October 15, 2020
This fall, Catholic University established the Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies (ILAIS). The institute is a multidisciplinary intellectual forum for learning, research, and dialogue that will serve as an umbrella organization on Latin American and Iberian studies and initiatives for all students, faculty, scholars, researchers, and staff at The Catholic University of America.
ILAIS will draw upon the rich resources of various entities in the University and congregate offerings on degree and non-degree programs, courses, research, publication, scholarly events, study abroad, opportunities for internships and jobs, and activities related to Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.
“I am very happy that we are launching ILAIS — it’s a perfect example of who we are as a global Catholic research university,” says University Provost Aaron Dominguez. “It builds on our strengths and more closely aligns us with the growing parts of the Church, our Nation and our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.”
The aims of ILAIS include:
- to advance the University’s standing in Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula, and the United States by showcasing the depth of our unique areas of expertise and collections.
- to strengthen scholarship and educational offerings across the University.
- to promote interdisciplinary collaboration by fostering an academic community that brings together students, faculty, scholars, researchers, staff and stakeholders within and outside CatholicU.
- to further knowledge and awareness of these regions’ trials, contributions, and plurality.
- to serve as a supportive community for learners and scholars across areas of studies.
- to enhance diversity on campus by increasing the student and scholar population from Latin American backgrounds.
In meeting these aims, ILAIS strengthens connections with the one of the fastest growing communities in the United States while contributing to the following goal at the University:
“Thus, in dialogue and cooperation with contemporary society, The Catholic University of America sees itself as faithful to the challenge proposed by the Second Vatican Council for institutions of higher learning, namely, to put forth every effort so that ‘the Christian mind may achieve ... a public, persistent, and universal presence in the whole enterprise of advancing higher culture’ (Gravissimum educationis, n. 10).”
The contributing pillars of ILAIS are:
- The Office of Global Strategies (OGS) — The Office of Global Strategies implements the University’s strategic goal of internationalization by serving as the hub for international educational activities at the University. Its overall role is to coordinate, build and strengthen international programs, services and initiatives University-wide.
- The Latin American and Latino Studies Academic Program (LALS) — Undergraduates can earn one of two degrees in the The Latin American and Latino Studies academic program, either a minor or certificate. LALS draws on the expertise of scholars at Catholic University across the fields of anthropology, arts, economics, history, modern languages, music, politics, psychology, sociology, and theology and religious studies, among others.
- The Oliveira Lima Library (OLL) — The Oliveira Lima Library is one of the world’s premiere collections of early Portuguese and Brazilian works, containing a wealth of primary sources important to the study of these regions’ history, art, and culture.
- The Latin American Music Center (LAMC) — The Latin American Music Center includes the compilation of a complete and specialized library of scores, books, and recordings of Ibero-American music.
The new center will advance the University’s international standing by showcasing the depth of these unique resources within the university. It will serve as a multidisciplinary forum for learning, research and dialogue on Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.
Sandra Barrueco, who also serves as director of LALS and professor of psychology, will serve as the director of the institute. Livia Lopes has been named its associate director. Lopes is also the adviser for the Student Organization of Latinos (SOL).
The center will host scholars, organize workshops, events and symposia. It will be a cultural and academic flagship of the University and a reference point for everything related to Latin America in the nation’s capital.