Latin America Region: Interview with Carlos Lozano, Director of the LA Region

By Carlos Lozano - Director of the LA Region and Stefano Bregni - Vice-President for Member and Global Activities

This is the eigth article in the series started in November 2016 and published monthly in the IEEE ComSoc Global Communications Newsletter, which covers all areas of IEEE ComSoc Member and Global Activities. In this series of articles, I introduce the six MGA Directors (Sister and Related Societies; Membership Services; AP, NA, LA, EMEA Regions) and the two Chairs of the Women in Communications Engineering (WICE) and Young Professionals (YP) Standing Committees. In each article, one by one they present their sector activities and plans.

In this issue, I interview Carlos Lozano, Director of the Latin America Region.

IEEE current grade description Count of
Affiliate 9
Associate Member 10
Fellow 1
Graduate Student Member 70
Life Fellow 1
Life Member 17
Life Senior 17
Member 538
Senior Member 113
Student Member 157
Total 933
Table 1. Members by category in the Latin America Region.

Carlos A. Lozano Garzon is Head of the postgraduate degree in Information Security at the Universidad Catolica de Colombia, Colombia. He received his Ph.D. degree from both the Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, and the Universida de Girona, Spain, in 2017. From 2005 to 2012, he was an assistant professor at the Universidad de San Buenaventura, Colombia. As an IEEE ComSoc volunteer in the Latin-America Region, Carlos has served as DLT/DSP Coordinator, Membership Development Coordinator, ComSoc Student Chapter Advisor, ComSoc Colombia Chapter Chair, and Technical Activities Coordinator at ComSoc Colombia. He served on the organizing committee of the IEEE Colombian Conference on Communications and Computing, the IEEE Latin-American Conference on Communications, and the IEEE Conference of the Andean Council. He was the Publicity Vicechair for Latin-America for IEEE Globecom 2015.

It is my true pleasure to interview Carlos, my friend for a very long time, and offer him the opportunity to outline his initiatives and plans in the LA Region.

Bregni: Hola Carlos! Welcome to the Global Communications Newsletter. Would you please introduce the IEEE ComSoc Latin America Region to our readers?

Lozano: In Latin America, ComSoc has a presence in 16 countries through 24 professional chapters and 43 student chapters distributed in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The number of ComSoc members in the LA Region is 933 in total (as of April 2017), distributed as shown in the Table.

Bregni: How is the LA Board organized?

Lozano: Our Latin America Board is responsible for stimulating, coordinating and promoting the activities of ComSoc members and chapters throughout the LA region. This Board is composed of the following volunteers:

  • Secretary and Membership Development: Ignacio Castillo
  • Technical Activities: José David Cely
  • Awards: Lisandro Zambenedetti
  • Global Communications Newsletter Reporter: Carlos Martínez
  • Social Networks: Ana Maria Ospina
  • Industry Relations Committee: Pedro Aguilera
  • Student Activities Committee: Maytee Zambrano
  • DLT and DSP Coordinator: Carlos Eduardo Velasquez
  • Advisory Committee: Nelson Fonseca
  • Advisory Committee: Araceli Garcia
  • Advisory Committee: Ricardo Veiga

In this two years we want to improve the board’s communication with chapter chairs in order to provide better support for their local activities; propose strategies to enroll industry professionals to participate in these activities; encourage the grade advancement of our members; and finally to strengthen our regional conference, the IEEE Latin-American Conference on Communications.

Bregni: Every year, Regional Boards assign the Chapter Achievement Award to the best Chapter of the year in the Region, based on successful activities reported. How do you select the CAA Winner in the Latin America Region?

Lozano: In order to select the winner of the Chapter Achievement Award, we examined questionnaires of 19 Chapters, reporting their activities in the previous year. Among those, the activities of the Panama Chapter were considered outstanding. Through a joint effort with IEEE local chapters and other organizations such as 5G Americas, the chapter succeeded in promoting the importance of ComSoc in the development and implementation of actual and future technologies. The Panama Chapter Chair is Dr. Maytee Zambrano. She was invited to receive their award at the Awards Luncheon Ceremony at the recent IEEE GLOBECOM 2016 Conference in Washington, DC.

Bregni: Do you have any other significant LA Region Award?

Lozano: Nowadays, we have two Awards to recognize our regional members:

  • Young Professional Award, created with the purpose of rewarding a member with an outstanding and promising professional record in the field of communications.
  • Distinguished Service Award, given to a member who made significant contributions to the development of our Society activities in the Region. For 2016, the awarded members were Leandro Aparecido Villas and Carlos Martinez, respectively.

Bregni: What are the main challenges of the LA Region, in your opinion?

Lozano: We have many challenges in our region, but I think right now the most relevant are the following:

  • Declining membership
  • Lack of interest of practitioners in the ComSoc activities
  • Need for programs to directly support ComSoc Student Chapters.

Coping with these three issues is the base of our plan for this year.

Bregni: What are the best programs in the LA Region?

Lozano: In order to provide more benefits to our members, we are developing a webinar series program. In the past two years, we worked in conjunction with the LA Computer Society on a webinar series pilot program that included 16 sessions. The lectures were presented in Spanish, Portuguese or English1. Through this pilot we could impact many young professional and student members, as well as many people who were not yet members of IEEE or our Society. For this year, we are involving the chapter chairs in order to include more lecturers and more attendees. We are currently working on the topic list and the schedule for the webinars that we plan to develop in the next semester.

Bregni: Can you speak about the DLT in the LA Region? Is it very important in particular for the LA Region?

Lozano: In our region, one of the most successful programs is ComSoc’s Distinguished Lecturer Tour (DLT). Through this program our members have access to top-of-the-line lectures delivered by premier lecturers. Also, it is important to note that the chapters use these lectures to attract more members. All the lecturers, using their own style, act as ambassadors who encourage the attendees to join our Society. In 2016 we organized four tours for eight different sections and 14 cities; for 2017 we have already developed three tours for eight different sections and 10 cities.

Bregni: Can you say something about the IEEE Latin-American Latin America Region/Continued from page 1 Conference on Communications (IEEE LATINCOM)? Why is it important for the LA Region?

Lozano: IEEE LATINCOM is a series of international conferences organized by the ComSoc Latin America Region, which was created in 2009. LATINCOM has been held in Medellin (Colombia, 2009), Bogota (Colombia, 2010), Belem do Pará (Brasil, 2011), Quenca (Ecuador, 2012), Santiago do Chile (Chile, 2013), Cartagena de Indias (Colombia, 2014), Arequipa (Perú, 2015), and Medellin (Colombia, 2016). This year, the conference will be held in Guatemala City on 8–10 November 2017. IEEE LATINCOM covers the scope of all ComSoc Technical Committees and has a broad technical program that includes renowned keynote speakers and comprehensive tutorials presenting the state of the art in communications. Its prime goal is to provide a platform for researchers and practitioners in Latin America to share research and development results, to meet and to network. This conference is an attempt by our society to reach out to the members and to offer them a venue that meets the specific needs of our region.

Bregni: How was the last Latin America Regional Chapter Chair Congress?

Lozano: The 2016 Latin America Regional Chapter Chair Congress (LA-RCCC 2016) was held in Medellin, Colombia on 14–15 November 2016, in conjunction with IEEE LATINCOM 2016. The LA-RCCC was a very successful meeting that had the participation of 17 Chapter Chairs, five LA ComSoc Board members, three Distinguished ComSoc Volunteers (Vice President of Member and Global Activities, Director of Membership Services, and Director of the North America Region), the ComSoc Executive Director, and the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society President. As a result of this meeting we proposed an ambitious plan for the next few years, focused on increasing membership engagement, especially for young members and practitioners; qualification of our members; promoting member elevations and regional candidates to the Distinguished Lecturer Program; and a joint effort with other Societies in our region to promote projects with a higher social impact.

Bregni: To conclude, can you say anything else to our readers?

Lozano: We encourage our members to be involved in our committees with the aim of strengthening them and being able to develop the programs and projects proposed for the years to come.