Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Latin American Studies: Follow your Track

At SAIS, about 60 students are LASP concentrators --LASP is SAIS jargon for Latin American Studies Program – and, of the first-year concentrators, about half of them spend the first year at SAIS Europe.

The program is known for its dedicated faculty and staff and the individualized attention the students receive. What is more, it maintains close ties with its alumni community and provides a platform for current students and alumni to network for professional and academic development.

Today, Anne McKenzie, the program's professional development coordinator, tells us what's new with LASP.

Anne McKenzie (middle) in DC with SAIS Europe LASP concentrators
We have implemented a new system of ‘tracks’ to allow students to combine functional interests with the LASP concentration. In addition to selecting a track, concentrators complete a foundation course, pass a LASP history exam and participate in a capstone internship in addition to becoming proficient in Spanish and/or Portuguese.

This new framework--five academic tracks--provides a more specialized structure to better match individual interests. What’s more, the tracks offer greater flexibility to incorporate a relevant non-LASP course as part of the program.

Starting this year, students will be able to choose from the following tracks:

(1)   Latin American Political Economy
(2)   Emerging Markets/International Finance
(3)   Energy, Resources & Environment
(4)   International Development Policy & Institutions
(5)   Foreign/Public Policy & Security Challenges

On September 25, DC-based LASP Sr. Associate Professor Francisco E. Gonz├ílez will hold a lecture for students in Bologna.  This will introduce Bologna students to DC LASP faculty early in the academic year.

Both Guadalupe Paz, associate director and assistant research professor, and I are based in DC, but each year we travel to Bologna to meet with LASP current and prospective concentrators. This year, we will return to SAIS Europe in early October; the goal is to introduce students to the many academic and extracurricular activities offered through the concentration as well as to open lines of communication between the two campuses.

Highlights of these many offerings are included in the SAIS Latin American Studies Academic Year Recap 2013-2014, which you can read here.

Anne McKenzie

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