For Jaime Bellolio (MPP ’10), it was a homecoming return. Four years ago, he was a Chilean student in the Harris School. On Tuesday, October 28, he was again in one of the Harris’ rooms, but sharing his experience of being a congressman in Chile with a whole new generation of Latin American students.
Bellolio, a member of the right-wing Unión Demócrata Independiente party, was the first guest of the 2014-2015 Speaker Series of Latin American Matters (LAM). The conversation went about a wide range of issues: from his relevant role in the discussion of the educational reform that Michelle Bachelet’s government is pushing on in Chile –which Bellolio opposes-, to his insight about how public policies should be evaluated in a feasible way.
“The public policy that is written behind a desk is a policy that goes straigth to failure. The laws and the public policies need to put them in a situation of reality”, Bellolio said. However, he showed his concern about the actual situation in the discussion of public policies in Chile. “There was a consensus that you have to be based in evidence to doing public policies”, the congressman stated. “Now, this model is in doubt”.
Bellolio also shared with the students his views about how Harris shaped his way to evaluate public policies: in his opinion, one of the most important lessons of the school that he has applied is to always have a rigourous analysis of the posible outcomes and the consequences of a given proposal, showing enough evidence and data that can support the ideas. “When the public policy is based in pure ideology, that is populism”, he reassured.
But probably his biggest message to all the students was the importance of taking responsabilities to fight for changes in their countries. Bellolio, a first-term representative in the lower chamber of the Congress in Chile, recalled that one of his best friends convinced him to run for elected office with a strong argument: “You can spend you time evaluating the policies that other people do, or make the policies and let other people evaluate them”.
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