Associate Professor Matthew Taylor has joined the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an independent, nonpartisan membership organization and think tank, as an adjunct senior fellow for Latin America Studies in the David Rockefeller Studies Program. He is directing a roundtable meeting series on Latin America, as well as conducting research related to corruption and the rule of law. Taylor is affiliated with the Latin America Studies program and the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy program at CFR. We asked Professor Taylor to tell us more about his new role:
Q: What challenges do you feel Latin America is facing as a region? How do you hope to address these issues in your work as an adjunct fellow?
Latin America is in a moment of transition, with the end of the commodities boom, a political shift away from the leftist parties that governed the region for much of the past decade and a half, and destabilizing corruption scandals in many countries, ranging from Chile to Guatemala. As an adjunct fellow, my goal is to help CFR members better understand the current moment, and to try to write informative analyses that make some sense of the still very uncertain and changing conditions. CFR attracts a wide range of interesting speakers with wide-ranging expertise, and a second responsibility is to bring in some of the most original perspectives from Latin America. I benefit a great deal from being able to hear these very dynamic speakers and the broad range of perspectives that CFR members bring to these events.
Q: What is the objective of the roundtable meeting series you are leading?
The roundtable series is aimed at bringing in intelligent and well informed folks with deep understandings of the current situation in the region. This spring, we’ll host a prosecutor from Brazil who has been an integral part of the massive corruption investigation there, an economist with unique perspective on the reforms we can expect from the new administration in Argentina, and a leading specialist in the global fight against corruption, to talk about how transnational legal frameworks are changing the rules of the anti-corruption game, including in much of Latin America. I’m very excited to learn from their unique perspectives.
Q: How does CFR benefit your work as a Latin America Studies scholar?
It is a great chance to meet a wide range of practitioners, policymakers and academics, and to focus on issues that I haven’t had a chance to explore in the past. I am hoping to obtain greater comparative perspective on themes that are relevant to the full region. At the moment, for example, I’m impressed by how salient corruption has become to politics throughout Latin America. There are, of course, many contingent circumstances associated with the domestic political dynamics of each country, but there are also important drivers that explain the sudden salience of corruption across the region, including compliance with new international treaties, the end of an economic expansion, and new modalities of transnational organized crime and money laundering. CFR provides useful access to this wide variety of perspectives, and will expand my research by providing a broader and more integrated perspective on the contemporary challenges facing Latin America.
Learn more about Matthew Taylor.