Latin America is a broad and diverse region comprising not only South America, but also Central America, Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean. Over the years, Washington University has built strategic networks within and across these countries to address challenges both common and unique to their rich cultures and histories, diverse economies, and shifting political environments.
Our partnership with Latin America combines education with high-impact scientific work aimed at improving the quality of life. These efforts include focusing on brain studies related to malnutrition, exploring the climate and culture in the fragile ecosystem of the Peruvian Andes, and developing nutrition and parenting programs to promote healthy growth and reduce stunting among underserved children. With our partners, we implemented the first Alzheimer’s disease genetic counseling and testing programs in several countries, and another collaboration helped launch Haiti’s first undergraduate degree program in public health.
In early 2023, WashU launched La Comunidad, or “the community,” a new alumni network focused on engaging and connecting the university’s Hispanic, Latinx, and Latin American graduates. This community will further expand and strengthen our reach and impact as a global university committed to helping meet the world’s challenges.
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This site, this lake, potentially holds vital information about past climate changes. This is something that we can use to help understand what might happen in the future, but also what could have happened in the past and how that could have shaped the way that people were living in the Andes.Bronwen Konecky, Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Arts & Sciences
Washington University’s collaborations with Latin America demonstrate its commitment to research excellence. The university engages in high-impact scientific work with its Latin American partners on critical issues related to brain studies, climate and culture, nutrition, and public health.
Reconstructing climate and culture in Peruvian Andes
Two scientists from Washington University are reconstructing past climate and cultural shifts in the Peruvian Andes. Today, such high-altitude parts of the tropics are warming faster than the rest of the globe. And there has been little data on climate in the Andes to explain why.
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Renowned evolutionary biologist Jonathon Losos has spent his storied career studying anole lizards in South America and the Caribbean. The small, primarily tree-dwelling creatures, a relation to the iguana, encompass some 400 species, and nearly half of them live on islands.
Guillermo Rosas studies the economic consequences of political regimes and the effects of political institutions on political elite behavior, especially in Latin America.
Having worked in Haiti for more than 30 years, Lora Iannotti has witnessed the country’s dire health problems and specifically, the lack of young child nutrition in resource-poor settings.
Education and outreach
Latin America is a region of great economic importance, with significant implications for global development and sustainability. Through its education and outreach efforts, Washington University seeks to engage with Latin America’s complex political, economic, and social landscape, shaped by historical and contemporary factors.
Programs and partnerships
A major or minor in Latin American Studies (LAS) is an excellent complement to any other major program at WashU. Latin America is the location of major US trade partners, and Latin American immigrants constitute the largest segment of market growth in the US, including in the major economic markets. This makes the LAS major a great companion to a business degree. Business majors and M.B.A. graduates with a Latin American studies background have a comparative advantage in the global market, as large corporations seek executives with a better understanding of the region’s complex social, cultural and economic issues.
Why Latin American Studies?
Latin American Studies is a gateway to the region and its cultures, politics and history. The major in Latin American Studies can be studied on its own, providing knowledge about a region valuable for employers across different fields and industries. Focusing on Latin America allows students to engage with one of the most fascinating historical trajectories in the world, with diverse cultures where the traditional and the modern are always negotiating, and with the opportunity to participate in vibrant business, intellectual and political scenes. Latin America is a region at the forefront of policy reform, embedded in the complex networks of global economics, development, social engagement and cultural expression. Because of the region’s importance, the LAS major provides key skills for today’s jobs.
Latin America offers an increasing number of study abroad and fellowship opportunities. At Washington University, we have in place in-house programs in Chile, Mexico and Ecuador, with other countries forthcoming. Some of our students apply to other programs and fellowships with environmental, political and social organizations in the region. NGOs and institutions such as Fulbright, Comexus, the Ford foundation, Human Rights Watch and Greenpeace have a strong presence in Latin America, with a wide array of fellowship and internship opportunities.
The Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) exists to create and foster an atmosphere in which the Hispanic/Latino community of Washington University is able to work together to promote cultural awareness, education, and fellowship for the benefit of the Washington University community. ALAS strives to share with WashU the vibrant and lively traditions of Latin America through programs such as the annual Carnaval, a celebration of Latin culture featuring many dances as well as a skit.
WashU undergrads partner with Tecnológico de Monterrey on podcasts
At WashU, students in a Spanish seminar collaborated on a joint research project with students from the Tecnológico de Monterrey. The exchange–a bilingual mix of shared experiences and diverse perspectives–examined migration in contemporary times.
Alumni networks and impact
Did you know more than 45 alumni, parents, and friends live in Buenos Aires? International networks support alumni, students, families, and friends of Washington University by offering opportunities to socialize, network, and share WashU memories. We welcome you to reach out, make new connections, and build on your lifelong connection with WashU.
WashU CNX is the university’s online networking platform where alumni and current students share experiences and expertise, ask questions, find answers, and help each other grow. They make meaningful connections every day.
La Comunidad: a cultural home for a diverse community
On Jan. 18, 2023, a highly dedicated group of Washington University alumni braved pouring rain to celebrate the launch of La Comunidad, or “the community,” a new alumni network focused on engaging and connecting the university’s Hispanic, Latinx, and Latin American graduates.
More alumni stories
Alumna María Isabel Dabrowski discusses science outreach, the importance empathy and how she launched a career in environmental conservation. María Isabel Dabrowski, AB ’18, combines her fascinations with marine life and behavioral science as a senior outreach associate at Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment, the world’s first center focused exclusively on behavioral science […]
In October 2021, Andia Augustin-Billy, MA ’09, PhD ’15, became the first Black faculty member to receive tenure at Centenary College of Louisiana in its 196-year history.
Explore our impact in other regions
No single map can reflect all global perspectives. The country borders on this map do not reflect the official policy of Washington University in St. Louis or any specific government.