Relations between Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Israel date back to 1947, with 13 of 20 nations in the region voting for the United Nations Partition Plan. The past decade has seen significant changes in the relationship as both LAC countries and Israel seek to increase their relevance, economically and politically, and search for legitimacy on the global stage. The Georgetown Americas Institute hosted Arie M. Kacowicz, Aaron and Cecile Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, and Grace Wermenbol, Middle East director at the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, for a conversation on the evolution of the relationship between Israel and Latin America and the role of the United States.
Arie M. Kacowicz is Aaron and Cecile Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. He also serves as the Chaim Weizmann Chair in International Relations and full professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A faculty member of Hebrew University since 1993 and an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University since 2003, Kacowicz is the author and editor of ten books, including The Unintended Consequences of Peace: Peaceful Borders and Illicit Transnational Flows (2021, co-authored with Exequiel Lacovksy, Keren Sasson, and Daniel F. Wajner). His areas of interest are theories of international relations, peace studies, globalization and governance, international relations of Latin America, and peace negotiations in the context of the Middle East.
Grace Wermenbol is a Middle East director at the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Wermenbol is also a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. The Middle East Policy Council listed her in their 40 Under 40 awards for influential Middle East experts in 2023. Wermenbol previously lectured at the University of Oxford, where she taught on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was a researcher at Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. She is the author of A Tale of Two Narratives (2021), a study of Israeli and Palestinian societies in the post-Oslo era, and a co-author of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 2020 and 2021 Armed Conflict Survey. She received her Ph.D. and master’s degree from St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford. Wermenbol has published with leading international think tanks, including the Atlantic Council and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and she has briefed intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations. Her commentary has appeared in the Washington Post, Voice of America, France 24, BBC, Haaretz, and the Jerusalem Post, among other prominent media outlets.
Denisse Yanovich (moderator) is the managing director of the Georgetown Americas Institute. Prior to joining Georgetown 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.