colombia has been the primary recipient of U.S. security assistance in the Western Hemisphere since the early 1990s. Monitoring U.S. aid, and advocating for peaceful resolution to Colombia’s long armed conflict, has led him to visit Colombia more than 70 times. He has done work in 23 of the country’s 32 departments.
Before coming to WOLA in 2010, Isacson worked on Latin America demilitarization at the Center for International Policy (CIP). There, he joined with Latin America Working Group and WOLA in creating a longstanding project that thoroughly monitors U.S. military assistance to the region. With contributions from WOLA, that project continues at CIP, covering the whole world, as the Security Assistance Monitor.
A prolific writer and coder, Isacson has produced over 250 publications, articles, book chapters, and policy memos over the course of his career. He has created several websites, from blogs to stand-alone web apps. He hosts WOLA’s podcast, Latin America Today. He speaks to about 20 audiences per year, from universities to grassroots gatherings to government agencies. He has testified eight times before the U.S. Congress. At the start of his career, in the mid-1990s, Isacson worked on the Central America Demilitarization Program at the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in Costa Rica. Isacson holds an M.A. in International Relations from Yale University and a B.A. from Hampshire College.
Dr. Elizabeth Oglesby
Elizabeth Oglesby, Ph.D. is a critical human geographer with a broad inter-disciplinary appreciation. Her academic work has focused on state violence, forced displacement, political economy, human rights, and memory, particularly in Central America. She is co-editor of The Guatemala Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2011) and Guatemala: The Question of Genocide (Routledge, 2018), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Recently, she has been writing on Central American migration and U.S. border policy in venues such as The Nation, The Hill, The Conversation, Salon, Truthout and others directed at a U.S. public audience.
Dr. Oglesby believes strongly in collaborative scholarship. Her professional experience in Latin American issues includes working as editor of Central America Report in Guatemala City, as Associate Editor of NACLA Report on the Americas, and as a researcher with the Guatemalan Truth Commission following Guatemala’s peace accords (1997-1999). In 2013 and 2918, she testified as an expert witness in the genocide trials against retired general José Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala City.
She teaches classes in Latin American and global human rights, international development, borders, refugees, and migration, and research methods, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and social theory at the graduate level. She advises students researching a range of issues across the hemisphere and beyond. She also coordinates the University of Arizona Guatemala study abroad program in collaboration with colleagues from the Association for the Advancement of the Social Sciences in Guatemala City.
Dr. Oglesby is the recipient of the Gilbert White Public Service Honors from the American Association of Geographers, as well as an Outstanding Mentor Award from the University of Arizona’s Honors College, and an Outstanding Upper Division Teaching Award from the UArizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
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