Country Conditions in Central America and Asylum Decision-Making: Public Forum
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Building on Center-based research on factors driving Central American migration, CLALS and the Washington College of Law convened a two-day workshop to share insights across disciplinary perspectives in order to enhance scholarship and better inform lawyers and other practitioners working with Central American asylum seekers. With support from the National Science Foundation, the workshop connected social scientists with expertise on conditions driving migration from Central America with legal scholars and practitioners engaged in innovative thinking around ways to bridge the gap between complex forms of persecution in Central America and protections offered under U.S. immigration law. Nearly 130 people attended the opening workshop sessions.
Civil Society's Role in Combating Climate Change: Delhi, India
December 8-9, 2016
As a part of the Religion and Climate Change in Cross-Regional Perspective project, CLALS organized and co-sponsored a two-day workshop in Delhi, India which was hosted by the Observer Research Foundation. Together with the American Center in New Delhi, CLALS also organized a public policy forum, which featured AU professors Ken Conca and Evan Berry together with a US Embassy representative and Indian officials experienced with climate change policy. This forum considered the role of civil society in shaping policy responses to climate change, as a moral call to action, and compared the US with India, while considering how civil society might serve as a catalyst for bilateral cooperation around present and future climate challenges.
Judges, Accountability and Challenges to Democratic Governance in Brazil
Monday, November 21, 2016
In the wake of scandals such as Lava Jato, Brazilian democracy has come under threat in recent years, with different actors such as federal prosecutors and the media challenging liberal democracy. This panel addressed judicial power and the state of democratic governance in Brazil, featuring the following panelists: CLALS Research Fellow Fabio Kerche, Associate Director of the Atlantic Council Andrea Murta, and Media Researcher Paula Orlando. This panel was moderated by SIS Professor Matt Taylor and introduced by CLALS Director Eric Hershberg.
Beyond the "Three Amigos": Where's the North American Agenda Now?
Thursday, October 27, 2016
As part of the Robert A. Pastor North American Research Initiative, CLALS and the School of International Service hosted a two-day workshop of emerging scholars to discuss the new agenda for North American integration. This public panel showcased five international scholars and their work on North American integration, including themes such as migration, populism, the environment, and governance in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
A definitive voice in the world of Mexican literature, Margo Glantz is an acclaimed writer, essayist, scholar, and literary critic whose unique work has traversed genres for nearly seven decades. Through CLALS's partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute, Glantz and a panel of AU scholars and others engaged in conversation about Glantz's life and universally-celebrated work, emphasizing Glantz's perspective about the fundamental role of literature in contemporary Mexican society.
Latinas/os in the Upcoming Elections: Trends in Politics
Monday, October 17, 2016
This panel discussed the role of the Latino/a vote in the 2016 presidential election, drawing upon data and field research to understand the diversity within Latina/o communities, as well as new voting trends. Speakers included Dr. Mark López, Director of Hispanic Research at Pew Research Center; Valeria Ojeda, President of the Kennedy Political Union; and Ed O'Keefe, Political Reporter at The Washington Post and AU alum.
DC Area Survey Report Release: "Neighborhood Diversity and Well-Being: A Pilot of American University's DC Area Survey"
Monday, October 3, 2016
Researchers and practitioners shared findings from the inaugural DC Area Survey (DCAS), a project headed by American University's Metropolitan Policy Center in the School of Public Affairs. The survey of over 1,200 households captured resident perceptions of neighborhood satisfaction, health, crime, and governance in ethnically and racially diverse communities in the metropolitan DC area.
In partnership with the School of Communication and the School of Public Affairs, the Spanish-language news channel NTN24 recorded their weekly show Poder Latino in AU's Media Innovation Lab. CLALS Director Eric Hershberg, CLALS Fellow Michael McCarthy, and National Council of La Raza's Deputy Vice President Clarissa Martínez discussed the dynamic role of the Latino youth vote in the upcoming presidential election. Select AU students served as audience members for the event, engaging in questions and commentary with the panelists.
A Creative and Cultural Industries Symposium: "The Future of the Latin American, Caribbean, and South Florida Economies"
May 20, 2016
Latin America and the Caribbean are now in the midst of an impressive phase of cultural innovation. In this Symposium, CLALS collaborated with the Broward County Cultural Division and the Inter-American Development Bank's (IDB) Cultural, Solidarity, and Creativity Affairs Division.
This unique convening of cultural economists and other experts on the creative economy and creative cities, examined the contribution of creativity to economic and social development in Latin American and the Caribbean, and its impact on the arts economy in South Florida.
Latinos and the U.S. Farmworker Rights Movement: The Traumas of Then and Now
April 8, 2016
Lori Flores, Assistant Professor of History at Stony Brook University, discussed her new book Grounds for Dreaming (Yale University Press, 2016). Flores' work analyzes the relationships among Mexican Americans, bracero guestworkers, and undocumented immigrants in their struggles for civil and labor rights in California's Salinas Valley from the 1940s to the present.
Co-sponsored with the Department of History; Humanities Lab Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies Collaborative; and the Department of World Languages & Cultures.
American University's 2nd Annual Latino Public Affairs Forum: THE ROLE OF THE LATINO VOTE IN THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
February 29, 2016
CLALS and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies jointly sponsored the 2nd Annual Latino Public Affairs Forum, which considered the impact of the Latino vote in the 2016 presidential elections. Further information about ALPAF 2016, along with a video recording of the Forum panels, is available on the ALPAF webpage.
Capital Start-Ups: What We Know and Need to Know about Latino Entrepreneurs in the DC-Metro Region
February 18, 2016
CLALS and AU's Kogod School of Business hosted a public forum to release a report analyzing data from a survey of 200 Latino entrepreneurs/small business owners from across the DC-metro region. Co-principal investigators Prof. Barbara Bird (Kogod) and CLALS Research Fellow Mike Danielson presented the report's findings and discussed opportunities for future research as part of the Center's initiative on Latino Entrepreneurs. Alfredo Casta (Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Cascades Technologies, Inc.) and Tara Palacios (BizLaunch) offered their insights on the implications of the report for policy makers and service providers as they develop initiatives to address the needs of Latino entrepreneurs throughout the DC metropolitan area.
Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation's Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, the project sought to build knowledge about the role of religious ideas and actors in shaping public debates about environmental issues throughout the region.
These fora were part of an effort to disseminate findings beyond the confines of academe, reaching out to journalists, practitioner communities, policy decision-makers, and public sector organizations. The purpose was to build conversations that put knowledge to use in confronting the challenges of environmental conflict and climate change, while highlighting the potential role of religion in such efforts.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the Cuba Initiative, CLALS was pleased to support the inaugural Cuba Summit, which offered insight and analysis on pressing issues facing potential investors in Cuba. Participants heard from Economist editors, senior leaders, and other experts discussing how to navigate the short- and long-term risks and opportunities of doing business on the island. Included among these panelists was CLALS Research fellow Ricardo Torres, who spoke on the future of monetary reform, as well as about human capital and market regulation on the island. News coverage of the event was provided by Cuba Journal and Voice of America. Audio recordings of the panels are available for streaming via The Economist Events YouTube Channel.
Do voters in the Heartland support peeling away the Cuban travel restrictions and scrapping the embargo overall? At this event, the Atlantic Council released the first Heartland poll where voters from Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana -- states critical in the presidential election and in congressional discussions -- spoke out on the need for further changes to US-Cuba policy.
Una noche con María Elena Salinas, Univision Anchor
November 16, 2015
María Elena Salinas visited a packed house at AU's School of Communications and discussed her work as an award-winning news anchor at Univision and trailblazing Latina journalist. Topics covered included migration from Central American, Spanish language media, and the importance of the Latino vote.
Co-sponsored by the Kay Spiritual Life Center, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Community Engagement and Service, and School of Communication
An Evening with Mexican Filmmaker Guita Schyfter
October 28, 2015
Through its partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute, CLALS hosted acclaimed Mexican film director Guita Schyfter for a panel discussion and Q&A session with the audience. Joining her were Amy Oliver of the Department of Philosophy and Religion; Jeff Middents of the Department of Literature; and Núria Vilanova of the Department of World Languages and Cultures.
Biography: Raised in Costa Rica by Eastern European Jewish refugee parents, Guita Schyfter received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1969. After receiving a scholarship from the British Council, Schyfter studied audiovisual production at BBC in London. As a television and film director in Mexico City, Schyfter worked for Telesecundaria and the Mexican National Archive before making her first major film, Novia que te vea, in 1993. Novia won several major awards in Mexico, including the highly prestigious Ariel Award for Best First Film. Incorporating elements of her experience of the Jewish diaspora in Mexico, Schyfter’s cinematography blends memory and narrative testimony to question everyday assumptions of identity. Los laberintos de la memoria (2007) and Huérfanos (2014) are her two most recent full-length features.
Corruption, Violence, and Reform: Honduras’ Struggle for Democratic Governance
October 13, 2015 | Inter-American Dialogue
Among Latin American countries, the challenges faced by Honduras today are some of the most severe. Ongoing corruption scandals, lackluster growth, and persistent violence have hobbled the public’s trust in politics and public institutions. At the same time, reform efforts to date have been halfhearted. The recently announced OAS “Support Mission against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras” (MACCIH) has been met with mixed reactions. Many are skeptical about the government’s commitment to fighting corruption and improving democratic governance through existing institutions and insist on new mechanisms.
In light of these issues, CLALS and the Inter-American Dialogue hosted Honduran economist Hugo Noé Pino, who discussed the country’s current crisis and propose alternative solutions. He was joined by Carlos Ponce of Freedom House, who has followed Honduras closely for many years and provided commentary and additional insights on the situation and prospects for reform.
Over 50 guests joined us from nonprofits, think tanks, media organizations, and the U.S. government.
Religion and Climate Change in the Public Sphere: the Role of Journalists and the Media
September 28, 2015
This workshop, in partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation and the Pulitzer Center, brought together journalists and academic experts following the papal visit to the United States and using the the appearance of the papal encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si',as the workshop's orienting point of reference.
This day-long workshop will assessed the evolution (or lack thereof) of prevailing journalistic and media frames for reportage on the role of religion in public discussion, debate, and activism on climate change. An important concern throughout was how the political agency of religion is represented in media coverage and to identify prevailing frames and their effects, to explore alternative frames, and to suggest what might be missing from such reportage and public debate. The workshop consisted of three panels:
Panel 1 - Emphasized the impact of the papal encyclical in predominantly Catholic nations, among prominent Catholic political leaders, and in terms of influencing social conservative positions on climate change.
Panel 2 - Discussed the influence of the encyclical on other kinds of discourses and approaches to the climate challenge.
Panel 3 - Examined how Laudato Si' compares to diverse other religious engagements with the environment.
This meeting was open to the public and co-organized by CLALS and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The workshop represented a continuation of collaborations between the Pulitzer Center and American University, including AU’s School of Communication. It is also part of a Luce Foundation-funded CLALS project on Democratic Contestation in Latin America, dedicated to exploring the relationship of religion to the environment across the region. The workshop drew in a crowd of approximately fifty students, faculty, and community members.
Background: The issue of press freedom and ownership is a pressing one globally. Globovision, one of the most important media groups in Venezuela where stringent media laws operate, offers 24/7 television media coverage. The issue of independence and editorial policy over the last two years under new ownership has been questioned.
Conceptual and Methodological Approaches to the Study of Safe and Inclusive Cities in Latin America*
May 14, 2015 | Washington Office on Latin America
Scholars involved in three projects supported by the Safe and Inclusive Cities program discussed conceptual and methodological advances to address pressing urban issues in Latin America. Key findings were presented of recent work in Central America; Chile, Colombia, and Peru; and Venezuela.
Roberto Briceño-León, Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia
Larissa Brioso, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales-El Salvador
Rodolfo Calderón, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales-Costa Rica
Hugo Frühling, Centro de Estudios de Seguridad Ciudadana en la Universidad de Chile
Co-hosted by the Washington Office on Latin America and American University's Center for Latin American & Latino Studies.
Policy Implications of Recent Research on Building Safe and Inclusive Cities in Latin America*
May 13, 2015 | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Over 55 guests joined us for a panel discussion on policy implications of recent studies of urban violence in Latin America and their relevance for building safe and inclusive cities throughout the region.
Jennifer Salahub, International Development Research Centre
Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales-Costa Rica
Roberto Briceño-León, Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia
Hugo Frühling, Centro de Estudios de Seguridad Ciudadana en la Universidad de Chile
Adriana Beltrán,Washington Office on Latin America
Adam Blackwell, Organization of American States
Co-hosted by the Wilson Center's Urban Sustainability Laboratory and Latin American Program, and American University's CLALS and Metropolitan Studies Center.
Presented by the AU School of Communications (SOC), the National Gallery of Art, and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies.
Cruzamentos featured both recent and historic works representing the remarkable wave of documentary filming that occurred after the fall of Brazil's military dictatorship. Cruzamentos translates as "intersections," a nod to the fusion of influences that makes Brazilian culture so distinctive.
CLALS extends our thanks to the following Affiliated Faculty and Doctoral Students who offered their expertise presenting films during the series: Renato Alvim, Jeff Middents, Paula Orlando, and Ana Serra.
Iracema, directed by Jorge Brodanzky and Orlando Senna (1974, 90mins)
Housemaids, directed by Gabriel Mascaro (2013, 76mins) and Santiago, directed by Joao Moreira Salles (1992-2007, 80mins)
Like Water Through Stone, directed by Marilia Rocha (2009, 85mins)
Black Orpheus, directed by Marcel Camus (1959, 100mins)
Isle of Flowers, directed by Jorge Furtado (1989, 13mins) and ABC of a Strike, directed by Leon Hirszman (1979-1990, 86mins)
Socorro Nobre, directed by Walter Salles (1996, 23mins) and Central Station, directed by Walter Salles (1998, 113mins)
Seminario: Globalización, Élites, Estados y Reconfiguración del Poder en Centroamérica
February 19, 2015 | Guatemala City
At a conference on globalization, elites, and the reconfiguration of power in Central America, Director Eric Hershberg joined distinguished scholars from the U.S., Europe, and Central America to present two newly-published books featuring findings from the Center's project "The Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America."
The event was jointly sponsored by CLALS, the Instituto de Investigaciones y Gerencia Política (INGEP) at the Universidad Rafael Landívar, and the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (ICEFI).
ALPAF 2015: Prospects & Implications of Immigration Reform Policies 2015-2016
January 15, 2015
The inaugural Annual Latino Public Affairs Forum (ALPAF) considered the prospects and possibilities for immigration policy during the last two years of the Obama administration. The half-day event featured panels of academics, political analysts, advocates, and other stakeholders. Further information about ALPAF 2015, along with a video recording of the Forum panels, is available on the ALPAF webpage.
UNACCOMPANIED MIGRANT CHILDREN FROM CENTRAL AMERICA: CONTEXT, CAUSES, AND RESPONSES - PRESENTATION OF A CLALS REPORT
December 4, 2014
CLALS researchers presented findings from a Center study exploring the factors behind the migration of Central American children and families from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The report is part of a Ford Foundation-supported initiative to inform advocates and practitioners working on behalf of these new arrivals, and focuses on three key topics:
The unprecedented expansion in the number of youth and family border crossings in the context of long-term migration trends from the region;
The country conditions ("push factors") driving the exodus of Central American minors and families; and
The new arrivals' prospects for remaining in the U.S. in light of available forms of deportation relief as well as current policy and advocacy responses.
Over 65 guests were in attendance, including representatives from several Central American embassies, Amnesty International, and D.C.-based immigrant advocacy organizations.
EMERGING DIRECTIONS IN LATINO STUDIES: A PANEL DISCUSSION
November 14, 2014
CLALS and the College of Arts and Sciences joined students, staff and faculty at a panel discussion on emerging directions in Latino Studies. An interactive Q&A session and reception followed presentations by three distinguished panelists:
Ali Valenzuela, Department of Politics, Princeton University;
Lázaro Lima, Department of American Studies and Department of Latin American & Iberian Studies, University of Richmond; and
Patricia Foxen, Department of Research, National Council on La Raza (NCLR).
Social Justice Movements: Religion, Sex, and Nature in Latin America
November 7, 2014
The panel discussion featured U.S. and Latin American experts and addressed religious engagement with two sets of contentious issues across the region: environmental justice, climate change, and the exploitation of natural resources, on the one hand, and gender, women’s reproductive rights, and sexual identity rights, on the other. Moderated by American University professors Evan Berry and Macarena Sáez, the panel explored religious responses to questions of the environment and gender as well as religion’s role in regional contestation around these questions. This event was part of a two-year CLALS project on Religion and Democratic Contestation in Latin America, generously funded by the Henry R. Luce Foundation’s Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.
BACK CHANNEL TO CUBA: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND HAVANA -- A CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHORS
NOVEMBER 4, 2014
CLALS Faculty Affiliate William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh talked about their new book chronicling the untold history of attempts at rapprochement and reconciliation between the United States and Cuba. From John F. Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis, to Henry Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Barack Obama's promise of a "new approach," LeoGrande and Kornbluh revealed a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, indicating a path toward better relations in the future.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children from Central America: Context, Causes, & Advocacy Responses
September 22, 2014 | New York City
As part of the Center's Ford Foundation-supported initiative aimed at informing advocates engaged in protecting the rights and welfare of unaccompanied minors from Central America, CLALS Director Eric Hershberg and Program Manager Dennis Stinchcomb presented an overview of the factors driving the recent wave of children and families from the region to an audience of over 50 advocates, social workers, and lawyers. Particular attention was paid to those contextual push factors that could be used as the basis for seeking deportation relief. CLALS staff were joined by WCL Professor Jayesh Rathod, who discussed U.S. jurisprudence on gang-based asylum claims and the state of due process and right-to-counsel litigation for unaccompanied minors.
In this effort, CLALS partnered with The Door, a NYC-based youth development agency at the forefront of advocating for unaccompanied migrant children in the metropolitan area.
Through its partnership with the Mexican Ministry of Culture, CLALS was pleased to welcome award-winning author Cristina Rivera Garza for a panel discussion on the place of writing and community in the context of contemporary violence. She was joined by Professor Jeff Middents from the Department of Literature and by Professors Núria Vilanova and Brenda Werth from the Department of World Languages and Cultures. More than 50 guests were in attendance.
Cristina Rivera Garza was born in northeast Mexico, received her doctorate in Latin American History at the University of Houston, and currently directs the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Rivera Garza is the only author who has won the prestigious Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize twice, first for her novel Nadie me verá llorar (2001) and again for her novel La muerte me da (2009). Her writing embodies various approaches (novels, short stories, essays, prose, blogs, and criticism), and her texts have been translated into English, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Korean.
Speaking about Writing Isn't Solitude: Dis/appropriation and Necrowriting Today, Dr. Rivera Garza explains, "We write with others. If today's technology has proven the communal foundation inherent to the writing process, then the context of horrifying violence characteristic of our time forces us to think critically about the always tense and meaningful relationships established between writing and community. Writing Isn't Solitude is a comparative exploration of contemporary productions of North American conceptualism, the new Mexican political poetry, the Spanish Mutant Fictioneers, and the post-exotic French. It is a journey out of the ivory tower of romantic stereotypes about writing. It is a dwelling in the commonality promised by our own words."
Cuba, the 2015 Americas Summit, and Beyond: Obstacles and Opportunities
September 4, 2014 | Ottawa, Canada
On the threshold of the 2015 Presidential Summit in Panama, a group of distinguished scholars, diplomats and practitioners gathered in Ottawa on September 4 to discuss the much-debated participation of Cuba in the upcoming OAS assembly. Sponsored by the University of Ottawa, American University, the Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Economicas y Sociales and the Latin America Study Group of the Canadian International Council, with funding from the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, the discussion analyzed past and present U.S.-Cuba relations in the context of an increasingly multipolar hemisphere and examined ways in which third-party stakeholders like Canada might encourage policy change to benefit long-term inter-American dynamics. During the discussion, the obstacles raised concerning Cuba's integration into the OAS included not only U.S. and Canadian objections about the country's noncompliance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter, but also the lack of coordinated political will in both Cuba and Washington to overcome tensions regarding Cuba's position in the hemisphere. Alternatively, points in favor of Cuba's inclusion in the Summit included the recognition that many OAS member states will not participate in a Summit that excludes Cuba and indications that Cuba would accept an invitation to the Summit if it were extended without conditions.
PANELISTS: Robert Fox, Executive Director, Oxfam-Canada; Eric Hershberg, Director of the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University; William LeoGrande, Dean Emeritus, American University; Albert Ramdin, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS); Arch Ritter, Carleton University & CIC LASG; Andres Serbin, Director of the Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Economicas y Sociales (CRIES); Geoff Thale, Senior Program Officer at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA); Stephen Baranyi, Associate Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.
Book Launch and Discussion: Police and Organized Crime in El Salvador
May 19, 2014
The infiltration of public institutions in Central America by organized criminal groups is a critical issue that has posed an increasing risk to democracy and the rule of law in various parts of the region over the last decade. This is among the many challenges awaiting the new administration in El Salvador that begins on June 1st.
A new book by Salvadoran journalist, former diplomat, and CLALS Senior Fellow Héctor Silva Ávalos illuminates a particular aspect of this problem. Silva shared the main findings of Infiltrators: A Chronicle of Corruption in the National Civil Police of El Salvador. The book's findings are based on archival and field research supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations.
We were delighted that Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), who has a longstanding interest in human rights and El Salvador's political process during the past three decades, and Steven Dudley, Co-Director of InSight Crime, provided commentary on Silva’s book, which was available for purchase at the session. A wide-ranging conversation followed opening comments. Watch a recording of the event
A Conversation with the President of Uruguay
May 13, 2014
American University was honored to welcome Uruguayan President José Mujica to campus.
On May 9, 2014 the Broward County Cultural Division convened a panel discussion on the contribution of creativity as a key element of economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The panel was comprised of members from the Inter-American Development Bank's Culture, Creativity, and Solidarity Affairs Division and from CLALS, including Director Eric Hershberg, Research Associate Professor Robert Albro, and Faculty Affiliates Andrew Taylor and Ximena Varela. Read more about the Center's Project on Creative and Cultural Industries in Latin America
Through its partnership with the Mexican Ministry of Culture, CLALS was pleased to welcome acclaimed novelist Mario Bellatin for a panel discussion on contemporary Mexican literature. He was joined by panelists Yuri Herrera, also a distinguished Mexican author, and Professors Ana Serra and Juliana Martínez from the Department of World Languages and Cultures. The event was held in Spanish with 90 people in attendance.
Mario Bellatin's approach to an experimental consciousness marks the standard of convex writing in contemporary Latin American literature. Bellatin was born in Mexico, grew up in Peru, and studied screenwriting in Cuba. Among his more well-known works is his book Flowers, which won the Premio Xavier Villaurrutia in 2001. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim grant in 2002, and Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa described him as "one of the most interesting writers that have arisen in Latin America in recent years." Read the New York Times profile of Bellatin
Élites, Estados y Reconfiguraciones del Poder en Centroamérica
April 9, 2014 | San Salvador
As part of its multi-year project on the Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America, CLALS convened a panel discussion to present project findings in San Salvador, El Salvador. Panelists discussed the principal changes and continuities in elite configurations and identified the mechanisms through which elites are currently engaging the economic, political, and social orders throughout the Central American isthmus. Based on project conclusions, panelists reflected on how these new elite configurations and the ways in which they wield their power impact issues of democratic governance for new and incoming administrations in El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Over 120 people were in attendance.
Eric Hershberg, Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University Benedicte Bull, Associate Professor at the Center for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo Ricardo Barrientos, Senior Economist and specialist in fiscal policy at the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi) Hugo Noé Pino, Economist of Honduras at the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi)
The Republicans' Latino Problem and How It Can Be Fixed
March 7, 2014
CLALS convened two panels of experts to discuss the future of Latino voters' relationship with the Republican Party. The first panel addressed the main issues complicating Latino support of the GOP, and the second panel presented how the party might seek to connect with Latino voters. Academics, analysts, and political strategists included Jason Casellas, Eric Hershberg, Sylvia Manzano, Ali Valenzuela, Jordan Fabian, Glen Bolger, Leslie Sanchez, and David Winston.
Scholars from the U.S. and Latin America gathered for a panel discussion about the engagement between religious actors in Latin American democracies and contentious issues of environmental justice, the exploitation of natural resources, and gender and sexuality-based rights.
A 20 años del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte: viejos problemas nuevos desafíos
January 23-24, 2014
Scholars gathered in Mexico City for a two-day conference exploring the past and future challenges of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), twenty years after its implementation. This conference was sponsored by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and co-sponsored by CLALS.
The Creative and Cultural Industries and the Future of Latin America’s Economy
November 25, 2013
Participants from across academic, policy, and practitioner communities concerned with the creative industries, as well as from the private sector, gathered for a symposium to address the relevance of Latin America’s creative and cultural industries to the region’s economy as a whole. The symposium consisted of two panels, the first analyzed new data for Latin America's creative industries and the second, connected data to broader trends within the region. This was the first of a series of events that aim to generate a framework for future research.
“From the Mines to the Streets: A Bolivian Activist’s Life” A Conversation with Félix Muruchi
November 6, 2013
Félix Muruchi Poma is a prominent indigenous rights activist. His personal history as a miner, activist, political prisoner and exile, and most recently indigenous rights lawyer provides an extraordinary lens into Bolivian struggles for social justice. Muruchi Poma discussed the evolving nature of Bolivia's processes of social change and his new book, From the Mines to the Streets: A Bolivian Activist's Life. Discussion after the presentation was led by Professors Robert Albro and Kevin Healy.
Tinker Field Research Grant Recipient Presentations
October 23, 2013
This year's Tinker Field Research Grant recipients traveled to Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico and Peru over the summer to conduct exploratory field research for their dissertation, thesis, or SRP. Three recipients, Michael Baney, Emma Fawcett, and Rachel Nadelman presented their findings and how their exploratory field research influenced their projects moving forward.
Passing as a Man: A Discussion of Gender and Identity in Cuba
October 1, 2013
Dr. Julio César González Pagés, an historian at the University of Havana, visited AU as part of the Center’s ongoing Cuba Initiative. Dr. González Pagés discussed his book Por andar vestida de hombre and also touched on an innovative project on masculinities, which he coordinates. His visit builds upon CLALS-sponsored collaboration between the Washington College of Law and the University of Havana around research addressing gender and sexuality in legal practice and law school curricula.
The Cinema of Mexican Filmmaker Arturo Ripstein
September 24, 2013
Through its partnership with the Mexican Ministry of Culture, CLALS welcomed acclaimed Mexican film director Arturo Ripstein to campus on Tuesday, September 24, 2013. Maestro Ripstein discussed his career and answered questions from a panel of CAS professors, including Jeffrey Middents, Ludy Grandas, Núria Vilanova, and Brenda Werth. Over 85 people were in attendance.
Global Ramifications of the Chilean Coup: 40 Years After
September 16, 2013
To mark the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Chilean coup, CLALS and the Washington College of Law (WCL) hosted a public event on September 16 to discuss the global ramifications of the coup forty years after.
Carlos Portales, Director, Program on International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy, Washington College of Law. Portales provided historical context and moderated the discussion. Eric Hershberg, Director, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and Professor of Government, American University. Hershberg discussed the ramifications of the coup for the political left in Spain and South America. Barbara Stallings, William R. Rhodes Research Professor and Director, Political Economy of Development Program, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University. Stallings provided an analysis of how the coup affected economic development models.
Claudio Grossman, Professor of Law, Dean, and Raymond Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law, Washington College of Law. Grossman discussed the role of the coup in the development of the international human rights regime.
The Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America
June 3, 2013
Selected findings of an ambitious two-year research project analyzing the composition and role of Central American elites were discussed across two panels: one assessing changes in the make-up and interests of elite groups in light of shifts in the economic order in Central America and the second focusing on how elites today interact with and influence the economic, political, and social orders. Special attention was paid to the role of elites in shaping state finances and in responding to elected governments identified with the left. The discussion assessed implications of project findings for U.S. foreign policy in the core countries of the isthmus.
This event was co-sponsored by and held at the Washington Office on Latin America.
CLALS projects sponsored five panels at LASA's 2013 Congress: The Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America, Fiscal Policy and Elite-State Interactions in Contemporary Central America, Religion and Violence in Central America, Re-thinking Catholic Responses to Human Rights, and Hemisphere in Flux: New Roles, New Institutions, and New Agendas in Inter-American Relations.
Migration, Identity, and U.S.-Mexican Relations
April 29, 2013
CLALS and SPA hosted a panel discussion honoring the recipients of the inaugural William M. LeoGrande Prize for the best book on U.S.-Latin American relations, and the William M. LeoGrande Award for the best book or article on Latin America or Latinos published by an AU community member. Panelists included Alexandra Délano of The New School, Todd Eisenstadt of SPA, and José Ángel Hernández of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Mexico’s Future: In Search of a New Democratic Equilibrium
April 1-2, 2013
This two-day symposium brought together a diverse group of leading international scholars with the objective of challenging conventional thinking about Mexico’s future. Mexico continues to make decisions and govern in ways inherited from its authoritarian past. Panels addressed what a new democratic equilibrium would look like, and what key levers for intervention (policies, reforms, coalitions, movements etc.) might move the country in the right direction.
This event was co-organized by CLALS and the Institute for Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (IIJ-UNAM) in Mexico City.
One Year after the Gang Truce in El Salvador: Challenges and Opportunities
March 29, 2013
This panel discussion focused on the political context and implications of the gang truce in El Salvador, what role the Catholic Church or actors within the Church have played in launching or sustaining the truce, and what opportunities the truce may provide for implementing long-term programs for communities most affected by violence. The panel also addressed the outcomes of previous gang truces in the Caribbean and the U.S. Panelists included CLALS Research Fellows, Héctor Silva Ávalos and Steven Dudley; AU Professor, Ed Maguire; and social development specialist at the World Bank, Alys Willman. The discussion was moderated by WOLA's Program Director, Geoff Thale.
Book Presentation: Globalization and Austerity Politics in Latin America by Stephen B. Kaplan
February 27, 2013
Globalization and Austerity Politics in Latin America examines how relations between international creditors and national debtors affect economic policy changes. The book also evaluates the role of technocratic advisors on government choices, showing how severe economic shocks have a transformative effect on policy. Beyond Latin America's borders, the book offers important lessons for understanding the ongoing economic crises in the U.S. and Europe, as well as the politics of reform in developing democracies.
Presentation and Discussion with Ambassador Altschul
February 12, 2013
His Excellency Francisco Altschul, Ambassador of El Salvador, spoke to an audience of 50 AU and DC community members about immigration reforms that are of great importance to Salvadoran citizens. Salvadorans make up the largest percentage of 300,000 Central Americans legally residing in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS was first extended to citizens of Nicaragua and Honduras due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, and was extended to Salvadorans in 2001 after a series of destructive earthquakes. Officials in the region are interested in the normalization of the 300,000 Latinos under TPS, some of whom have resided in the U.S. for over 15 years.
TPS status needs to be renewed every 18 months. Ambassador Altschul noted that Salvadorans alone have paid $600 million to the U.S. government in registration fees.
As part of an agreement between AU and the Mexican National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA), CLALS welcomed Mexican playwright, storyteller, novelist and Sinaloa native Élmer Mendoza who delivered a lecture on his work. Winner of the 2007 Tusquets Award for his novel Balas de plata, Mendoza is widely considered the foremost figure in the new crime fiction genre known as "narcoliterature." AU faculty participated with Mendoza in a panel discussion following his address.
Impacts of Parental Deportation on U.S. Citizen Youth of Salvadoran Origin
January 30, 2013
A CLALS research team presented an in-progress NIH proposal that aims to examine the social and health ramifications produced by the rising rate of deportations which disproportionately affect Latino communities. The presentation was part of the CHRS seminar series.
Workshop: Religious Responses to Violence
January 14-15, 2013
In mid-January 2013 CLALS convened a workshop at AU to present initial research findings from its project studying Religious Responses to Violence in Latin America. A moderated discussion open to the public was held on Tuesday, January 15 from 4:30-6:00pm.
The Rippling Effects of Deportations on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families
December 5, 2012
As part of the Center on Health, Risk, and Society's Seminar Series and in conjunction with the CLALS initiative on Deportation and the Health of U.S. Latino Communities, Joanna Dreby, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany-SUNY, offered a talk entitled, "The Rippling Effects of Deportations on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families."
Hemisphere in Flux Workshop—Sao Paulo, Brazil
November 12-14, 2012
After a successful workshop in Washington, D.C. last October, participants in the Hemisphere in Flux project convened again in Sao Paulo to present their work on various aspects of hemispheric relations. Presentations addressed trends in inter-American affairs and in foreign policies of major states in the hemisphere. A public Round Table was held on November 12 at 7:00pm.
Workshop on Religion and Violence—Phoenix, AZ
November 10, 2012
As part of the 2012 annual conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) hosted in Phoenix, AZ, CLALS sponsored a workshop on Religion and Violence in Latin America. The panel highlighted select pieces of cutting-edge research carried out by participants in the CLALS project on Religious Responses to Violence in Latin America.
Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America
November 1-3, 2012
The Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America held its second substantive workshop in Costa Rica. Participants discussed papers which have been commissioned on how specific phenomena of change (e.g. war, state restructuring, the encounter with globalization) provoked discontinuities in both the composition of elites and their relations to the broader social, political and economic orders. A series of studies of the configuration of today's economic elites in Central America were also presented, and subsequent phases of the project were mapped.
Ambulante: Mexico and Documentary Film
November 1, 2012
With support from the Mexican Cultural Institute, CLALS and the AU Center for Social Media co-sponsored an event highlighting Ambulante on November 1st from 6-10pm at the Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center. Founded in 2005 by Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz, Ambulante brings cutting-edge documentary film to audiences around the globle. The public event traced the evolution of Ambulante and the Mexican film festival through screenings of two short films, Nicolás Pereda's "Entrevista con la Tierra" and Ambulante Beyond's "Campo 9." Film screenings were followed by a panel discussion led by Ambulante Co-Founder Pablo Cruz, Executive Director Elena Fortes, Director Carolina Coppel, and SOC Professor Patricia Aufderheide.
Latino Entrepreneurs in the DC Metro Area
October 11-13, 2012
Preliminary findings of the CLALS project “Latino Entrepreneurs in the DC Metro Area,” which is undertaken in collaboration with the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), was presented and discussed in a panel entitled “Latino Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Future Time Perspectives” at the Third Annual International Council for Small Business (ICSB-GWU) Conference.
Toward a Poetics of Wonder: A Lecture by Acclaimed Mexican Author Alberto Ruy Sánchez
September 20, 2012
As part of an agreement between AU and the Mexican National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA), CLALS welcomed prominent Mexican author Alberto Ruy Sánchez who delivered a lecture on the literary journey that led to El Quinteto de Mogador, a five-novel series born out of the author's travels between Mexico and Morocco.
CLALS hosted two Cuban documentary filmmakers from the Instituto Superior de Arte, María Elisa Pérez and Duniesky Cantón Fernández, to share their compelling documentary on housing conditions in Havana. Their week-long stay included class visits and film screenings at American University, Norfolk State University, the University of Maryland, College Park and the College of William and Mary.Watch the two-part documentary
The AU Center on Health, Risk, and Society (CHRS) hosted a conference focusing on three specific processes of community disruption particularly relevant to health in D.C.: incarceration and re-entry; neighborhood change and gentrification; and immigration and deportation. The conference was co-sponsored by CLALS and the District of Columbia Developmental Center for AIDS Research (DC D-CFAR). A panel organized in conjunction with the CLALS research initiative on Deportation and Health was held on Thursday, September 13 from 1:00-2:45pm. Read more about the panel
Violence in Mexico: A Nonviolent Response
September 12, 2012
In coordination with the Kay Spiritual Center and the School of International Service, CLALS brought John Feeley, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary, Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department of State and Eric Olson, Associate Director, Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars to address the current state of violence in Mexico and mechanisms to combat it. The two speakers engaged an audience of 70 students, staff and faculty; the talk was followed by a question and answer session.
The Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America
July 16, 2012, San Salvador
The Reconfiguration of Elites and Power in Central America project held its second public dissemination event in San Salvador. A roundtable discussion took place where the project's initial findings were discussed, and questions fielded from an engaged audience of over 100. The steering committee for the project also met during this time to discuss next steps for the project. (Learn more)
Religion and Violence in Central America
July 11, 2012
Violent crime in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala has reached unprecedented levels. Panelists Josué Alvarado, Robert Brenneman, Timothy Steigenga, Alexander Wilde, and Jon M. Wolseth discussed the role of religious organizations that are frequently on the front lines of efforts to reduce gang violence and get young people out of gangs.
Central American Fiscal Policy in a Time of Crisis
June 5, 2012
Central America is facing a crisis. While issues of violence and security have dominated the Washington agenda on Central America and are of undeniable importance for the region, this narrow lens largely ignores the fundamental dynamics at play. Offering deeper analysis, prominent Central American economists Maynor Cabrera, Ricardo Barrientos, and Hugo Noé Pino of the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales...(Learn More)
CLALS Reception at the 2012 LASA conference
May 26, 2012
Thank you to all of those who joined us at LASA, making for a productive and successful event.
The Recent Papal Visit to Cuba: What Really Happened?
April 26, 2012
Tom Quigley is the former Latin America policy advisor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He discussed the recent Papal visit to Cuba, for which he was present.
Health and Social Impacts of Rising Deportation Rates in the U.S.
April 25, 2012
Lindsay Shade (MA student, International Affairs, and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, AU) and Dennis Stinchcomb (MA student, Spanish and Latin American Studies, AU) led a work-in-progress seminar on "Health and Social Impacts of Rising Deportation Rates in the U.S." Lindsay and Dennis presented their preliminary research findings and received valuable audience feedback for future research. The seminar was organized as part of the collaborative effort between the CLALS and CHRS.
A Lecture by Maria Antonieta del Tedesco Lins
April 23, 2012
Maria Antonieta Del Tedesco Lins is a Professor at the Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP) and is currently a CLALS Research Fellow. She spoke on “Economic Policy and Financial Integration: Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, 1990-2010.” The lecture was followed by a question and answer session.
Todd Robinson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and John Walsh, Senior Associate, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) spoke on the state of the drug war in Latin America and fielded questions on issues of legalization and maintaining the current military strategies of this effort.
Post-Liberal Regionalism in Latin America: New Cooperation Arrangements and Their Impacts on Regional Multilateralism
April 3, 2012
Tullo Vigevani, Andres Serbin, Corival Carmo, Sebastian Bitar and Marcelo Medeiros, researchers of the Hemisphere in Flux project, participated in a panel discussion at the International Studies Association (ISA) Meeting in San Diego, CA. The panel debated the differences between the new multilateral organizations within the hemisphere, their relationship with the old ones and the impact of this configuration to the region. The panel also assessed the U.S. position towards these new projects and evaluated the post-liberal component of the recent regionalist drive in Latin America.
Churches in Latin America: Dealing with Violence
March 27, 2012
CLALS gathered leading scholars to discuss how churches have responded to state violence in the past and current non-state violence that plagues many countries throughout Latin America. This event took place in conjunction with the first planning meeting for a two-year research project funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. (Learn more)
CLALS hosted the 33rd Annual MACLAS Conference at American University. The conference kicked off with a keynote speech delivered by President and CEO of the Inter-American Foundation, Dr. Robert Kaplan. He discussed challenges that Latin America faces from a community development perspective and also presented some successful development initiatives in the region. In addition to holding 32 panel discussions, the conference included a silent auction in honor of Jack Child, former AU Professor and dedicated MACLAS member, a musical performance by Patricio Zamorano and a keynote speech by University of Pittsburgh professor, Reid Andrews.
Jennifer McCoy: Venezuela: From Political Crisis to Elections
March 6, 2012
Jennifer McCoy, Director of the Americas Program at the Carter Center and Professor at Georgia State University, discussed the upcoming elections in Venezuela and her recent experience with the Carter Center and the OAS in mediating the political crisis following the 2002 attempted coup through the presidential recall referendum in 2004. Professor McCoy emphasized that the results of the opposition primary elections indicated a popular opinion in favor of unity and progress, rather than the polarizing messages that have characterized the Venezuelan political sphere.
Brazil: Sustainability, Global Trade and Investment
Friday, March 2, 2012
CLALS and the Kogod School of Business held a panel discussion with scholars and business leaders to discuss the future of Brazil's economic development and social and environmental sustainability. The event is now available as a podcast on iTunes. (Learn more)
Elites and the Reconfiguration of Power in Central America, a project funded by the Ford Foundation, held a three-day seminar in Antigua, Guatemala from February 16-18. Twenty-three scholars convened to debate papers and discuss drafts, which were commissioned after the planning meeting held in Washington, DC in September 2011. A full description of the discussions will be coming soon.
Latinos and U.S. Elections
February 13, 2012
In coordination with the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and the Women & Politics Institute, CLALS convened a luncheon, with keynote speaker, Ruy Teixeira, and a panel discussion on the role of Latinos in the upcoming U.S. elections. The event is now available as a podcast on iTunes and was featured in American University's AU Today.
Louise Rosskam Exhibit - Katzen Arts Center, AU Museum
September 3 - December 14, 2011
This major retrospective examined the work of Louise Rosskam (1910-2003), an elusive pioneer of the "golden age" of American documentary photography. It featured her poignant photographs of a Southwest, Washington, D.C. neighborhood before its destruction for urban renewal projects. It highlighted her compelling images of Puerto Rico, as it developed from an impoverished U.S. possession to an industrialized commonwealth—the political status of which remains a contested issue. Guest curated by James Madison University Professor Laura Katzman and Library of Congress Curator Beverly W. Brannan.
Book Launch: From Protest to Parties, Adrienne LeBas
Friday, December 2, 2011
Why are some opposition parties able to build strong party organizations, while others remain weak or fragment on ethnic lines? From Protest to Parties argues that party differences are explained by both historical and strategic factors. The book is also an in-depth account of opposition politics in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Kenya. Author and AU Professor, Adrienne LeBas was joined by Steven Levitsky, a Latinamericanist of Harvard University and Gina Lambright of George Washington University to discuss Professor LeBas' most recent publication.
Agustina Giraudy: Subnational Democracy in Latin America
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Professor Agustina Giraudy is an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (Harvard University). She obtained her Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in August 2009. Her research focuses on subnational democracy in Argentina and Mexico, and subnational institutions and federalism in Latin America. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Politics in Latin America, Latin American Research Review, Journal of Democracy (en Español), Revista de Ciencia Política (Chile), among others. Her dissertation, “Subnational Undemocratic Regime Continuity after National Democratization: Argentina and Mexico in Comparative Perspective,” received the 2010 Juan Linz Prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association for the best dissertation in the comparative study of democracy.
Book Launch: Todd Eisenstadt and Guillermo Trejos
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Todd A. Eisenstadt, Professor of Government and Guillermo Trejo, Professor of Political Science, discussed their new respective books, Politics, Identity, and Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Popular Movements in Autocracies: Religion, Repression,and Indigenous Collective Action in Mexico (Cambridge University Press, 2012). The authors briefly presented their main findings, commented on each other’s work, and fielded comments and questions from an engaged audience.
From Structural to Symbolic Dimensions of State Autonomy: Brazil’s AIDS Treatment Program and Global Power Dynamics
Monday, November 21, 2011
Matthew Flynn is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed his doctorate in Sociology and was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Latin American Sociology. Professor Flynn teaches courses on globalization, development, and health in the Department of Sociology and in the Global Policy Studies program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. His publications include "The Evolution of Brazil’s Public Production of AIDS Medicines, 1990–2008" in Development and Change and "Between Subimperialism and Globalization: A Case Study in the Internationalization of Brazilian Capital’ in Latin American Perspectives.
New Protagonists in Global Economic Governance: The Rise of Brazilian Agribusiness at the WTO
November 15, 2011
Kristen Hopewell is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan. Hopewell spoke on her dissertation, “Shifting Power in Global Economic Governance: The Rise of Brazil, India and China at the WTO,” to an audience of 25 people. Her research is in comparative and global political economy and the emerging BRIICS economies, with a strong focus on Brazil. Hopwell has secured fellowships and grants for her research from the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (University of Michigan), Fulbright, National Science Foundation, and a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship. Hopewell has published a co-authored article examining the social movement response to neoliberalism and the economic crisis in Argentina in the Journal for the Critique of Science.
Naming the Other in North and Latin America: Common and diverging trends in state responses to minority identities
November 11, 2011
Victor Armony is a Fulbright Canada Visiting Fellow at American University with CLALS, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Observatory of the Americas at the Université du Québec a Montréal. In this presentation, he used evidence from various censuses within North America and Latin America to explore state responses to the presence of Latinos and minorities within their borders.
In light of scholarship pioneering new approaches to how we understand discrimination, CLALS and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) jointly convened leading researchers and advocacy professionals for a structured workshop in Washington, DC. Participants identified and discussed synergies, divergences, and noteworthy innovations in social science research on discrimination, and articulated how cutting-edge scholarship might inform advocacy work directed at concrete policy challenges.
Samuel Handlin: Social Protection and the Politicization of Class Cleavages During Latin America's Left Turn
November 10, 2011
Samuel Handlin is a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He holds degrees in political science from Swarthmore College (B.A.) and the University of California, Berkeley (M.A., Ph.D.). Handlin presented his research to an audience of 20 people, exploring political economy in Latin America with a substantive focus on inequality, market reforms, social policy, and political representation. He is the co-editor and co-author of Reorganizing Popular Politics: Participation and the New Interest Regime in Latin America (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009) and has research forthcoming in the journal Comparative Political Studies.
Graduate student recipients of field research grants from the Tinker Foundation presented their experiences and findings from summer research trips to Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Brazil and Argentina. AU Professor of Sociology, Salvador Vidal Ortiz, offered comments and suggestions for each participant as they moved forward with their master's or dissertation research.
A conversation, award presentation, and reception with Kathryn Sikkink, Professor of Political Science and author of The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Tribunals Are Changing World Politics. Commentary was made by Juan Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur, and members of the human rights community.
The Social History of Puerto Rico in the 1930s and 40s
November 3, 2011
Félix Matos is the President of Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY) and is the former Secretary of the Department of the Family for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Professor Matos is trained as a social scientist and holds a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. This lecture was held in conjunction with the Louise Rosskam photography exhibit at the Katzen Arts Center.
Reconsidering Wilkinson’s Income Inequality Hypothesis: New Evidence from Argentina
November 2, 2011
Wilkinson’s income inequality hypothesis asserts that our health is influenced not just by our own income (following ideas of the social gradient in health), but also by how income is distributed in the place in which we live. The hypothesis forms an integral part of the social determinants of health literature. However, a consensus on its validity has not been reached, and much remains contested on methodological and theoretical grounds. This presentation outlined new analyses of the income inequality hypothesis in Argentina and was delivered as part of the AU Center on Health, Risk and Society (CHRS) Fall 2011 Seminar Series.
Photo Exhibition and Panel Discussion on Puerto Rico and the Status Question
October 27, 2011
AU's Katzen Arts Center hosted Louise Rosskam's exhibition of photographs depicting images of Puerto Rico through December 14, 2011. The exhibition was complimented by a panel discussion on the question of Puerto Rico’s political status, which was followed by a question and answer session from a highly engaged audience of about 50 people. (Learn more)
The "Remember Me" art exhibit gives a deeply personal voice to the decades-long conflict in Colombia. Through testimonies, art and pictures, viewers experience the violence and loss that Colombians have endured—and witness their courage and persistence. Presentations were made at the event by Colombian human rights defenders and U.S. policy experts.
Fr. Pedro Pantoja of Bethlehem, The Migrant’s Shelter (Mexico), is the recipient of the 2011 Letelier-Moffit International Award. Pantoja spoke of his work at BMS to protect migrants in Mexico from kidnapping, extortion, sexual abuse, and murder. As a voice for the human rights of migrants in transit, it has courageously challenged both organized crime and complicit public officials.
Hemisphere in Flux Panel Discussion
October 13, 2011
CLALS convened experts throughout the region to explore the policy-making processes that are shaping the contours of the emerging hemispheric order. (Learn More)
Robert Pastor and Jorge Castañeda: Book Presentations and Discussion
October 5, 2011
Robert Pastor is Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for North American Studies at American University. He gave a presentation on his book, The North American Idea. Jorge Castañeda is the Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University; he discussed his latest publication, Mañana Forever?: Mexico and the Mexicans.
Table Talk: Latin American Elections and Human Rights
September 21, 2011
The Kay Spiritual Center and CLALS brought Cynthia McClintock, Professor of Political Science and Director of the GW Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program and Arturo Valenzuela, Professor of Government to speak about the five 2011 presidential elections in Latin America; Argentina, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua and Peru and the ramifications for democracy and human rights.
Mr. Luis Arce Catacora, the Bolivian Minister of Economy and Public Finances, discussed development plans and the evolution of Bolivia’s new plurinational economy. The lecture was presented to an audience of 35; it was held in English and followed by a question-answer session.
Extractive Industries in Latin America: Challenges for Environmental Law, Regulation and Enforcement
April 8, 2011
As demand for fossil fuels and minerals has exploded globally in recent years, many Latin American governments have come to see extractive industries as central to their development prospects. Yet critics worry that many countries are failing to strike a balance between the economic benefits of extractive industry growth and the costs in terms of environmental degradation, community displacement and social conflict. To assess these concerns, CLALS and the WCL Program for International and Comparative Environmental Law convened a group of experts on April 8th to discuss the current legal and regulatory landscape and to identify areas of potential research. (Learn more)
Cuban Film Series
March 25, 2011
The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies hosted two documentary filmmakers and a film critic from Cuba as part of a Cuban film series. The documentaries tackled issues of housing, gender, youth, immigration, the arts, and the state of the Revolution in contemporary Cuba. The films were viewed by a full room of 40 attendees and was followed by a discussion moderated by Professor Ana Serra (Department of Language and Foreign Studies).
Economics, Politics and Violence in Contemporary Mexico
March 3, 2011
On March 3, 2011, CLALS convened a dozen leading experts, including AU faculty and graduate students and scholars from the DC area and Mexico, to present their research on economics, politics and society, and violence in contemporary Mexico. The all-day event drew an audience of 71 and included a luncheon with a keynote address by Carlos Hurtado, General Manager for the Southern Cone Countries at the Inter-American Development Bank and former Budget Undersecretary at Mexico’s Ministry of Finance (2000-06), Chief Economic Advisor to the President of Mexico (1997-2000) and his country's first ambassador to the OECD (1994-97). Learn More.
Screening of "Protecting Sanctuary," a film by Rebecca Bartola and Kavita Myneni
February 23, 2011
Sarah Menke-Fish, an Associate Professor at the School of Communications is the Director of “Discover the World of Communication” at American University. The short film, "Protecting Sanctuary" explores the implications of the booming ecotourism economy in Costa Rica. Student filmmakers and producers, Professors Menke-Fish and Larry Engel, took viewers on a journey to explore the exotic flora and fauna found in Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park to promote the protection of the forest and its inhabitants.
“Housing, Health and Poverty Alleviation: Challenges to Basic Needs Provision in Cuba”
February 21, 2011
Omar Everleny Perez, Universidad de la Habana; Luisa Iniguez, Universidad de la Habana and Mayra Espina, Centro de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Sociológicas presented findings on recent research analyzing the state of basic needs provision on the island, with a particular focus on housing, poverty alleviation and health services.
Poems, Paintings, Peace: Three Generations of Argentine Women and their Struggle For Justice
February 18, 2011
Through writings, paintings and poems, three Argentine women from one family shared their experiences of surviving repression and searching for justice. Their work is inspired by, and stands in solidarity with, worldwide movements to stop genocide and all other forms of state terrorism.
Screening of "Potato Heads: Keepers of the Crop," a short film by Larry Engel
February 9, 2011
Professor Larry Engel took an audience of 30 AU community members on a journey from the Andes of Peru to the northern plains of Minnesota in pursuit of the culture, science, and history of the marvelous tuber, the potato. The video was followed by a question and answer session in which Professor Engel told of the opportunities and challenges he was faced with while producing the film.
Jorge Mario Sánchez is a professor at the University of Havana and a senior scholar at the Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana (CEEC). A specialist on international trade and economic development, he is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard University's David Rockefeller Center where he is examining the impact of U.S.-Cuba trade on Cuba’s insertion in global markets.
Urban Development in Cuba: Current and Future Challenges
November 16, 2010
Miguel Coyula is an architect, urban planner, and faculty member at the University of Havana. He is an expert in the redevelopment of Old Havana, the history of Cuban architecture since the Colonial Era, and how the strains and changes of Cuban demography place new and challenging demands on Cuba’s housing and transportation.
Miguel provided the audience of 25 people with a deep understanding of the significance of an aging built environment and population on the changes taking place in Cuba today.
The Day After Tomorrow: The Future of Economic Policy in the Developing World
November 9, 2010
“The Day After Tomorrow: the Future of Economic Policy in the Developing World” is the title of a presentation by Professor Marcelo Guigale, the World Bank’s Director of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management in Latin America and the Caribbean. Giugale reported on key findings of an ambitious Bank study of the development policy landscape in the aftermath of the global recession, highlighting lessons learned and transformations in economic thinking about the prospects for prosperity in the Global South. AU Department of Economics Chair, Robert Blecker and Eric Hershberg, Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies provided commentary and raised pressing questions for discussion.
Homenaje a Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize Winner, Literature 2010
November 9, 2010
Three panelists, Consuelo Hernández, Associate Professor of Language and Foreign Studies; Jeffrey Middents, Associate Professor of Literature and Núria Vilanova, Assistant Professor of Language and Foreign Studies recited excerpts of Vargas Llosa's work and provided meaningful reflections and insights.
Twenty AU graduate students in all Schools and Colleges with interests in Latin America or issues related to Latinos in the U.S. convened for the CLALS Graduate Student Lunch. Eric Hershberg, Director of the Center, provided a brief overview of the Center and sought student feedback concerning several strategies to support the work of graduate students.
What is Happening to Human Rights in Venezuela; A Conversation with Three Human Rights Activists
October 27, 2010
The panel of Venezuelan human rights activists was composed of Liliana Ortega, President of the Venezuelan Committee of Victims of Human Rights Violations (COFAVIC); Jose Gregorio Guarenas, Vicariate for Human Rights of the Archdiocese of Caracas; and Feliciano Reyna of Accion Solidaria contra el SIDA and President of La Red de ONGs de Desarrollo SINERGIA. Panelists discussed the challenges faced by human rights organizations and activists under the current administration, which was followed by a lively discussion with the audience.
Steven Dudley is the former Bureau Chief for The Miami Herald in the Andean Region and the author of Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia (Routledge 2004). Dudley has also reported from Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and Miami for National Public Radio, The Washington Post, and the BBC’s The World; and written feature articles for The Washington Post Magazine, The Economist, Columbia Journalism Review, The Progressive, and The Nation. Steven was also the recipient of Stanford University’s Knight Fellowship in 2007. In his presentation, Steven discussed a new initiative called InSight –a website that monitors, analyzes and investigates organized crime and its increasingly destructive role in Latin America. Dudley is serving as the co-director of this initiative, which is co-sponsored by CLALS. His presentation on the project was followed by an engaging question and answer session. (Learn more)
Transición presidencial en Brasil y perspectivas para las relaciones con Estados Unidos y América Latina
October 11, 2010
Luis Fernando Ayerbe is a Full Professor of Economics and International Relations at the State University of Sao Paulo (UNESP), Araraquara Campus, and of International Relations at the National University in Campinas and the Catholic University of Sao Paulo. He is Coordinator of the Institute for Economic and International Studies (IEEI), and serves on the Academic Board of Brazil’s National Institute for Studies of the United States (INEU). Prof. Ayerbe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Coordination for Economic and Social Research (CRIES) in Buenos Aires, and has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. His book Los Estados Unidos y la América Latina: la construcción de la hegemonía received the 2001 Casa de las Americas Award for socio-historical essay.
Book Presentation and Author Appearance—The Wind Doesn't Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
September 28, 2010
Award-winning journalist Tyche Hendricks brings a fresh perspective to one of the most contested and least understood of regions. Hendricks traveled through the borderlands and gathered remarkable stories from emergency rooms and factory floors, farm kitchens and jail cells. A better understanding of the border—and the way the United States and Mexico are connected there—could help policymakers in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City reach more lasting solutions (University of California Press, June 2010).
Latina/o Politics in the 21st Century: Emerging Issues and Voices
September 27, 2010
An all-day workshop involving academic and practitioner specialists from the Washington, D.C. area and beyond. Sponsored by CLALS and open to the public, the event afforded an opportunity to engage debates about state-of-the-art approaches to the study of Latina/o communities. (Learn More)
Table Talk Lunch Series—Brazil Rising: Impact on the Hemisphere
September 23, 2010
A Table Talk lunch discussion was held at the Kay Spiritual Life Center on the increasingly important geopolitical and economic role of Brazil in the Western Hemisphere. The Office of the University Chaplain sponsored this discussion, with the participation of the Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, Eric Hershberg.
Brazil on the Rise: A Public Lecture by New York Times Latin America Correspondent Larry Rohter
September 20, 2010
Larry Rohter is an award-winning journalist and author of the book Brazil on the Rise: The Story of a Country Transformed. Throughout his reporting career, he has served as the New York Times South American Bureau Chief from 1999-2007 and acted as the Caribbean and Latin America correspondent from 1994-1999. He is the recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot Prize at Columbia University and was also awarded the Brazilian Embratel prize, as the "Melhor Correspondente Estrangeiro (Best foreign correspondent)" in 1998. In his presentation, Rohter addressed Brazil's current political situation and October's presidential election, framing his discussion around the closing chapter of a 16-year period of political stability, economic soundness and sustained growth. He also discussed the challenges and possibilities Brazil faces in the future in light of these elections. The lecture was followed by a dynamic question and answer session.
AU Latin Americanist faculty from diverse disciplines presented conference papers emerging from their current research. Topics included: implications of NAFTA; structural violence in Honduras; indigenous politics in Bolivia; geopolitics of Antarctica; the Salvadoran civil war as considered in contemporary poetry; and competing development paradigms in South America.
In a joint project with University of British Columbia’s Andean Democracy Research Network scholars from Latin America, the U.S. and Canada came together for a two-day workshop to present case studies on newly-emerging participatory mechanisms in Latin America and to discuss the tensions and complementarities between democratic representative institutions and evolving systems of direct participation in the region. The workshop was preceded by a panel discussion that was open to the public and co-hosted by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).
CLALS Launch Reception
March 16, 2010
Over 150 guests from the university and surrounding DC community attended the CLALS launch reception where U.S. Ambassador to the OAS Carmen Lomellin spoke about the importance of Latin America to the United States and the promise of a Center that will engage issues of pressing significance for Latino communities.