History Ph.D. candidate helps host Chile California Conference

Portrait photo of William San Martin

William San Martín

Oct. 14, 2015 — William San Martín, a Fulbright scholar from Chile and a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American history, has been thinking a lot the last six months about his country’s future.

San Martín is the content and program coordinator for this Saturday’s (Oct. 17) Chile California Conference, “Envisioning the Future, Creating it Together,” in the Activities and Recreation Center.

Hosted by the Chilean student associations at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University, the C3 event will feature presentations by speakers from Chile and the U.S., as well as afternoon workshops, a contest of ideas and projects, and students' poster presentations.

Topics will include education policy, agricultural biotechnology, and applied technology and innovation. The conference is open to the public for $20 per person.

Building on a half-century of cooperation

UC Davis has a long history of research and education collaborations with Chile, and in April partnered in opening the UC Davis-Chile Life Sciences Innovation Center in Santiago, Chile.

Chileans educated at UC Davis during a 1965-73 “convenio Chile-California” academic exchange agreement — known at home as the “Davis boys” — helped transform their country into one of the world’s leading fresh-fruit exporters. The “convenio” also sent UC professors to Chile.

San Martín, a native of Santiago, is writing his Ph.D. dissertation on agricultural sciences, politics and environmental change in Chile during the Cold War and Green Revolution.

He said the conference provides an opportunity to reflect on UC Davis’ participation in Chile’s agricultural modernization as well as Chilean scholars’ role in California, and to explore more sustainable models of agricultural development, inclusive educational systems and innovative management processes in both societies.

conference poster

Conference returns to its birthplace

San Martín and other student coordinators began planning the conference last spring. The event is supported by the Chilean General Consulate in San Francisco, Fundación Imágen de Chile, and the Chile-California Council.

The first Chile California Conference took place at UC Davis in 2012. The next two conferences were held at Stanford and UC Berkeley. San Martín has attended each year.

Presenters at Saturday’s conference are continuing to advance the Chile-California partnership, he said, with projects involving universities or institutions from both regions.

This year’s conference “puts the focus on the future as a collaborative project,” he said.

“That’s what I think is the most exciting about this year’s conference — and the fact that it comes back to Davis. It’s a place that brings together all the experience, knowledge and human capital developed since the 1960s and looks toward the future for concrete actions.”

Additional information:

Conference website

Follow San Martín on Twitter at @wssanmartin


Reported by Kathleen Holder, who covers the social sciences for the College of Letters and Science.