Founded in 1994, the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University (DRCLAS) forges a unique partnership between Harvard and various Latin American institutions, aiming to foster greater knowledge of the cultures, customs, economies, and contemporary affairs of people throughout the Americas. To that end, the department has created six endowed professorships devoted to Latin American studies, and has also created regional offices in South American locations including Santiago, Chile, and São Paulo, Brazil. In addition, the Visiting Scholars and Fellows program has brought some of Latin America’s most renowned scholars to spend time at Harvard.
Thanks to the DRCLAS and its continuing efforts to enhance public understanding of Latin America, Harvard University has come to be known as a leading institution for Latin American studies. The various DRCLAS publications, events, and initiatives support its goals of scholarship, understanding, and awareness of Latin American in the United States and abroad.
About Moris Beracha: Born in Venezuela, Moris Beracha has more than 25 years of experience in investment banking and management. A longtime friend of the arts and education, Beracha lends his support to the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.
After completing his education in Business and Administration at Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela, Moris Beracha established himself as a leading financial consultant and investment banker in numerous Latin American markets. Today, he discusses his work in the financial sector.
Q: Has the global economic downturn had a significant impact on your business?
A: Sure, just like everywhere else, Latin America felt the shock waves of global recession. Overall, the Latin American economy fell over 20%, though certain micro-economies within the region fared better.
Q: Why invest in Latin American businesses now?
A: There are many positive changes happening politically and commercially in Latin America. That indicates increased stability and financial growth. Additionally, the region maintains a healthy balance of imports, exports, foreign investments, and infrastructure development; this diversification of interests can help insulate South American and Central American countries from future economic decline.
Q: What advice can you offer people entering the world of finance?
A: Study all the data from many angles, stay true to your instincts, and periodically take stock of your goals, both near- and long-term.
In Venezuela, the control of the money system belongs to the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), which maintains its authority distinct from the national government. Headed by a board of directors and a president elected for a term of seven years by the President’s Office and the National Assembly of Venezuela, the bank issues the country’s currency known as the Venezuelan bolivar. The BCV also regulates the exchange rate and other financial policies.
Over the years, the Venezuelan bolivar has undergone various adjustments to adapt to a changing economy. In 2008, the BCV introduced a new system known as the Bolivar Fuerte in hopes of facilitating financial transactions and countering the effects of high inflation rates. This reform presents only a temporary measure, however, as the country’s constitution does not admit for the changing of the currency’s name.
About Moris Beracha: A financial professional for more than two decades, Moris Beracha currently serves as President of Celistics Holdings and Movilway, as well as advising the Fractal Fund Management Group of which he remains a shareholder. Born in Venezuela, he received his education in Business and Administration from the country’s Universidad Metropolitana, writing his thesis on The Euro Bolivar implications in the Venezuelan Financial System.
Supporters of and participants in The Doe Fund, Inc., recently unveiled an original mural at the Harlem Center for Opportunity in New York. The colorfully painted mural was created as a means to empower students who were once part of the juvenile justice system. In the 640-foot-long artwork, students painted scenes showing local street cleaners who are enrolled in The Doe Fund’s transitional employment program. The Doe Fund, which helps youths and adults transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency, offers these programs and others at The Harlem Center.
The mural was the result of a collaboration between the fund and the Creative Arts Workshops for Kids. The mural reinforces both organizations’ messages, namely “art works” and “work works.”
About Moris Beracha: Moris Beracha, who has spent more than two decades in international finance and business, takes an active role in nonprofit organizations such as The Doe Fund, Inc., The Smile Train, and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.
For nearly two decades, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University (The Rockefeller Center) has expanded our understanding of and formed relationships with Latin American people and various related entities. An inter-faculty program within Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, The Rockefeller Center has established offices in Brazil and Chile alongside its Massachusetts branch.
These locations educate about the cultures, histories, and economies of Latin American nations while enlightening people about the current events that affect these countries. Although not considered a “teaching unit” of the school, it has conducted conferences, sponsored students and research projects, and led to the development of six endowed professorships. Additionally, The Rockefeller Center has been named a National Resource Center for the Study of Latin America and earned three multi-year Title VI grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
About the Author:
As the President of telecommunications company Celistics Holdings, Moris Beracha handles various responsibilities for the multinational organization, which possesses offices in Latin America, Spain, and the United States. In his spare time, Beracha contributes to The Rockefeller Center.
Based at Harvard University, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies promotes information exchange between the U.S. and Latin America and hosts a book series on Latin American Studies. Here, Moris Beracha, a center supporter, summarizes two recent publications.
The Revolution in Venezuela: Social and Political Change under Chávez
In this book, edited by Thomas Ponniah and Jonathan Eastwood, a series of writers delves into the subject of social reform in contemporary Venezuela. Contributors such as Fernando Coronil and Gioconda Espina look at the state of the emerging Latin American left and trace its roots to the philosophy espoused by the Chávez government.
Export Pioneers in Latin America
This book, a compilation of 11 case studies, takes a look at export trade in six Latin American nations. Through these cases, the publication seeks to shed light on entrepreneurial pioneers and the complexities inherent in exporting.
A native of Venezuela, Moris Beracha has launched a series of multinational companies with operations in Latin America.
The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University seeks to promote understanding of Latin America’s diverse histories, cultures, natural environments, and political and economic structures. Established in 1994, the center is now one of the school’s most prominent interdisciplinary initiatives.
DRCLAS offers both undergraduate and graduate courses, supports faculty projects, organizes conferences, and facilitates collaboration with academic institutions, artistic groups, and other organizations overseas. The center produces several publications, including ReVista, a triannual magazine providing in-depth examination of a variety of topics, and a book series covering a wide range of academic subjects relevant to Latin America.
DRCLAS also manages a Cuban studies program that is the most comprehensive endeavor of its kind between an American university and various Cuban institutions. In addition, the center’s Mexico and Central America program provides frequent film screenings and public lectures focusing on that region.
Along with its primary office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, DRCLAS maintains offices in Santiago, Chile, and São Paulo, Brazil. Opened in 2002, the Chilean branch oversees the Andes Initiative, which highlights and advances the study of the countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Started in 2006, the Brazilian division offers courses in engineering and the environment, the Portuguese language, public health, and public policy, among other subjects.
About the Author:
Moris Beracha is the President of Celistics, a consumer electronics distributor in Latin America. Mr. Beracha contributes to the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.