Young Colombian woman named first winner of UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize on social science research

13 December 2012 – A 25-year-old Colombian woman has been selected as the winner of an inaugural United Nations prize recognizing contributions to social science research.

According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Karen Nathalia Cerón Steevens was selected for the UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize for the Promotion of Social Science Research in Latin America and the Caribbean by an 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” (translation: “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”).

The research also forms the written thesis with which Ms. Cerón Steevens’ obtained a post-graduate degree in international and political studies from the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Seriora del Rosario, a university in the Colombian capital of Bogotá.

Established in 2009 by UNESCO’s Executive Board, the UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize – consisting of $10,000 and a diploma – is awarded every two years. It is named after the Juan Bosch, an eminent author, politician, social analyst and advocate of democratic values, who passed away in 2001. According to UNESCO, his 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 Mr. Bosch lived in exile and which have been historically linked to the experience of democracy in the Dominican Republic – Cuba, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

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

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