#ElliottExpert: Diego Abente Brun

Diego Abente Brun is Professor and Director of the Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University since 2019. He has authored and edited more than forty books, chapters, and articles in academic journals such as Comparative Politics, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Latin American Studies and Journal of Inter-American Affairs. He was a Professor of Political Science at Miami University of Ohio (1984-1993). In between his two academic positions he spent 10 years in public life as Senator, Ambassador and Minister and later worked in democracy promotion and the OAS for over a decade. He teaches courses on comparative and international politics of Latin America and the Latin American Capstone course.

  • Hometown: Asunción, Paraguay
  • Program/Institute: Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program
  • Area(s) of expertise: Comparative Democratization and Governance-Geopolitics and Geoeconomics
  • Institutions Attended: University of New Mexico
  • Teaching courses this or next semester?: Governments and Politics of Latin America/Capstone I (Fall 2020) International Relations of Latin America/Capstone II.  (Spring 2021)

What made you interested in your field of study?

I was born and lived the first 35 years of my life under a brutal military dictatorship.  As a sociology major and student activist in the pro-democracy movement I paid the price of persecution, jail, and exile. My activism and my academic interests were intimately intertwined from the beginning. I could not see myself studying anything other than political science.

What was your favorite work, intern or volunteer experience, and why?

As a high school student, I became involved in the Roman Catholic Youth Student Association and spent time in the countryside sharing the life experience of poor peasants. There, I discovered what poverty really meant and in the gazes of the peasants I read a call to action.

If you could have any other career, unrelated to what you do now, what would it be?

Art, music, literature.

What advice do you have for first-year students who are starting their internship or work experience search?

As interns, learn as much as you can, but also seek to discover what in that job could help you to make the world a better and more just place for all.

And in looking for a job remember that making a difference for others is what makes live worth living.

What 3 books should everybody read and why?

Politics as a Vocation, Max Weber

Memoirs d’Hadrien, Marguerite Yourcenar

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

I will not tell you why. Read them and find it out by yourself!


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The #ElliottExpert profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current professors to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.