Benjamin N. Gedan

Benjamin N. Gedan

Adjunct Lecturer, Latin American Studies Program
Latin American Studies

Nitze 514


  • Argentina
  • Honduras
  • Latin America
  • American Foreign Policy
  • International Economics
  • International Political Economy
  • International Relations
  • Strategic and Security Issues
  • Spanish

Background and Education

Benjamin N. Gedan is an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins. He is a former South America director on the National Security Council at the White House. Previously, Benjamin was responsible for Honduras and Argentina at the U.S. Department of State, and covered Central America and the Caribbean as an international economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He has reported for The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald and other publications. Benjamin is a former Fulbright scholar in Uruguay, and earned a PhD in foreign affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor’s in international relations, and received a Master’s in international economics and Latin American studies from SAIS. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

2017-08-14 00:00:00 
Spring 2019 
As economic pro...
As economic protectionism, nationalism and rising authoritarianism roil domestic and international politics, this seminar will explore how the changing global landscape is creating challenges and opportunities for Latin America. Topics will include the region's efforts to seize trade opportunities in the Pacific, including Chile's unsung role in resurrecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership following the U.S. withdrawal, and the widening ambitions of the Pacific Alliance; Mercosur's bet on a free trade agreement with the European Union; the opportunities and risks of Chinese investment, as the United States aggressively discourages the region from over-dependence on Beijing; the role of Russia, including in arms sales and energy investment; and the region's position as a natural resources juggernaut, from unconventional oil and gas in Argentina to the lithium triangle (Argentina, Bolivia and Chile) that accounts for more than half of the world's supply of the key ingredient in batteries for mobile phones and electric cars. For many of these topics, we will invite high-profile speakers to lead the discussion.
Fall 2018 
Argentina is em...
Argentina is emerging from a chaotic and self-destructive experiment in populism that deeply divided South America's second-largest economy and left a legacy of chronic budget deficits and sky-high inflation. The country's new, pro-market government is attempting a radical economic and political metamorphosis, as it reengages with the international community and seeks foreign investment. In the past two years, Argentina has returned to economic growth, slowed inflation and begun to reduce the poverty rate. But the experiment's prospects remain uncertain. Just as Argentina sheds its protectionist policies, the international community, including the United States, is moving in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, Argentina's top trading partner, Brazil, is mired in a political crisis and economic malaise. At home, the Peronist opposition warns that the government in Buenos Aires is recklessly borrowing, in a repeat of failed neoliberal strategies that historically exacerbated income inequality and provoked debt crises. Through lectures and high-profile visiting speakers, this course evaluates Argentina's dramatic political and economic history, with a special emphasis on the 2001 economic meltdown that produced 12 years of populist government and the backlash that led to the country's ongoing transformation.
Fall 2017 
This two-credit...
This two-credit class analyzes the political economy of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay, and inter-state issues (in particular Brazil, the United States, and most recently China as big players in this region of Latin America. A core description and analysis of these countries' political and economic histories and their relations with each other as well as with the big influential countries noted above, gives way to a focus on key general policy topics common to the Southern Cone: 1) Financial and economic instability and strikingly different ways of coping with globalization (i.e. Chile and to some extent Uruguay closer to pro-globalization and orthodox management of monetary and fiscal policies versus Argentina and Paraguay, where for different reasons nationalist, anti-globalization forces have been or remain dominant); 2) Regional integration during the Cold War (analysis of Operación Cóndor) and since its end (i.e. MERCOSUR and now UNASUR); and Energy, Resources and Environment issues (i.e. from dominance of big-scale copper mining in Chile to agrofoods' exports, particulary soybeans in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) to the great potential for clean energy (grow hydro-electricity and other renewables, and the paradoxical continuation of dependence on oil and natural gas in all these countries.