On April 30, 2023, Paraguayans elected Santiago Peña, member of the ruling Colorado Party, as their next president. President Peña faces structural challenges as the country attempts to strengthen governance, address corruption, and manage the increasingly destructive impacts of climate change. Paraguay’s economy has shown remarkable resilience in the past year, recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, a severe drought, and regular inflation. How can the new administration sustain the macroeconomic stability that the country has achieved? What are the main challenges facing the Peña government? What are his government’s foreign policy objectives?
The Georgetown Americas Institute is pleased to welcome President Peña for a conversation, moderated by GAI Managing Director Denisse Yanovich and Roberto de Michele, division chief at the Inter American Development Bank, on the future of Paraguay and his plans for his young administration. Introductory remarks will be given by GAI Founding Director Alejandro Werner.
This event is sponsored by Georgetown Americas Institute, the Embassy of Paraguay, and the Georgetown Latin America and the Caribbean Policy Association.
Santiago Peña is the fifty-second president of Paraguay. Peña assumed office following the Colorado Party’s victory in April 2023. He is an economist and politician who served as minister of finance and member of the board of Paraguay’s central bank, as well as an economist at the International Monetary Fund. Peña holds a master's degree in public policy from Columbia University.
Roberto de Michele is division chief at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Innovation in Citizen Services Division (ICS). ICS mission is to strengthen the institutional capacity of the state to deliver better services to citizens using digital solutions and innovation; to support the modernization of public management; improve transparency, integrity, and accountability; and to promote citizen safety and security. Previously Roberto lead the IDB’s cluster on transparency and integrity, responsible for providing support to public sector reforms in transparency, integrity and anti-corruption. In this capacity, he leads the bank’s efforts in preparing lending operations, technical assistance, and knowledge products related to transparency and integrity. He is the secretary of the IDB’s Transparency Fund and responsible for the program Strengthening the Integrity of Financial Systems: Improving the Capacity to Prevent Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. His articles and blogs are published widely in Gobernarte and the Transparency in Finance Infoguide, among others. He is a member of the senior advisory board of the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA). Before joining the IDB, de Michele was the director for transparency and preventive policies at the anti-corruption office of Argentina. He served as president of Fundación Poder Ciudadano (TI Chapter Argentina) and is a founding member of the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC). He is a law graduate from the University of Buenos Aires with an LL.M. from Yale Law School.
Alejandro Werner is the founding director of the Georgetown Americas Institute and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He recently completed almost nine years as director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that appointment, he was undersecretary of finance and public credit in Mexico’s Finance Ministry and held several positions in that ministry and the Central Bank. He also taught at leading universities in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in economics from ITAM.
Denisse Yanovich is the managing director of the Georgetown Americas Institute. Prior to joining Georgetown University she was the deputy to the president at the Inter-American Dialogue, a leading think tank on Latin America. She also worked at the Embassy of Colombia in Washington, managing their public diplomacy program, and Fedesarrollo, an economic policy think tank in Colombia, as a research associate. Yanovich holds a B.S. and M.A. in economics from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá and M.A. in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University College, London.