Young Colombian social scientist wins 1st UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize for research on youth violence

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, has designated Karen Nathalia Cerón Steevens, 25, from Colombia, as the laureate of the first UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize for the Promotion of Social Science Research in Latin America and the Caribbean. She was selected by international jury in recognition of her research into youth violence in Central America and its application to social policies and prevention plans in Guatemala.

The title of Ms Cerón Steevens research is: ¿Hijos de la Guerra o Huérfanos del Estado? Un estudio de la violencia juvenil representada en las maras, bajo las características particulares del Estado y del contexto guatemalteco (Sons of war or orphans of the state? A study of youth violence represented in “Maras” gangs, within the characteristics of the state and the Guatemalan context). This is also the written thesis with which the laureate gained her magister in international and political studies from the “Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Seriora del Rosario”, a University in Bogotá (Colombia).

Established in 2009 by UNESCO’s Executive Board, the UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize, consisting of  US$10,000 and a diploma, will be awarded every two years. It is named after the eminent author, politician, social analyst and fervent advocate of democratic values and a culture of peace, whose work made a remarkable contribution to the study of social and political processes in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. In keeping with this legacy, the prize rewards young researchers, who contribute to reinforcing the links between social science research and public policies. It also seeks to motivate young researchers and encourage intellectual exchange and dialogue in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Candidates are proposed by the countries in which Professor Juan Bosch lived in exile and which have been historically linked to the experience of democracy in the Dominican Republic (Cuba, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Costa Rica).  The jury members are Saskia Sassen (Netherlands), Rolando Cordera (Mexico) and Juan Luis Cebrián (Spain).

The award will be presented to Ms Cerón Steevens during an official ceremony to be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, in the first semester of 2013.


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