Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): World Bank meets with UC and UChile to learn about the impact of citizen dialogues

With the participation of more than 100,000 people from all over the country in its various initiatives, the citizen dialogue platform promoted by the Catholic University and the University of Chile shared with representatives of the World Bank its view of the country’s challenges, based on in the work done in 2020.

“This initiative has its origin in the social outbreak of October 2019. A few days later we began a reflection within the university on how we could raise concerns and listen to the national population in their dreams, concerns and uncertainties.” With those words, the rector of the UC, Ignacio Sánchez, began the meeting with representatives of the World Bank and the team of We Have to Talk about Chile to share the experience of this initiative by implementing spaces for complex dialogues with people from all over the country.

The meeting was attended by Carlos Felipe Jaramillo , Vice President for the Latin America and Caribbean region of the World Bank; Marianne Fay, director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru of the World Bank and Virginia Brandon , representative of the institution in Chile. Also, Ignacio Sánchez , rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile ; Alejandra Mizala , pro-rector of the University of Chile ; Ignacio Irarrázaval , director of the UC Public Policy Center ; Simón Boric , head of the Rector’s Office of the University of Chile; Hernán Hochschild and Valentina Rosas , executive director of the project and deputy director, respectively.

The meeting presented the results and learning from the citizen conversations promoted by the platform since 2020, such as ” Chile on a scale “, in which more than 8 thousand people from all the communes and regions of the country participated through various mechanisms and methodologies to talk, by video call and without knowing each other, about what to change, maintain and improve in the country. The methodology applied in the initiative ” Chile to 2030: Scenarios for the Future ” was also discussed, in which 300 people from diverse political, socioeconomic and territorial realities met to imagine the possible scenarios in the next decade.

After listening to the findings and the impact of these conversations in the country, Carlos Felipe Jaramillo stressed that “for us it is very valuable to have the opportunity to know, through this project, what are the concerns and dreams of Chileans for their future. . In this way, we will be able to better nurture the work carried out by the World Bank to support Chile in achieving a more inclusive and sustainable development.”

Public role of universities

Regarding the role of both universities in this project, Rector Sánchez pointed out that they got involved for two reasons: “one because citizens have high confidence in the universities, and secondly, because we think that from the public commitment that guides us it was a very important way to connect with what was really happening in the national community. After such a difficult moment due to the outbreak and the pandemic that there was an uprising where people were made to talk was extraordinarily positive, ”he detailed.

“We thought it was a real contribution to be able to generate this, but at the same time pick up the mood of the population. It is practically a virtuous circle in the sense that you get people to talk, you learn a lot and new ideas are also generated to be able to continue investigating issues that are very relevant to think about the country by 2030, what country do we want to be? added the pro-rector Mizala in her speech.

After such a difficult moment due to the outbreak and the pandemic that there was an uprising where people were made to talk was extraordinarily positive – UC Rector, Ignacio Sánchez.

The new challenges of the platform
Regarding the projections of the work that We have to talk about Chile will continue to develop, its executive director, Hernán Hochschild, indicated that they made available to citizens different participation mechanisms, both individual and group, to learn about the constituent process and share ideas on the proposed new Constitution.

“We have faced the complexity of generating a discussion on the constitutional proposal in a highly polarized climate. Despite this, there are already more than 3,000 participants to date, and with the information collected in these instances of dialogue, a report will be delivered in September after the plebiscite”, he commented.