Wilson Center Experts

Alexander Wilde

Senior Scholar, Board Member
Latin American Program

Contact Information:
Latin America
Fellow, Center for Ethics, Jesuit Alberto Hurtado University; Former Executive Director and Chair, Board of Directors, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Alexander Wilde currently directs the two-year project on Ministering to the Victims of Violence: Christianity in Latin America in Dictatorship and Democracy, based at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies. He was Scarff Memorial Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lawrence University of Wisconsin in Fall 2011. A Senior Scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, he also serves on advisory boards at the Social Science Research Council, Chilean Millennium Science Initiative and Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center. In recent years he has advised Argentine human rights organizations and awardwinning documentary films, including “State of Fear” (2005) on the work of the Peruvian Truth Commission, “The Judge and the General” (2008) on efforts to prosecute Pinochet, “The Reckoning” (2009) on the International Criminal Court, and “Granito” (2011) on the Guatemalan genocide. He lived and worked in Chile for more than a decade during its long transition to democracy after 1990.

From 2000-04 he was an officer of the Ford Foundation as Vice President for Communications, with global responsibilities for three primary program areas and 12 overseas offices. He formerly directed Ford’s regional office in Santiago, Chile (1994-99), supporting innovative work in Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. He developed new programming in human rights, historical memory, freedom of expression, and audiovisual documentary.

From 1987-93, Wilde directed the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), an independent nongovernmental organization concerned with human rights and U.S. foreign policy, and gave frequent testimony on these issues before the Congress. From 2004-07 he chaired its Board of Directors. He previously held senior research and management positions at two major new institutions bridging the worlds of ideas and public affairs: the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame (1982-87), and the Woodrow Wilson Center (1978-82).

Wilde has taught at Lawrence (Wis.), Georgetown, George Washington, Notre Dame, Haverford College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the co-editor (with Scott Mainwaring) of The Progressive Church in Latin America (Notre Dame, 1989) and author of Conversaciones de caballeros (Bogotá, 1982), a historical study of the breakdown of democracy in Colombia in the 1940s. In recent years he has published scholarly articles, essays and reviews on human rights, democracy and historical memory in Latin America. Wilde holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. He studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Keble College, Oxford, on a Marshall Scholarship, and received his B.A. from Lawrence University.

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