Brightly colored houses in a Brazilian favela

The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University in Washington, DC engages scholars and practitioners to promote cutting-edge research to enrich understanding of Latin America and of Latino communities in the U.S. Our mission reflects American University's commitment to promoting knowledge in the public interest and to fostering an active, informed citizenry prepared to grapple with the challenges of the 21st century. To that end, CLALS pursues partnerships and distinct public engagement strategies consistent with its mission.


Creating and disseminating knowledge is at the core of the Center’s scholarly and institutional agenda. The research projects pursued by CLALS span various subject matter areas, including migration, the role of religion, organized crime, the environment, and more. Our current and past research projects are accessible via the left-hand navigation bar.


In designing and implementing projects, CLALS establishes dynamic partnerships with academic institutions, think tanks, non-governmental and community organizations, and governmental agencies throughout the United States and Latin America. Center projects are supported through funding from external donors and agencies as well as by University resources. Learn more about our partners and funders.

Public Engagement

CLALS disseminates its research and shares knowledge about Latin America and Latino communities through distinct public engagement strategies. These include a popular series of working papers, as well as public events featuring decision-makers, artists, and other thought leaders. CLALS also maintains the AULA Blog, which presents concise yet impactful reflections on topics relating to our mission, penned by a diverse set of authors.

Message from the Director

CLALS Director Ernesto Castañeda publishes an annual message for Center Faculty Affiliates, Fellows, students, and other stakeholders to inform them of the Center's most important work and future plans. Read the current Message from the Director and find past messages below.

CLALS Bulletin

CLALS distributes an email bulletin relating news about Center initiatives, pertinent events, and research opportunities both at and around AU. Read the most recent bulletin or find past CLALS bulletins below. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, please send an email request to with "bulletin" in the subject line.


The CLALS E-Brochure features informative snapshots of individual CLALS projects and programs, and is intended as a complement to the pages updated regularly on our website. Browse the E-Brochure to learn more about the work we do at the Center.