Manuel Alejandro Olivera Andrade from Bolivia winner of the 2015 UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize

Manuel Alejandro Olivera Andrade (Bolivia) was designated as winner of the 2015 Edition of the Prize by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, on the recommendation of an international jury. The Award Ceremony will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 26 October 2015, at the occasion of the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum.

Olivera Andrade was selected among a pool of candidates from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Jamaica, and Mexico. He holds a Bachelor in biology, together with a Master’s degree in economic development from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, Bolivia. Olivera Andrade’s multidisciplinary academic background also includes undergraduate courses in economy and PhD credits in the fields of natural resources, sustainable development, and governance.

His thesis “Factores de riesgo para el proyecto estatal de aprovechamiento del litio del salar de Uyuni: Gobernanza, mercado y extractivismo histórico” * explores how governance,  market forces, and extractive economy issues may constitute risk factors to the governmental project for lithium exploitation in Uyuni (South West of Bolivia), using qualitative methods.

Olivera Andrade has won the Prize in recognition of the relevance of his work, which focuses on a contemporary issue, namely how a country can benefit from the natural resources it owns, all the more so given the rising importance of resources such as Lithium as an alternative source of energy. In addition, his work efficiently demonstrates the linkage between research and public policy, which is fundamental to winning this Prize.

The first laureate was Karen Nathalia Cerón Steevens (Colombia) in 2013. She was selected in recognition of the quality of her research on youth violence in Central America.

Created in 2009 at the initiative of the Government of the Dominican Republic, the purpose of the UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize is to reward high quality social science theses of young researchers from the Latin American and Caribbean region, which contribute to enhancing the development of social science research that is oriented towards the formulation of social policies.

The prize was named after Juan Bosch, a Dominican writer, statesman, and sociologist. Inspired by the humanist spirit of his work, it aims to foster research on key social development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, in ways that are useful to the advancement of stronger public policies and practices. The ultimate aim is to motivate young researchers across the region to work in support of shared values of human rights and dignity, in view of promoting new forms of solidarity.

The laureate will receive a diploma and a monetary award of 10,000 US$.

* Governance, Market, and Historical Extractivism : Risk Factors for the Government Project for Lithium Harvesting in the Uyuni Salt Flats.