Gonzalo Benetti Hernández is an Argentinian political advisor, public policy designer and implementer, a Global Shapers Community Advisory Council Member and Apolitical Foundation New Voices Councilor.
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How would you describe your political path?
I grew up listening to tales of history and government. Politics and diplomacy practically run in my blood. One of my ancestors founded a town, another was a national congressman, my grandfather was chief editor of an important newspaper, my aunt was the director of the university’s school of political science, and the list continues.
My personal journey started when I was 18. A flood hit my city and it particularly impacted the poor and vulnerable. I volunteered to gather essential data and register basic needs of victims in low income areas. The memory of those suffering haunts me until this day. I remember overcrowded spaces and children sleeping on wet floors of demolished houses. People lacked basic human essentials. They were overlooked by the rest of the world. That day, I realized my purpose was to work to achieve an equal society.
I’ve had the opportunity to work as an advisor and designer of policies, as well as a full-time advocate in civil society organizations. I consider myself a public entrepreneur and a shaper of the future in which I want to live.
What are the most useful lessons you've learnt on the way?
We are the networks we build. Nobody can change the world alone. Connections can be extremely effective and yet detrimentally weak if not handled with sincerity and genuine interaction. Your efforts to connect and work with people shouldn’t be driven by pure personal interest. Adam Grant talks about givers and takers. I believe that if you are involved in politics for good reasons, you’ll always be a giver, and all that you give to others will come back to you in the end. Generating big impact takes time and patience, and one must always remember that the ends do not justify the means. What matters is how you arrive at your destination.
“Politicians are not aliens. They are our neighbors, friends, family members, and come from our societies.”
What are the top three things that could be done to get courageous, ethical and trusted politicians in your area?
Be the best version of yourself and avoid the overly slick communication gurus. The time to be honest and genuine with people has come. Those two main character traits are the basis for any real deep discussion. You’ll need to have emotional intelligence and learn to listen actively, particularly to those who think differently.
Politics should start from the bottom of the class ladder and work its way up. Latin America has the most significant social gaps of any region in the world. The only way to address this is to include underrepresented groups in the design of the public policies.
Always include gender equality and environmental ethics in all decision making. We live in the 21st century!
What ideas and/or people are inspiring you at the moment?
My biggest political inspiration is the “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo”, an organization founded by grandmothers who lost grandchildren in Argentina’s last dictatorship. They consistently remind us of the importance of democracy and justice, two concepts that are subject for continuous improvement and adjustment.
Additionally, I’m very happy to see Luiz Inacio “Lula” Da Silva returning to power in Brazil. Twenty-eight-million Brazilians came out of poverty during his last presidency.
What story do you want communities to tell about politicians?
Politicians are not aliens. They are our neighbors, friends, family members, and come from our societies. The biggest challenge we face is to incubate and prepare the society for producing successful positive representation of our community. A politician is just a normal citizen that chose to take matters into their own hands.
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