Cultural and Humanitarian Agents


Friday, December 7, 2018, 6:30pm to 8:30pm


Harvard Hall, Room 201

"The Informal Economy: A Challenge to the Social Contract"


Salvador del Solar, Former Minister of Culture, Peru.

Co-sponsored by the Mahindra Humanities Center.


Alen Agaronov
Jahnvi Singh


Doris Sommer, Faculty Associate; Chair, Weatherhead Initiative on Afro-Latin American Studies. Ira Jewell Williams, Jr. Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; Professor of African and African American Studies, Department of African and African American Studies; Director, Cultural Agents Initiative, Harvard University.

Vincenzo Bollettino, Director, Resilient Communities Program, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University.

1 hour presentation will be followed by discussion. Event is free and open to the public. RSVP is optional via Eventbrite.


What is known as the "informal economy” – a phenomenon especially prevalent in highly unequal, developing countries – needs to be examined, discussed, and, arguably, redefined from angles different than those that are economic. Rather than just an informal “market,” the case could be made for an informal "way of life.” This seminar hinges on the thesis that if democracy is conceived as built on the foundations of a social contract, what are the political implications of having three quarters of the population living in the fringes of the regulatory framework? Is it possible, or what does it mean, to lead an informal way of life and still be regarded as a citizen?

Former Minister of Culture of Peru, Salvador del Solar is an actor, filmmaker, and lawyer. He holds a master’s in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs of Syracuse University with a focus in Intercultural Communication and Negotiation. He taught Political Communication at the Catholic University of Peru and written a weekly column on public affairs for the newspaper El Comercio. Salvador is currently a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.