Sebastian Alvarez reports on his recent visit to Glasgow

Monday 6th – Friday 10th March 2017

Last month I spent a week visiting the University of Glasgow within the framework of the UPIER-HERA project. The purpose of my trip was three-fold. First, it was the occasion for me to meet with the members of the research team there for the first time since the project began in September 2016. Another objective was to arrange logistical issues regarding execution and development of the project as well as to discuss potential collaborative research. Finally, I presented my research paper at the School of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Glasgow to get feedback from its members.

On Monday 6th March, just after my arrival in Glasgow, I met with Dr. Mourlon-Druol. It was the first time I met with him in person, so we had an extensive talk about our previous work as well as the current and future research agenda. I learned more about Emmanuel’s new ERC-funded project on European Economic Integration between 1957 and 1992 and how this will articulate with his work on the UPIER project. The following day I met Prof. Catherine Schenk and she introduced me to PhD candidate Catherine Lefèvre. We then went to the classroom where I assisted Prof. Schenk’s lecture on the recent Global Financial Crisis for the course on Economic and Social History.  I then went to visit the Glasgow University Library, which has an important collection of publications on international finance during the 1970s and the sovereign debt crises of the 1980s. The library became my workplace for the rest of the week as I was granted a one-week visitor pass.

On Wednesday 8th March we had our first project meeting with Prof. Schenk and Dr. Mourlon-Druol. We discussed at length our research interests and potential collaborative research. We also talked about the need of creating a dynamic network for the doctoral-postdoctoral staff of the UPIER project. I also met with Catherine Lefèvre and we discussed how to create a space of interaction between doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from Glasgow, Geneva, Madrid and Uppsala. We eventually decided to create a group on Slack – a cloud-based team collaboration tool, which would allow us to exchange messages and share documents or other kind of information immediately. A link to the group internal communication platform has been added to the UPIER project website and will be extended to other members of the project. We also talked about the possibility of organizing conference calls on Skype for discussing our research. The idea is to have our own space of discussion, separate from the workshops foreseen for the project, where we can present our research to the others in a more informal way. We will discuss this idea with the other doctoral-postdoctoral members during UPIER’s first workshop, which will be hosted in Madrid on 27th and 28 April 2017.

On Thursday 9th March, I presented my UPIER working paper “International money markets, liquidity risk and financial cooperation in the wake of the Latin American debt crisis of 1982” in the ‘work in progress workshop’ of the University of Glasgow’s School of Social and Political Sciences. The discussion was very stimulating and I was able to gather very useful feedback to improve my paper. Prof. Schenk provided me with further comments and suggestions during the more detailed discussion of my paper that we had during the lunch that followed the workshop. Our last meeting was the following day; we discussed her paper on the sovereign debt crisis of the 1980s and the restructuring of commercial bank loans of debtor countries. At the end of the meeting I went to the airport and got my flight back to Geneva after a very fruitful week in Glasgow.

By Sebastian Alvarez

April 2017, Geneva

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