• Home
  • Events Calendar

Cumbre Estudiantil de PEN America sobre la Libertad de Expresión – American School of Asunción

*Para ver esta página en español, utilice la herramienta de selección de idioma en la parte superior derecha de esta página. El evento será en español con traducción al inglés disponible.

Day 1: Thursday, May 25, 2023, 17:00 – 19:00 Local Time in Paraguay
Day 2: Friday, May 26, 2023, 10:00 – 15:30 Local Time in Paraguay




PEN America is excited to support a first-ever Free Expression Student Summit event in Spring 2023 organized by student leaders at the American School of Asunción in Paraguay, featuring literary and human rights-themed workshops featuring special guest speakers. The event will include an evening and a half-day of programming that will help aim to equip attendees with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote free expression locally, in Paraguay, and beyond. On Thursday, May 25 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm, students will be invited to the Summit launch with an introductory presentation about international free expression advocacy followed by a panel featuring special guest activists and artists from the region. The following day on Friday, May 26 from 10am to 3:30pm, students will then be invited to join a more hands-on schedule complete with workshops on: human rights law, artistic freedom, and activism. The program will conclude with a final discussion on advocacy that centers the free expression and preservation of indigenous culture in Paraguay and across South America.


Important Information:

  • Registration is *FREE* and open to students of the American School of Asuncion, and students from other local high schools.
  • Spanish will be the primary language of the event with some translations offered in English.
  • Parents and faculty of the American School of Asuncion are welcome to attend the May 25 panel and dinner event, however, the May 26 workshops are limited to high school students. Faculty from the American School of Asuncion are also welcome to audit any of the workshops on May 26th.
  • If you have any questions about the event, please contact us via email at [email protected].


Day 1: Thursday, May 25, 2023

Activity: Start: End:
Participant registration 16:45 17:15
Introduction to the Summit and Guiding Principles of Free Expression 17:15 17:30
Special Guest Panel 17:30





Christine Folch, Ph.D. is the Bacca Foundation Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Folch’s first book Hydropolitics: The Itaipu Dam, Sovereignty, and the Engineering of Modern South America is an in-depth look at the people and institutions connected with the Itaipu Dam, the world’s biggest producer of renewable energy. Folch is the author of multiple public policy reports on energy policy and development in Paraguay and the Southern Cone. She is also revising a cultural history of yerba mate, the stimulating beverage popular in southern South America and its lesser-known but equally delightful caffeinated Ilex/holly-genus cousins guayusa (Amazonia) and yaupon (southern North America). Folch is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award and an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for research in Paraguay and Mercosur.

Talita Pessoa is the Program Director of the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center, where she leads the Combating Online Cultural Repression project and works on the use of surveillance tools against free speech across the globe. A lawyer and an international relations professional by trade, Talita has worked on tech policy, human rights and sustainable development across the public, private, and multilateral sectors. Some of Talita’s past work experiences include the United Nations, the World Bank, and São Paulo’s State Public Defense. Talita holds a B.A. in Law from the University of São Paulo and a Masters of Science in Global Politics and Security from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is fluent in Portuguese, French, Spanish, and has lived and worked in São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Washington DC, New York, and London.

Ana Romero is an activist, documentary filmmaker, dancer, and lecturer on the Guaraní people of Paraguay with knowledge of Guaraní ancestral medicine. Originally from the upper Chaco Mariscal Estigarribia, Ana has 14 years of domestic and international experience in the defense of land and indigenous peoples, elevating their voices in the areas of political participation and decision-making. Ana is a bachelor of international relations, an executive member of the Indigenous National Articulation for a Dignified Life, the founder and president of the Paraguayan Indigenous Youth Union, and has also been awarded as an Ambassador of Ethics, Fairness and Transparency, certified by Rutgers University and UNA. Ana has worked for public institutions (INDI and INE), private companies, and indigenous NGOs.



Day 2: Friday, May 26, 2023

Activity: Start: End:
Participant registration 9:30 10:00
Welcome and Ice Breaker 10:00 10:30
Workshop #1 featuring Christine Folch, Ph.D. 10:30 11:20
10-minute break 11:20


Workshop #2 featuring Jeff Wong 11:30


Lunch 12:20


Workshop #3 featuring Maricarmen Sequera 13:20


10-minute break 14:10


Student-led Advocacy Activities 14:20


Summit Conclusion 15:00


*Subject to change*





Christine Folch, Ph.D. is the Bacca Foundation Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. 


Maricarmen Sequera is the co-founder of the Association of Technology, Education, Development, Research, Communication (TEDIC) where she carries out research and publications on technopolitics, digital rights and gender. Sequera is also a lawyer and Master’s candidate in Intellectual Property at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales) in Argentina and specialized in cybersecurity at the University of León and in technopolitics at the University of Barcelona.

Jeff Wong Headshot

Jeff Wong is the Lead Interviewer from the documentary film Rostros del Rio. Wong has spent the past 4 years learning about traditional Paraguayan culture and in particular, the country’s second official language, Guaraní. Speaking with countless people in various regions of the country, Jeff has gained a deep knowledge of Paraguayan culture, especially as it relates to its nature and the Paraguay River.


STUDENT Organizers


Jakob Usandivaras (Lead Student Organizer)jacob usandivaras headshot is a sophomore at the American School of Asuncion. His passion for furthering cultural awareness was the motive behind creating the PEN Summit. He aims to continue researching and advocating for indigenous communities in Paraguay.

Adriana Cid headshotAdriana Cid is a 12th grader at the American School of Asunción in Paraguay. She’s originally from Spain, but has also lived in Uruguay, and will pursue Journalism at a university in Europe. Freedom of expression and misinformation have been the foci of her research, and one of the many reasons why she is working on the PEN America student summit.

Ines Garcia de Viedma headshotInes Garcia de Viedma is a 12th grader at the American School of Asuncion in Paraguay. She’s originally Spanish but has lived in Peru, Israel, Kenya, and the United States too. She will study business administration and international relations at a university in Europe. She has participated in previous Pen America institutes advocating for freedom of expression, and has really enjoyed the experience. This and her belief that this is a right that needs to be fought for are only some of the reasons that she is working on the PEN America student summit.

rebeca sterner headshot

Rebeca Sterner is a 12th grader at the American School of Asunción in Paraguay. She’s originally from Colombia and Sweden, and will be pursuing international relations and language studies at university. Fighting for artistic freedom, in all its shapes and forms, is one of the many reasons why she is working on the PEN America student summit.


PEN America STAFF:


headshot of Nicholas Perez

Nicholas “Niko” Pérez
Program Manager, Freedom of Expression and Education


photo of Peris Tushabe

Peris Tushabe
Program Assistant, Freedom of Expression and Education





American School of Asuncion Logo

The American School of Asunción, a bilingual learning community of Paraguayan and international families, offers an early childhood through college-preparatory program. ASA adheres to the highest standards of educational excellence from the United States and Paraguay while fostering a student-centered and caring environment.