Victor Montejo is Emeritus Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. A Jakaltec Maya from Guatemala. he fled that country’s war with his family in 1982 and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut in 1993. His books include Testimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village (1987), Voices from Exile: Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History (1999), and Maya Intellectual Renaissance: Critical Essays on Identity, Representation, and Leadership (2003), and several volumes of literature and poetry. He served in the Guatemalan National Congress from 2004-2008, and as Secretario de la Paz of Guatemala in 2004-05. Dr. Montejo is a founding member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA).
Aura Lolita Chávez Ixcaquic is an organizer and activist in Guatemala whose work focuses on the defense of Indigenous territory and culture, and more broadly on the environment itself. She is a founding member of the Council of K’iche People, part of the pan-Maya Consejo del Pueblo Maya Occidente that has organized dozens of towns in public referendums responding to the increase in mining activity in the region since the early 2000s. Ms. Chávez has been recognized internationally as a non-violent defender of human rights and has done several speaking tours to Europe and North America.
Marcie Mersky is Director of Programs at the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York City. She lived in Guatemala for over twenty years before joining the ICTJ, working at Greenpeace (1989-1994), on the Catholic Church’s human rights documentation project REMHI (1995–1996) and the Guatemalan Historical Clarification Commission (1997–1999), and for the United Nations’ operations in Guatemala including as a liason to the UN-sponsored International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) until 2008. She also has significant experience working in Pakistan and most recently, Colombia.
Héctor Lindo-Fuentes is Professor of History and Latin American Studies at Fordham University. He received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago. His publications include books on the economic history of Central America, the history of education, and the politics of memory in El Salvador. His most recent book, co-authored with Erik Ching, is Modernizing Minds in El Salvador: Education Reform and the Cold War, 1960-1980 (University of New Mexico Press). He has taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the University of California at Santa Barbara, UCLA, Columbia University, and universities in El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Professor Lindo-Fuentes also is Director of the editorial board of El Faro Académico, a section of the Salvadoran electronic newspaper El Faro that informs Salvadoran readers about new academic research.
Joaquín Chávez is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he has taught since 2012. He is the author of Poets and Prophets of the Resistance: Intellectuals and the Origins of El Salvador´s Civil War, 1960-1980 (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017). His most recent articles include “How did El Salvador Civil War End?” in The American Historical Review (December 2015) and “Catholic Action, The Second Vatican Council, and the Emergence of the New Left in El Salvador, (1950- 1975)” in the “Special Issue: Latin America in the Global Sixties” of The Americas (January 2014). He has written extensively on the history of the peace process that put an end to the civil war in El Salvador and has also served as expert on peace negotiations in Nepal and other hot spots.
Gene Palumbo is a freelance journalist living in El Salvador who teaches for Santa Clara University’s Casa de la Solidaridad program in San Salvador. He covered El Salvador’s civil war (1980-1992), and has stayed on in its aftermath. He reports for the New York Times, and has also contributed to National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Christian Science Monitor, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Time Magazine, Commonweal Magazine, and the National Catholic Reporter.
Peter Kranstover (moderator) teaches in the Department of Economics and is advisor to the Center for Global and Economic Studies at Marquette University, and serves on Wisconsin’s Advisory Council to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition of Washington, D.C. He began his work in Central America as a Peace Corp volunteer in Guatemala in 1973-75, and lived in Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador during 1984-1998 as a foreign service officer for USAID. From 2001 to 2004, he was Director of Central American and Mexican Affairs for USAID in Washington D.C. He has also served as Director of Development for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and as a policy advisor on Latin America for the Office of Foreign Assistance at the State Department.
Ruth Ann Belknap is Professor of Nursing at Marquette University, specializing in Adult Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing. Her research focuses on migration and health with an emphasis on Mexican and Central American immigrant women’s experiences and has been published in such journals as the Journal of Social Justice, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, and Health Care for Women International. Her current research explores dating relationships and dating violence perspectives of adolescent Latinos/as. She has worked with migrant populations in Chiapas, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona, and is active in the Jesuit-led Kino Border Initiative.
Pilar Bellver, Associate Professor of Spanish at Marquette University, has a doctorate in Hispanic Literatures and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She has written on first-person narratives by US Latina writers and discussed the different ways in which first and second generation writers go beyond the boundaries of the traditional autobiographical form by exploring the individual’s identity in relation to the community. More recently she has become interested in US/Mexico border literature and culture, and in the literature of Latinos of Salvadoran descent. In the Foreign Languages Department at Marquette she regularly teaches courses on US Latino/a literature, US/Mexico border literature and film, and contemporary Latin American literature and culture.
Noelle Brigden (moderator) is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Marquette University. Her research focuses on the violence and uncertainty that confronts Central American migrants in transit, for which she conducted two years of fieldwork along unauthorized routes in El Salvador, Mexico and the United States. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University and has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Garcia-Robles program, and the Bucerius Program at the Zeit-Stiftung. Her work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Antipode, Geopolitics, and Migration Studies.
Daniela Castillo-Perez is a 2014 Marquette graduate of the International Affairs program. Currently a small business owner residing in Milwaukee, she is a first generation American and the daughter of two Guatemalan refugees who fled during the civil war in the 1980’s. She has worked for extended periods as a volunteer for Annunciation House, a Catholic organization in El Paso, Texas, that accompanies the migrant, homeless, and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy, and education. Daniela’s extended family still lives in Guatemala, and she loves making trips there every year to explore the beautiful scenery and culture.
Sergio González is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a 2016-2017 Marquette University Arnold L. Mitchem Fellow. Centered within working-class and immigration history, his dissertation, “‘I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me’: Latino Immigration, Religion, and Community Formation in Milwaukee, 1920-1990,” examines the religious communities Latino immigrants developed in Wisconsin throughout the twentieth century. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Mexicans in Wisconsin (Wisconsin Historical Society Press).
Sr. Jan Gregorcich is a member of the international community of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She had the privilege of accompanying the people of Guatemala for 12 years before the Peace Accords were signed, and took testimonies for the REMHI (Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica) report. S. Jan is presently the executive director of Global Partners: Running Waters, Inc., whose mission is to build relationships through collaboration on water, food, health and education projects in Latin America. She is also a member of the GATE team (Global Awareness through Experience) offering a spirituality of solidarity program in Guatemala and El Salvador, and helps lead groups in service/community learning that raises awareness of global disparity.
Peter Kranstover teaches in the Department of Economics and is advisor to the Center for Global and Economic Studies at Marquette University, and serves on Wisconsin’s Advisory Council to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition of Washington, D.C. He began his work in Central America as a Peace Corp volunteer in Guatemala in 1973-75, and lived in Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador during 1984-1998 as a foreign service officer for USAID. From 2001 to 2004, he was Director of Central American and Mexican Affairs for USAID in Washington D.C. He has also served as Director of Development for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and as a policy advisor on Latin America for the Office of Foreign Assistance at the State Department.
Laura Matthew (moderator), an Associate Professor of Latin American history at Marquette University, has worked in Guatemala since 1989. Her publications include Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest of Mesoamerica (with Michel Oudijk, 2007), Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala (2012), and articles in Mesoamérica, The Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, and Ethnohistory. She is a board member of the Asociación para el Fomento de los Estudios Históricos en Centroamérica (AFEHC), and director of the digital project “Nahuatl/Nawat in Central America.”
Elyse O’Callaghan Lewis graduated from the Opus College of Engineering at Marquette University with a BS in Civil Engineering in 2014. During her time at Marquette, she worked on a variety of infrastructure projects through the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter at the university. After graduating, she spent 9 months in Guatemala providing support to multiple EWB projects in the Department of Quiche. She is currently pursuing an MS in Transportation Engineering at the University of Washington with the ultimate goal of completing a PhD and working as a professor of civil engineering. Her research interests include sustainable urban transportation development such as human factors related to mode choice, the shared vehicle economy, social equity, and transit system planning in Latin America.
Margaret Urban Walker (moderator) holds the Donald J. Schuenke Chair in Philosophy at Marquette. Her current research interests are in justice and repair following conflict, repression, and historical injustice. Before coming to Marquette, she was professor at Arizona State University, Fordham University, and was the first woman to hold the Cardinal Mercier Chair in Philosophy at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Her publications include Moral Repair: Reconstructing Moral Relations After Wrongdoing (2006); “Nunca Más: Truth Commissions, Prevention, and Human Rights Culture,” in Jus Post Bellum and Transitional Justice, ed. Mayand & Edenberg (2013), “Truth Telling as Reparations,” in Metaphilosophy (2010); and “Gender and Violence in Focus: A Background for Gender Justice in Reparations,” in Gender and Reparations, ed. Rubio-Marín (2009).