Elon faculty present at Congress on Migration and Development in Guatemala

Assistant Professor Carmen Monico took part in the Second Congress of Development Studies on Migration, Health and Development in Guatemala City in late May, where she was joined by multiple national and international stakeholders.

<strong>Panel discussion during Migration Congress in Guatemala</strong>
On May 21, Assistant Professor Carmen Monico in the Department of Human Service Studies presented at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) during the inauguration session of the two-day Congress on Migration and Development.

She spoke about the humanitarian crisis generated by the mass influx of unaccompanied minors from Central American Northern Triangle (CANT) countries into the U.S. and about the extreme violence Central American women face while migrating through Mexico. The Congress was attended by over 100 faculty, students and staff from the UVG, as well as from other academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations from throughout the Americas, as well as a local government representative. They came together to discuss critical issues related to the welfare and future of CANT citizens.

The Congress took place at a time in which CANT countries engage in major efforts to prevent criminal activities, while containing emigration, human trafficking, and ensure the protection of those migrating North. In fiscal year 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security apprehended more than 24,000 unaccompanied children, most of them from CANT countries and Mexico. In fiscal year 2014, the DHS apprehended over 68,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from the El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Participants of Guatemala Congress
As of 2011, there were 1.3 million Salvadorans, 850,900 Guatemalans and 490,600 Hondurans living in the United States, representing 85 percent of all Central Americans in the country. Earlier this year, the United States committed to contribute funds over the next five years, which according to the regional presidents represents only 20 percent of what is needed to achieve the goals of the Plan for the Progress of CANT countries.

This strategic plan seeks to combat criminal organized networks, particularly gangs, whose activities, according to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, onstitute one of the major reasons for the surge of immigration of minors into the U.S.

Besides presenting at the Congress, Monico attended an academic seminar on the Garifuna and Afrodescendent women at the University of San Carlos de Guatemala, and a working meeting of the UVG Bioethics, of which she is a founding member, and proposal reviewer. She also met with a representative of an organization involved in conflict prevention, which is monitoring the corruption scandal surrounding the vice president of Guatemala, and other public servants undergoing investigation by the U.N. sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala and prosecution by the Guatemalan Attorney General Office.

In June, Monico will be teaching a summer Guatemala Practicum course comprised of student athletes and other Elon students unable to join her winter term course.