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Center for Latin American & Latino Studies

The Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) is a multidisciplinary center harnessing expertise from throughout the American University community and with counterparts around the world to serve as a catalyst for excellence in the cultivation and dissemination of knowledge about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino communities in the United States. Its work reflects enduring commitment to social inclusion, good governance, human security, equitable international relations, and understanding of societal challenges in priority countries and regions. 

The Center’s goals are to:

  • Empower changemakers throughout the hemisphere by giving them high quality data and analysis about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino communities.
  • Raise the quality of debate, policy, and advocacy on and in Latin America and the Caribbean by generating and disseminating sophisticated research.
  • Deepen understanding of the dynamics within and around Latino communities as integral participants in national political, social, and economic life in the United States.
  • Promote community and inclusion among people of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and interests throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States through the open, transparent exchange of knowledge.

Message from Director Eric Hershberg

Focus Areas

Center projects address Inclusion, Governance, Security, International Relations, Environment, and Regional and Country Studies. Learn more about these six key focus areas of our research below. 


CLALS Begins New Project, "Catalyzing a New Generation of Researchers in Cuba"

As part of its ongoing Cuba Initiative, the Center has been awarded a substantial grant to launch a new project, led by CLALS Research Fellow Ricardo Torres, that will catalyze a network of researchers analyzing Cuba’s economy and society. The effort will devote particular attention to three thematic clusters: markets and state, enterprise reform; family, aging, and the care economy; and migration, human capital, and engagement of the diaspora.

Call for 2022 William M. LeoGrande Award and Prize Nominations

CLALS and the School of Public Affairs are pleased to announce the competitions for the 2022 William M. LeoGrande Award and Prize. Nominations for the Award for the best book or peer-reviewed article in Latin American or Latino Studies published by a member of the American University community are currently being accepted. We encourage AU community members to submit eligible work for consideration for the Award.Nominations for the Prize for the best book on U.S.-Latin American relations are also currently being accepted. All nominations will be accepted until January 31, 2023. To learn more about nominations, read the announcements for the Award and Prize on the Center's website. A list of recipients of the Award and Prize from previous years is available here

The Center Has Published Two Working Papers as Part of Recent Research Projects

CLALS recently published a Working Paper that synthesizes reports examining demographic-specific challenges that vulnerable young women face, such as violence and lack of employment opportunities particularly as they relate to COVID-19, in five countries in Latin America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Uruguay, Colombia, and Argentina. This study is an outcome of the Center's project, “Vidas Sitiadas: A Learning Network about Youth, Work, and Violence,” co-sponsored by La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Sede Costa Rica with funding from the International Development Research Centre.

CLALS published another Working Paper examining the causes, consequences, and responses to IUU fishing crimes in nine countries of Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, Suriname, and Uruguay. The report highlights the adverse consequences of IUU fishing, the scope of crimes associated with IUU fishing, the legislative sources of weak government responses to it, and the considerable variation in three significant measures of regional law enforcement capacity: physical capacity, surveillance capabilities, and prosecutorial-judicial capacity. This Working Paper is an outcome of the Center’s project, “Western Hemisphere Regional Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Assessment,” sponsored by the U.S. Department of State

CLALS Is Hiring Graduate Assistants for the 2022-23 Academic Year

Graduate assistants are integral in the Center's effort to promote cutting-edge research to enrich understanding of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino communities in the U.S. For the full position description, please see our job posting

Past News

Funder & Partner Highlights

The Center Announces a Research Project in Collaboration with FLACSO Costa Rica

The Center has been awarded a contract to partner with the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales - Costa Rica in efforts to disseminate findings of Vidas Sitiadas II, a multi-year, six-country research program focused on populations of vulnerable women in Latin America. With particular emphases on gender, youth, violence, and employment, the project's case studies on Costa Rica, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina offer fresh insights into dynamics of social and economic inclusion, and the sorts of policies and practices that might broaden opportunities for women across the region, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CLALS Receives a Grant to Study Illegal Fishing in Latin America

The Center has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State for its “Western Hemisphere Regional Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Assessment” initiative. Led by CLALS faculty affiliate and SIS Associate Professor Matt Taylor and CLALS Research Fellow Steven Dudley, this project assesses and maps fishing legislation; law enforcement capacity to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing); scope of crimes associated with IUU fishing; and the adverse economic and environmental impacts of IUU fishing across Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Funders & Partners