In the first two weeks of January, we had the first EA conferences to take place in Latin America and India: EAGxLatAm in Mexico City and EAGxIndia in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Lots of EAGx events happen every year, and we don’t usually post about each one. But I think these events are particularly special as two of the largest EA conferences to take place in LMICs (Low and Middle Income Countries) and the first ever in each region. So, I wanted to share a bit more about how they went.
Tl;DR: they went well.
EAGxLatAm was organised by community builders from the Spanish-speaking EA community with support from CEA. Over 200 people attended the event: ~32% of attendees came from within Mexico, ~13% from the US, ~12% from Colombia, ~7% from Brazil, ~5% from Chile and ~5% from Spain. There were also attendees from several other countries including Argentina, Peru, the Philippines, Canada, and countries in Europe.
The event hosted talks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and attendees could mark on their name badges which languages they spoke. Sessions included:
- A talk on the high-impact careers service, Carreras con Impacto;
- A virtual Q&A with Toby Ord to discuss existential risks and the role of LMICs in tackling them;
- Racionalidad para principiantes (Rationality for beginners) by Laura González Salmerón;
- A panel on Riesgos Catastróficos Globales (Global Catastrophic Risks);
- A panel on AI safety with staff from OpenAI, Redwood Research, CSER and Epoch;
- A talk on Animal Welfare cause prioritisation by Daniela Romero Waldhorn (Rethink Priorities);
- A talk by JPAL staff on ‘Applying evidence to reduce intimate partner violence’;
- A talk on local cause prioritisation by Luis Mota (Global Priorities Institute);
- A panel on EA in LMICs with EA community builders from Brazil, the Spanish-speaking community, the Philippines, Nigeria, South Africa, and EA Anywhere;
- A talk by Vida Plena (a new organisation incubated by Charity Entrepreneurship focused on mental health in Latin America);
- Meetups for attendees from Mexico, Chile/Argentina, Colombia/Perú, Brazil and Spain.
The event received a likelihood to recommend score of 9.07/10 and attendees made an average of 9.37 new connections. Some quotes from the feedback survey I enjoyed reading:
- “I had a 1-1 with someone else interested in nuclear security and nuclear winter research, and we're developing an online reading group curriculum to [ideally] launch in March!"
- “I got convinced on deciding to focus on [sic] direct work on ai safety by talking to [two other attendees].”
- “I met Rob Wiblin at lunch and I didn't recognize him."
- One attendee described the event to a CEA colleague as “the best weekend of their life”.
The event wasn’t perfect, of course. Several attendees reported that there was too much content in English that some attendees couldn’t follow, and some of the snacks and beverages seemed low quality. We hope to do even better next time!
EAGxIndia was organised by community builders based in India with support from CEA. 163 people attended: ~70% of attendees came from within India, ~9% from the UK and ~9% from the US. The rest came from Singapore, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil.
The sessions were all in English, and included:
- A talk on South Asian Air Quality by Santosh Harish (Open Philanthropy);
- An AI governance Q&A with Michael Aird (Rethink Priorities);
- An update from the Fish Welfare Initiative, who are based in India;
- A talk on AI safety research agendas and opportunities by Adam Gleave (FAR AI);
- Two sessions led by Charity Entrepreneurship;
- A workshop on what the EA community should look like in India, led by Indian community builders and CEA staff;
- A talk mapping the farmed animal welfare space in India by Jayashima Nuggehalli (Global Food Partners);
- A talk on biosecurity in Asia by Vorathep Sachdev;
- A talk on Development economics, longtermism, and Indian economic growth by John Firth (Global Priorities Institute).
The event received a likelihood to recommend score of 8.77/10 and attendees made an average of 12.36 new connections. This is the highest number of average new connections we’ve recorded at an EA Global or EAGx event. Some quotes from the feedback survey, which suggest some impactful connections took place:
- I attended a talk by Michael Aird about AI Governance and the result was finding out new career opportunities within the AI policy and advocacy space.
- Talk by Karolina about Charity Entrepreneurship was most valuable, as it has made me seriously consider applying for CE's next incubation round, and even in general, made me consider starting my own organisation at some point, even if not now.
- I met X who might be a good candidate for a job I’m hiring for.
For next time, we want to make sure that everyone can stay in comfortable accommodation (one hotel that lots of attendees stayed in was noticeably worse than the other) and probably ask the speakers to go more into detail (some attendees reported the talks as being too introductory or light on detail).
I’d like to give a huge shout-out and congratulations to the organising teams of these events.
- For EAGxLatinAmerica, this was Sandra Malagón, Laura González Salmerón, Ángela Aristizábal, Hugo Ikta, Miriam Huerta, Miguel Alvarado, and many wonderful volunteers.
- For EAGxIndia, this was Anubhuti Jain, Pratik Agarwal, Dee Kathuria, Nihal Mohan, Harriet Patterson, Amalie Farestvedt, and many fantastic volunteers and advisors.
We (CEA) were already excited about supporting more events outside of EA hubs, especially in LMICs. These events make us even more excited that such events can produce a lot of value, and we’re looking forward to sharing more about our work supporting EA communities in LMICs.
My thanks to Amy Labenz, Angelina Li, Will Fenning and many of the organisers listed above for their feedback on this post. My thanks to Oscar Howie for suggesting I post this.
This is higher than any EA Global event in 2022 which were all between 9.01 and 9.03.
This is higher than the average number of connections at EAG SF 2022 (8.56) and EAG DC 2022 (8.44), but lower than EAG London 2022 (9.52).
This is lower than the EA Global events that took place in 2022 but higher than several other EAGx events from this year.
I couldn't complete the exit survey for EAGx Latam due to a technical glitch, but just to add a little anecdotal evidence to its counterfactual impact:
As one of the student community builders from Chile, one of the most surprising things about EAGx LatAm was that it was the first time we met EA professionals from Chile. Most of them were people that we would probably have never found if we had not gone to the conference.
Thanks to this, we were able to start a national/city group just from the sheer amount of Chilean attendees to the conference, making it the third national group to emerge in Latin America and perhaps (sorry Mexico) the one with the biggest number of professionals.
We even met Rob Gledhill (the head of groups at CEA) for the first time, even though he lived in the same city as us. Rob, if you're reading this, I'm still sorry for abandoning you at the fountain 😅
This is so awesome to hear! Thanks for sharing and good luck with the group!
EAGxIndia was wonderful! I went to many conferences over the last couple of years, and I have to say that EAGx in India had the warmest, kindest and most comfortable, and welcoming vibe; and all of that on top of being impactful. Huge congratulations and gratitude toward the organizers! :)
I can confirm that these specific attendees were genuinely happy and interested. 😁
Well done to everyone involved, I think these are important steps to improving EA’s cultural and intellectual diversity, which will hopefully improve our impact!
This is so amazing, congratulations for everyone involved! It makes me very proud to see these conferences organised around the world!
I wanted to post to say I agree, EAGxLatinAmerica was wonderful - so exciting to meet such interesting people doing great work!
Big L for Rob there
Thank you for writing this, and to everyone who worked hard to make these EAGx conferences happen!
Love seeing this, thanks for sharing!
I agree the LMIC panel at #EAGxLatAm was a very interesting, eye-opening and fruitful discussion!
Kudoes to the Panelists and Moderators!
I can confirm that the EAGxLatAm was indeed thoroughly awesome! Also that might have been me who spoke to someone from CEA but just to clarify, I said that it was "one of the best experiences of my life", not“the best weekend of my life” - that would be a big claim and hard to prove... however it's definitely up there! And it may have been someone else who did really say that, in which case, sweet! :D