CLALS | Research Fellows


  • Latin American/Latino Studies
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    Stinchcomb, Dennis A
    Program Manager

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CLALS Research Fellows Program

Leading experts from academia, journalism and the worlds of policy and advocacy come to CLALS as Research Fellows to advance scholarship and contribute to public debate. Fellows carry out research independently and participate in Center-sponsored initiatives, bringing their expertise to bear on a wide range of issues in Latin American and Latino Studies.

In addition, doctoral candidates planning to undertake research in Washington D.C. related to Latin American or Latino studies are welcome to apply to affiliate with the Center as Research Fellows. The Center cannot provide stipend support, but students accepted to the program receive access to work space at CLALS, to the library and to other research infrastructure at American University. To download a full description of the program, please click here.

Download the Research Fellow application.

Current Fellows

Fulton Armstrong

Fulton T. Armstrong directs the Center’s blog, AULABLOG; contributes to the Cuba Initiative; and an in-depth examination of security programs in Central America. Before joining the Center, he followed Latin American affairs for almost 30 years in a number of U.S. government positions. He served as a senior professional staff member responsible for Latin America on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from July 2008 to October 2011, where he also worked closely with the committee’s investigations team. Prior to that, he served in the Executive Branch in a series of policy and analytical positions. Among other senior positions, he was National Intelligence Officer for Latin America – the U.S. Intelligence Community’s most senior analyst – in 2000-2004, and for six months he was the chief of staff of the DCI Crime and Narcotics Center. He served two terms as the Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council (1995-97 and 1998-99), between which he was Deputy NIO for Latin America. From 1980-84 he worked for U.S. Representative Jim Leach (R-Iowa). He has spent 12 years studying and working in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He speaks Spanish and Chinese.


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CLALS Juan Camacho

Juan Camacho

Juan Luis Camacho Cueva was born in Peru and is currently a PhD student at the Arnold Bergstraesser Institut of the University of Freiburg, Germany. The aim of his research - entitled "Extractive policies and the bargaining power of indigenous peoples in terms of access to natural resources in the Peruvian Amazonia“ - is to shed light on the group of actors, and their respective powers, surrounding the Camisea natural gas project in Peru, as a representative case study of other extractive cases. The research project seeks to highlight the power strategies used by actors with different bargaining capacities in order to shape the decision-making processes that ultimately determine who gains access to natural resources in the Peruvian Amazonia. He is also assessing the degree and extent to which the indigenous peoples of this region can negotiate for their own interests and future within this specific group of actors.


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CLALS Flavio Contrera

Flávio Contrera

Flávio Contrera is a Political Science PhD candidate at Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar). He received his M.A. in Political Science from the same institution in 2013 and his B.A. in Social Sciences from the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in 2010.

His current research project is sponsored by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP). His topics of interest include: political parties, legislative behavior, foreign policy, and US-Latin America relations.


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Michael Danielson

Michael Danielson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University. He received his PhD in Political Science from American University. His dissertation, "Politics At Home Abroad: The Engagement of Mexican Migrants in their Home Towns" has been supported by Fulbright, National Science Foundation, and Gill Family Foundation awards. He holds an MA in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Spanish and Philosophy degrees from Santa Clara University. As a practitioner, he has consulted for the Kino Border Initiative and served as a policy analyst for the Children's Defense Fund and the Center on Policy Initiatives. His report for the Kino Border Initiative, "Documented Failures: The Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border," is available here.

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Steven Dudley

Steven Dudley is a Senior Research Fellow for American University who specializes in organized crime and citizen security issues. In addition to managing InSight Crime Foundation, which is co-sponsored by CLALS, Dudley is a principal investigator on the Center's project to study street gangs in the United States and El Salvador, and a contributor to the Center's Elites and Power project. He has also contributed to the Center's Religion and Violence project.

Dudley is the former Bureau Chief of 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 and Miami for National Public Radio and The Washington Post, among others. Dudley has a BA in Latin American History from Cornell University and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2007, is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars during the 2012 - 2013 academic year.


  • Breaking down security issues on-the-ground in conflict situations (PDF)  
  • Studying trends and tendencies of organized crime (PDF)  
  • Analyzing political crises (PDF)  
  • Reporting on corporate social responsibility (PDF), environmental subjects (PDF), human rights issues (PDF)  
  • Investigating international (PDF) and local justice systems (PDF)

Steven Dudley Resume (PDF)


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CLALS Silvio Levcovitz

Silvio Levcovitz

Silvio Levcovitz is a political science PhD candidate at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). He received his M.A. in political science from the Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos (UFSCar) in 2014, his B.A. in law from the Universidade de Brasilia (UnB) in 1999, and his B.S. in physics from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC Rio) in 1987. His current research aims to identify the criminal cases of corruption and civil claims of administrative misconduct judged by the Brazilian courts from 1991 to 2014, and analyze how the Brazilian Judiciary dealt with this specific institutional mission.

He has been a public lawyer in Brazil (Attorney of the National Treasury) for the past 14 years and formerly was an auditor with the Tribunal de Contas da Uniao (National Audit Office) from 1995 to 2001.

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CLALS Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy specializes in Venezuela, citizen participation, and U.S.-Latin American relations. He is completing his dissertation, "Venezuela's Chavismo: A Case of Infrastructural Populism," at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Political Science. Research for the dissertation received support from the Fulbright Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, and the Ford Foundation and involved a year and a half of fieldwork with grassroots-level organizations situated in Caracas shantytowns.

Before coming to AU he was a Professorial Lecturer with the Latin American Program at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS and a Senior Researcher for the Carter Center in Venezuela. He wrote the Carter Center's Study Mission Report on the 2012 Presidential Election and contributed as co-author to the 2013 Presidential Election Study Mission Report.

He began his career as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and continues to publish on public affairs, recently contributing commentary on U.S. sanctions against the Maduro Government in Venezuela and on Pathways for the U.S. to regain leadership in South America amid new geopolitical realities. 

He graduated with honors from Bates College with a dual B.A. in History and Political Science, and earned an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University. He speaks fluent Spanish and has working knowledge of Portuguese.


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CLALS Vanessa Macedo

Vanessa Rodrigues de Macedo

Vanessa Macedo is a journalist and political science PhD candidate for the Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (IESP/Uerj). She received her M.A in International Relations from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), where she conducted research on the new actors within Brazilian foreign policy. For her current research project, she aims to develop a comparative study on the emergence of transparency norms in Brazil and Mexico, as well as the dissemination of Freedom of Information Laws in these countries.

Macedo is an Information Coordinator at the Brazilian National Research and Education Network (Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa- RNP), a quasi non-governmental organization that promotes Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for universities and the government. In this function, she has undertaken projects in relation to government policy towards transparency and access to open data.

She was a journalist for the O Globo newspaper in Brazil between 2000 and 2003, and her topics of interest include: democracy, accountability, transparency, freedom of information, international norms and foreign policy.


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Héctor Silva Ávalos

Héctor Silva Ávalos is the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the El Salvador Embassy in Washington, DC. Silva Ávalos holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from the Universidad Centroamericana, El Salvador; a Master's in TV production, Ayuntamiento de Vitoria, Spain; and a Masters in journalism from Universidad de Barcelona and University of Columbia. He has 15 years of experience as an investigative reporter in La Prensa Gráfica, a major Salvadoran newspaper. As an expert on Salvadoran organized crime he has researched and authored journalistic pieces quoted in U.S. and Salvadoran publications on the topics of Los Perrones, one of the main DTOs in El Salvador; Mexican cartel penetration in Central America; and the influence of the Colombian FARC in drug trafficking in Central America. He authors two blogs on organized crime and U.S.-El Salvador-Central America relations. As a Research Fellow, he has undertaken one year of research resulting in the publication Infiltrators: A Chronicle of Corruption in the National Civil Police of El Salvador.

With support from the Arca Foundation, he is currently conducting research for a book-length project on the 1989 Jesuit Massacre and the case's enduring influence on the fortunes of El Salvador's justice system following the 1992 Peace Accords.


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CLALS Ricardo Torres

Ricardo Torres

Ricardo Torres is Professor of Economics and Cuban economy at the University of Havana, and is affiliated with the UH’s Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy. His research interests include growth and economic structures, industrial policies, and transition economics. He has previously been a government scholar at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo (2007-2009) and research scholar at Harvard University (2011), Ohio State University (2012), and Columbia University (2013). He has also participated in conferences and courses in the United States, Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic), Europe (Spain, France, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands), Asia (Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam), and Africa (Morocco, South Africa).

Ricardo Torres CV

Email: or

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Alexander Wilde

Alexander Wilde was Vice President for Communications at the Ford Foundation and headed Ford’s regional office for the Andes and Southern Cone. He was also a senior fellow at the Helen Kellogg Institute (Notre Dame) and the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington, D.C.). He formerly directed the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and has taught at Georgetown, George Washington, Notre Dame, Lawrence (Wis.), Haverford College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Most recently, Dr. Wilde directed the CLALS project on Religion and Violence in Latin America, supported by a two-year grant from the Luce Foundation.His scholarly research has addressed religion, human rights, democracy and historical memory in Latin America. He is the co-editor of The Progressive Church in Latin America and author of Conversaciones de caballeros: La quiebra de la democracia en Colombia. He serves on several international advisory boards and has advised various award-winning documentary films related to the themes of his research.

Ph.D., Political Science, Columbia University
B.A., Government, Lawrence University (Wis.)

Alexander Wilde's C.V.


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