David Rockefeller Center

Images courtesy of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

With offices in Santiago, São Paulo, and Mexico City, as well as Cambridge, Mass., Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) aims to foster cooperation and understanding among the nations of the western hemisphere by supporting research and teaching on Latin America, hosting visiting scholars, and facilitating study and work abroad programs in collaboration with Latin American institutions.

Founded in 1994 by Neil L. Rudenstine, then president of Harvard, and David Rockefeller, BS '36, LLD '69 (honorary), the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University works to increase knowledge of the cultures, economies, histories, environment and contemporary affairs of Latin America; to foster cooperation and understanding among the peoples of the Americas; and to contribute to democracy, social progress and sustainable development throughout the hemisphere.

Latin America highlights

In addition to the activities in its international offices, DRCLAS hosts events on the Harvard campus, publishes ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America and a book series, and provides both undergraduates and graduate students with numerous opportunities to study and work in Latin America, including term-time study abroad in Argentina, Chile, or Cuba; summer internship and immersion programs (undergrads | grad students) in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru; winter-session programs in Chile, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico; and travel and research grants for independent study.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2012, the Regional Office in Santiago has supported over 135 faculty initiatives, engaged over a thousand Harvard students in study-abroad and internship programs, and facilitated study at Harvard for nearly two thousand students and visiting scholars. Faculty from Harvard have partnered with regional institutions on initiatives as diverse as improving early education in Chile (Un Buen Comienzo with Fundacíon Educacional Oportunidad), piloting an intervention for HIV affected children in Peru (with Socios en Salud), assisting earthquake recovery efforts in Chile (with the Universidad de Concepción and the Universidad del Bio-Bío, among many others), developing a museum at Arturo Prat Base in Antarctica (with the Armada de Chile), and starting construction of the new Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile.

Major initiatives out of the Brazil Office (established in 2006) in São Paulo include an early childhood development collaborative involving Fundação Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal, the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Insper, and Harvard's Center on the Developing Child; and annual winter session collaborative field courses in public health (with Harvard's School of Public Health, the USP Faculdade de Medicina, and the Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo) and environmental science (with Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the USP Escola Politécnica). In 2013 alone more than 40 faculty and 215 students traveled to Brazil to participate in these and other programs, while at the same time the Lemann Fellowship program brought 13 visiting scholars to Harvard and provided funding for Brazilian students pursuing Harvard graduate degrees.

May 2013 marked the formal launching of the Mexico and Central America Office (initiated in 2012) in Mexico City, serving not only Mexico but also Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, with three primary objectives: "to increase Harvard's faculty involvement in the region, to help Harvard students connect with relevant academic and professional opportunities, and facilitate Harvard's collaboration with public and private institutions, as well as other organizations in the region."

Special thanks to Kathy Eckroad, Executive Director, and Alina Salgado, Development and External Relations Coordinator, for information and photos for this feature.

(Posted January 2014.)