About Us

About Us

The mission of CLAS is to promote global understanding through support for teaching, learning, & research in and on Latin America, the Caribbean, and the diverse diasporic communities of Latin American and Caribbean origin. CLAS provides faculty with the resources and intellectual environment to realize cutting-edge research, and students with unequaled educational experience and a solid path to a successful career. Through its community engagement programs, the center shares its resources regionally, nationally, & internationally.

Program Summary

CLAS offers its students multidisciplinary academic training programs of the highest quality that complement a degree in a discipline or profession. CLAS believes that specialized multidisciplinary training on Latin America and the Caribbean is one important component of an academic program; however, the value of such expertise is greatly strengthened by combining multidisciplinary Latin American area and language training with a degree in a traditional discipline or profession. Consequently, the Center offers graduate and undergraduate interdisciplinary certificates as well as an undergraduate related concentration in Latin American studies in conjunction with the academic or professional degree in the student's major field—an approach that provides its students with dual expertise. Over 100 University of Pittsburgh faculty members are associated with CLAS. Their teaching expertise and research specializations encompass all of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and many of the English-speaking countries. Each academic year, they teach well over 250 courses on the region in more than 20 departments while actively pursuing on-going research projects in a wide range of disciplines, including the social sciences, professional schools, humanities, and natural sciences. The University of Pittsburgh's Eduardo Lozano Latin American Library Collections aids in this work. The Lozano Collection is one of the top ten Latin American collections in the United States. Housed in Hillman Library, the collection excels in contemporary materials, documents, and statistics. Although the library is strong in almost all substantive and geographic areas of Latin America, it has some of the world’s best resources on Bolivia and Cuba, as well as extensive holdings on Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. Over 85 percent of the volumes in this extraordinary collection are in Spanish and Portuguese.

Special Programs

  • The Latin American Social and Public Policy Program
    The Latin American Social and Public Policy Program of the Center for Latin American Studies addresses the need to equip future leaders, public officials, and analysts with the skills necessary to design and implement social and public policy programs appropriate to development in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The program combines the resources of the internationally recognized Center for Latin American Studies with excellent master's and doctoral programs in the professional schools and policy-related disciplinary departments of the University of Pittsburgh. Among the potential topics that students enrolled in this program can pursue are: democratization, economic restructuring, public health, public administration, educational or judicial reform, ethnic and/or racial justice, technology and social change, environmental policy, and nutrition. Departments and professional schools in which students can enroll include: Anthropology, Economics, Hispanic Languages and Literatures, Linguistics, Political Science, Sociology, Katz Graduate School of Business, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Graduate School of Public Health, School of Education, and the School of Law . Other departments or professional school programs may be proposed by students and their advisors. The Graduate Certificate in Latin American Social and Public Policy and the Latin American Social and Public Policy Fellowships are offered through the program.
  • The Latin American Archaeology Program
    Latin America is the principal geographical focus of archaeology at the University of Pittsburgh. Administered by the Department of Anthropology, with the cooperation and support of CLAS, the Latin American Archaeology Program involves research, training, and publication. Its objective is to maintain an international community of graduate students studying archaeology at the University of Pittsburgh. This objective is promoted in part through fellowships that enable outstanding graduate students to study any area of Latin American prehistory. Many of these fellowships are awarded to students from Latin America, who constitute nearly half of the students in the program. The commitment to Latin American archaeology is also illustrated by collaborative ties to numerous Latin American institutions and by the bilingual publication series, which makes the results of primary field research available to a worldwide audience. The Latin American Archaeology Publications Program publishes the bilingual Memoirs in Latin American Archaeology and Latin American Archaeology Reports, co-publishes the collaborative series Arqueología de México, and distributes volumes on Latin American archaeology and related subjects from more than nine publishers in Latin America.
  • The Brazilian Studies Program
    The goals of the Brazilian Studies Program of the Center for Latin American Studies are to enhance the University of Pittsburgh’s undergraduate and graduate educational programs on Brazil, develop bilateral research projects with Brazili­ans through a program of scholarly exchange, deepen the understanding of North American faculty and students about Brazil, develop community and K-12 outreach programs about Brazilian society and culture, and organize conferences and workshops on issues critical to the U.S. and Brazil. Among the resources currently available are over a dozen faculty members who specialize in Brazilian Studies or who include the study of Brazil as a major component in their research agendas, a full array of Brazilian Portuguese language-training courses offered annually, ­the outstanding collection of books and periodicals in Portuguese in the Eduardo Lozano Latin American Library Collection, and numerous collaborative agreements with universities and institutions throughout Brazil.

Community Engagement 

  • As the locale for a wealth of resources on Latin America and the Caribbean, the Center for Latin American Studies is responsible for disseminating knowledge about the region beyond the university. In fulfilling this mission, CLAS develops, coordinates, and presents a broad range of outreach programs for the K-12 educational community, colleges and universities, business and professional communities, and the general public. Outreach services and activities include: professional development/teacher training workshops (approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Act 48 continuing education credit); curriculum development for globalization; a school visit program; college/university seminars and conferences; a film series; a lecture series; a resource lending library; two newsletters; consulting services; workshops and fact-finding trips to Latin America for the business community; and an annual Latin American and Caribbean Festival. Faculty and students associated with CLAS play an active role in these endeavors by serving as speakers, instructors, and consultants. The “Directory of Latin American Studies Resources for Teachers" provides a comprehensive list of the extensive outreach materials that teachers and other community members may borrow from CLAS for use in classes or curriculum development. To learn more about our Community Engagement programs, click here.

Newsletters, Reports, and Calendars

  • CLASicos is the print newsletter of the Center for Latin American Studies. CLASicos is published once a year and contains information on CLAS alumni, students, faculty, and events. For more information and to view previous editions of CLASicos, click here.
  • CLAS Year in Review is an annual report of the Center for Latin American Studies. CLAS Year in Review is published once a year and serves as a summary document of the accomplishments of the Center, its faculty, and students. As such, it provides quantitative information on fundamental activities. For more information and to view previous editions of CLAS Year in Review, click here.
  • CLAS Weekly Newsletter is published once a week during the academic year, with bi-weekly editions during the Summer and Winter breaks. The newsletter contains information on: upcoming events related to the Americas at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as related activities sponsored by other organizations, relevant study/travel/research opportunities in the hemisphere, conferences hosted worldwide, employment opportunities. and miscellaneous items of interest. To view previous editions of the newsletter, click here. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

Oversight Committees

  • CLAS’ Faculty and Student Advisory Committee is the main policy-making body of the Center. The Committee consists of six faculty members drawn from the Center's Core Faculty, an undergraduate student, a graduate student, plus the Director of CLAS and the Librarian of the Latin American Studies Collection ex officio. Four of the faculty members on the Committee are elected at large by the Center's Core and Related Faculty. The two remaining members are appointed by the Director, so as to assure representation of the three main divisions in the faculty (humanities, social sciences, and professional schools), as well as to maintain, as nearly as possible, a balance of faculty ranks and genders. The student representatives are appointed by the Associate Director for Academic Affairs. Members serve two-year terms. The Committee elects its chair each year. It meets at least once in the Fall term and at least once in the Spring term, with additional meetings as needed. The committee also serves as a nominating body that prepares a slate of candidates for annual elections to fill vacancies. So as to coordinate the work of the Advisory Committee with the concerns of the existing standing faculty committees (Faculty Research, Graduate Student Research, and Fellowships), the chairs of these three committees are chosen from among the faculty members on the Advisory Committee.
  • CLAS’ Board of Advisors advises, suggests, and recommends strategies to the Center for Latin American Studies in order to enhance the University’s position as a distinguished institution that emphasizes teaching, research, and public service related to Latin America and the Caribbean. The Board assists CLAS in working with local, regional, national, and global constituents to foster awareness, facilitate networking, and attract resources to support its mission within the University. The Board of Advisors assists the Provost, the Director of the University Center for International Studies (UCIS), the Board of Visitors of UCIS, and the Director of CLAS in evaluating and improving the Center’s educational, research, and public service programs. The CLAS Board of Advisors is composed of distinguished individuals from Pittsburgh businesses, media, and the community who have a strong interest in the Latin American region. The Chair of the Board of Advisors is normally a member of the UCIS Board of Visitors. The Director of CLAS recommends individuals to be named to the Board of Advisors. These individuals are appointed by the Director of the University Center for International Studies for three-year terms of service. The Board formally meets twice a year, usually in May and September. In addition, the Board may meet at other times as recommended by the Chair of the Board of Advisors and the Director of CLAS. The Board of Advisors delivers an annual report of its activities to the UCIS Board of Visitors, which normally meets in October.