The end of Spring Semester provides a welcomed respite, an occasion to cast retrospective glances back over academic year 2017-2018, to take note and to make known some of the notable achievements of the past twelve months.


And a notable year it has been . . . . We are especially pleased to report that the Board of Governors has designated the Baccalaureate Program in Latin American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a state-wide “niche/high value” program.  We wish to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Business Strategy Kate Henz for her efforts our behalf.


ISA has focused a great deal of its attention in the past several months on the completion of the 2018 Program Review and in the preparation of the Title VI Grant Proposal.  Both endeavors have of necessity accounted for a significant portion of ISA staff effort and energy; both endeavors are currently in progress even as this end-of-year review is being prepared.


The demands of the 2018 Program Review and Title VI notwithstanding, ISA has continued to maintain its long-standing commitment in curricular planning and program support in behalf undergraduate education, graduate training, and faculty development.  During  academic year 2017-2018 the Institute for the Study of the Americas has distributed  more than $200,000 in the behalf graduate-student recruitment and in support of graduate-student research, language training, and travel.  Support for faculty professional development, including research and travel, program initiatives, and curriculum development, approached $20,000.


Academic year 2017-2018 has been noteworthy for the inauguration of the William Wilson Brown, Jr. Distinguished Term Professorship in Latin American Studies.  We are pleased to announce that Professor Cecilia Martínez-Gallardo (Political Science) has been appointed as the first recipient of William Wilson Brown, Jr. Distinguished Term Professorship.   The three-year term of the Brown Professorship serves to recognize and support the research of a member of the College faculty at the rank of Associate Professor who has demonstrated sustained progress leading toward promotion to the rank of Full Professor.  The appointment is in recognition of a record of professional excellence as a result of scholarly accomplishments as demonstrated in publications in journals and/or presses of distinctions, and presentation of scholarly papers in important professional venues.

This past year the Institute has inaugurated a new Latin America speakers series: the ISA Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series.  Made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor to the Director’s Fund for Excellence in Latin American Studies, the ISA Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series is designed to invite annually to Carolina an outstanding scholar who has recently published a book recognized as an outstanding contribution to Latin American and  Latino/a studies scholarship.

Academic year 2017-2018 has been especially noteworthy for the achievements of the Latino Migration Project (LMP).  Celebrating its tenth anniversary, LMP continues to expand its research scope and public education initiatives to engage multiple University constituencies and public stakeholders on matters related to Latin American migration and integration in North Carolina.  LMP’s Building Integrated Communities initiative conducted a participatory research assessments in Siler City and Chapel Hill to enhance an understanding of the immigration experience.  The assessments will serve to inform local government  and community plans in the development of programs for the integration of immigrant and refugee residents.  Over the course of academic year 2017-2018, LMP organized 26 public events related to migration, integration, public policy, oral history, and Latino/a studies.

A warm welcome to Isa Godinez and Jorge Gutiérrez, the newest members of the ISA staff, who will be engaged in the important work associated with LMP.

The 2018 APPLES Global Course Guanajuato traveled to Mexico with 12 undergraduate and graduate students to study transnational migration.  An estimated total of 150 students have traveled to Mexico since the inauguration of the course in 2006.  The 2018 course program focused on a new theme of migration and climate change.  Students in the course contributed more than 300 hours of public service with organizations in Orange County that work with immigrants and refugees.

In collaboration with the University of North Carolina Press and the University Library, ISA  inaugurated a new open-access publication series, “Studies in Latin America.”  Taking advantage of the digital publishing environment, “Studies in Latin America” will published short works–ca. 20,000 to 35,000 words in length–dedicated to cutting-edge scholarship on Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on the social sciences, and designed to draw attention to diverse methodological approaches and perspectives on vital issues concerning Latin America and the Caribbean, past and present.   Each monograph will be distributed on demand in paperback format by UNC Press as well as to be available as open-access digital editions hosted by the University Library.  We are pleased to announce the inaugural publication of the “Studies in Latin America” series: Tropical Tongues: Language Ideologies, Endangerment, and Minority Languages in Belize by Jennifer Carolina Gómez Menjívar and William Noel Salmon.  Tropical Tongues examines the precarious state of languages in coastal Belize in the years following independence in 1981, offering new perspectives on language shifts and loss as a result of large-scale politico-economic restructuring.

This past year ISA successfully collaborated with the Center for Global Initiatives, the Stone Center for Black Culture and History, and the University of Puerto Rico in support of the Global Take Off: Puerto Rico Program.  The open-access program offers first-year students a fully-funded opportunity to participate in a first-time travel educational experience.  Twelve students participated in this year’s study program organized around the theme of the environment.

We recognize with pride the success the 2017-2018 graduating class of LTAM majors that included Townsend Bennett Artman, Cristina Barbee Nieto, Mariana Castro Arroyo, Mary Alssya Chapin, Damaris Osorio, and Rachel Spoon.  All of us at ISA extends the warmest best wishes for their continued success.

We wish to congratulate LTAM major Gabriela Alemán (class of 2019) for her appointment as a Yudelman Intern at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).  The internship appointment spans early June through mid-August 2018 and will provide valuable hands-on experience and professional development opportunities within an non-government organization and its role in influencing U.S. foreign policy. The internship will focus on issues related to human rights, democracy, and social justice in Latin America.

All of us at ISA wish to convey our appreciation for the collaborative esprit of the programs, departments, and student organizations across the University with which we have had the pleasure to work this past academic year to advance knowledge of and familiarity with Latin America, Latin American migration, and Latino/a studies, including the Department of African African-American, and Diaspora Studies, the Department of History, Center for Global Initiatives, the Stone Center for Black Culture and History, UNC Libraries, the Schools of Journalism and Media Studies, Public Health, and Social Work, the Carolina Hispanic Association (CHispA), Students United for Immigrant Equality (SUIE), and of course our Consortium partner, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke University.

And lastly, to prospective visitors to the Global Education Center, please do visit the 3rd floor to take note of the up-and-running display case “Latin America at Carolina: UNC Authors,” exhibiting recently-published books by Carolina Latin Americanists.


Lou Pérez

June 2018


Students from APPLES Global Course Guanajuato visited migrant communities in Mexico in March 2018.


UNC undergraduates play futbol with students from Trancas Middle School in Guanajuato, Mexico in March 2018


UNC undergraduates play futbol with students from Trancas Middle School in Guanajuato, Mexico in March 2018


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