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Duke's global centers & initiatives

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Mission Statement

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) mission is 1) to foster a supportive, intellectually stimulating and interdisciplinary environment for students, faculty and community members interested in the study of Latin America and the Caribbean; 2) to bring together members of our local and worldwide community (K-16 schools, universities, scholars, artists, activists, civic organizations, etc.) in order to promote new ideas, research, and cultural awareness about Latin America and the Caribbean; and 3) to prepare better educated citizens and future leaders who may work in fields related to Latin America and the Caribbean in academics, business, arts, government and many other careers. We fulfill this mission through: 1) educational activities (guest speakers; course development; visiting artists; outreach to local schools; service-learning opportunities; certificate programs; etc.); 2) research support (research/travel grants; conference awards; publications; conferences); and 3) creating social networks and building community (collaborations with other universities, student organizations and alumni; visiting professors; social events).  CLACS also serves as the Duke office of the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. 

Summary of 2021-2022 Programs

During 2021-22 we organized, co-organized and co-sponsored more than 60 events.  Due to covid restrictions most programs were virtual events via Zoom (with rebroadcast via YouTube and Facebook in particular instances) which enabled us to attract guest speakers and audiences from within Duke and the Triangle, as well as from all over the US and Latin America.  We collaborated with Duke’s Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS) on the Wednesdays @ the Center series by organizing talks on Haiti, Colombia, and the Caribbean region as a whole.  We also partnered with the new FHI Amazon Humanities Lab which was launched in Fall 2021.  We promoted their series of film screenings, panel discussions, reading group sessions, and workshops. 

In Spring 2022 we organized a series on “Colombia:  5 Years of Peace?” which included panel discussions, film screenings.  We collaborated with the Fuqua School of Business to host the Colombian Ambassador to the US.   

We also collaborated with the Franklin Center, DUCIGS and the Department of Music to organize the exhibit “Raices, Rutas, y Ritmos:  The Influence of Latin American Music in North Carolina” which was launched in April and will remain open throughout the Summer. 

Other highlights of the year included the 36th anniversary of the NC Latin American Film Festival which had the theme “Afrovisualidades.”  The Festival focused on issues of systemic racism and massive protests from the lenses of filmmakers and cultural activists.  A selection of films directed and produced by Afro-Latin American directors (and by others on issues of the diaspora) highlighted the emergence of a generation of audiovisual producers in the region.  Each feature was shown along with a short film on race, youth, covid or indigeneity.  Each year the festival celebrates the power and artistry of Latin America’s film and audiovisual production.  The 2021 festival also included a series of Conversations with scholars of Latin American film and filmmakers from the region. 

Duke CLACS and the UNC-Duke Consortium partnered with the Southeast Council on Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) to organize the 2022 state-wide NC Conference on Latin American Studies (NCCLAS) which was held in person in Charlotte, NC.  Seventeen Duke students and faculty presented their work at the conference.  CLACS provided conference travel awards to support their travel to Charlotte. 

During 2021-2022 the UNC-Duke Consortium supported two active interdisciplinary research and training working groups:  Environment in Latin America; and Latin American Politics. 

CLACS awarded 5 graduate certificates in Latin American Studies in May 2022.  We honored this year’s certificate recipients with a special web page.  We held 9 competitions for fellowships, research awards and conference grants in support of Duke undergraduate and graduate students and Duke faculty.  We also supported fellowships to faculty from four-year colleges and minority serving institutions. 

Enthusiasm and interest in studying Latin America and the Caribbean continues to run high as we have actively recruited new Latin Americanist students and are seeing our highest enrollment figures in our certificate programs. 

2021-2022 Notable Programs

Awards

Certificates & Degrees

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