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Our Mission

The Center of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) aspires to be a leading research center linking faculty, students, and the community from across Kansas, the country and the world in the interdisciplinary study of the histories, cultures, and societies of Latin America and the Caribbean. We aim to serve as the best resource in our region and a model in the country for excellence in research, education and outreach. We strive to advance knowledge and seek solutions to pressing questions related to Latin America and the Caribbean. CLACS works to place this region in a global conversation, and promote multiculturalism on campus and in our community. Finally, CLACS seeks to provide an environment for learning and working where differences are valued and each person is supported and offered an equitable opportunity to achieve their academic and professional goals.

Our History and Future

The University of Kansas Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, located in Bailey Hall, is home to KU's interdisciplinary academic programs on Latin America, facilitates graduate research at home and abroad, sponsors events related to the region, and develops outreach resources for area educators. More than 100 core, affiliate, and research faculty members associated with the Center teach and research Latin America through a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary prisms, and mentor students interested in the region. An annual newsletter, the Kansas Latin Americanist, highlights recent campus activities and faculty and student research on Latin America, and also publicizes new outreach materials and current funding, travel, and research opportunities. Established in 1961, the Center has been awarded graduate fellowships by the US Department of Education (ED) since 1976 and was designated and funded by ED as a Comprehensive National Resource Center on Latin America in 1983-1988; 1994-2006; and 2010-2014.

We are excited to announce that KU CLACS has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education both to be a designated Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and to provide Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for our students over the next four years. International and area studies have long been a historical strength at KU, a member of the prestigious AAU; the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with its nationally renowned faculty, deep and broad area studies curriculum, and rich Study Abroad opportunities, is a key component of KU’s strength in international education. The funding amounts to approximately 1.7 million in the four-year cycle. Our proposed initiatives for 2018-2022 focus on the theme of Connecting Communities in KU and the heartland to Latin American and Caribbean communities and institutions, in part by leveraging our existing partnerships locally and abroad. Both designations reflect not only the hard work of KU, but also a common mission shared by regional institutions and organizations like yours.

This funding creates some amazing opportunities for curriculum development, programming, community outreach, and language learning in the region! CLACS will be partnering with the Topeka Public School district on a pilot program for continuing language learning for educators; with the other KU Area Studies Centers, Donnelly College in Kansas City, and area Community Colleges like Johnson County Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College on an annual Global Opportunites Expo; and with the Lied Center and the Spencer Museum of Art on arts and cultural programming and exhibits, with accompanying materials to support public school educators in Kansas. CLACS will also be developing an online certificate in Latin American and Caribbean studies over the next four years, so that even students in other parts of Kansas and the Midwest can develop expertise in the region. Another major component is funding for new field schools and service learning / study abroad programs abroad in Haiti, the Northern Triangle of Central America, Paraguay, and Costa Rica.

CLACS plans to use Title VI funding to build up our program in indigenous and less-commonly-taught Latin American and Caribbean languages such as Bri Bri, Kaqchikel, Quechua, K’iche’ Maya, MískituHaitian Creole, Guaraní, Portuguese, and Tlapanec. FLAS fellowships are available to KU and Non-KU graduate and undergraduate students interested in learning a less commonly taught language, providing  up to $18,000 for tuition / fees and a $15,000 stipend during the academic year  for graduate students or $10,000 for tuition / fees and $5000 for the year for undergraduates.  For both graduate and undergraduate students, summer fellowships are also available at $5,000 for tuition / fees and $2,500 for subsistence. 

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