Citizen Security in Central America

Citizen Security in Central America

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Latin America & Hemispheric Studies Program (LAHSP) at the George Washington University cordially invite you to:

Citizen Security in Central America:
Challenges for Society and Responses from the International Community


Helen Mack
President, Myrna Mack Foundation, Guatemala

Carlos Dada
Co-founder and Director of El Faro, El Salvador

Tránsito Ruano
Executive Director, PASSOS Center for Education and Training, El Salvador

Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobson
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Commentary by Joy Olson, Executive Director, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Moderated by Dr. Cynthia McClintock, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505
George Washington University
1957 E St. NW

To RSVP, please click here

For more information, please contact Joe Bateman at

According to the United Nations, Central America is one of the most violent regions of the world. The violence in Central America has many causes—street crime, gang activity, family violence, organized crime, and other factors. The panelists will discuss the current security situation in the region and offer comprehensive approaches to address these problems, including institutional reforms, violence prevention, and government accountability. They will discuss various policies currently being implemented, the challenges to strengthening the rule of law and bringing about lasting reductions in insecurity, and the role of the United States and the international community. We hope that you can join us for this timely discussion. 
Helen Mack is President of the Myrna Mack Foundation in Guatemala and has a long history fighting for human rights and rule of law in the country. In 2011, she served as the head of the Presidential Commission on Police Reform in Guatemala and championed reforms to strengthen, modernize, and professionalize the Guatemalan National Civilian Police (PNC).
Carlos Dada co-founded El Faro in 1998 with a small group of journalists committed to reporting on subjects typically considered taboo, hoping to strengthen democracy and accountability in El Salvador. Since then, El Faro has moved to the forefront of Latin American news organizations investigating organized crime, violence, and political corruption, with over 100,000 readers weekly.
Tránsito Ruano is Executive Director of PASSOS Education and Training Center, founded in 1997 to help young people escape the cycle of violence that pervades low income neighborhoods in San Salvador. At its 12 centers throughout San Salvador, PASSOS carries out programs for violence prevention and social outreach, as well as professional training for people committed to working with at-risk and underprivileged youth.

Mack, Dada, and Ruano have just received WOLA’s annual human rights award for their work on citizen security issues.

Roberta Jacobson is Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. She served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs from December 2010 until July 2011, with responsibility for regional political and economic issues, management and personnel, and regional security issues. In addition to her role as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, she was the senior coordinator for the Citizen Security initiatives in the Western Hemisphere. From June 2007 until that date, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Canada, Mexico and NAFTA issues in the Bureau. She served as Director of the Office of Mexican Affairs from December 2002. From 2000-2002, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, and between 1996 and 2000, Ms. Jacobson was director of the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, covering issues such as civil-military relations, human rights, foreign assistance, and counternarcotics throughout the hemisphere.