Latin American Studies

Why Latin American Studies?
Latin America and Emerging Markets
Brazil as an Emerging Market Player
Understanding Global Challenges

"LASP offers students the opportunity to understand the complex dynamics of the developing world..."

"Latin America is the most dynamic economic region in the developing world. The idea of 'emerging markets' was born there..."

"The cost of doing business in Brazil is very high."

"LASP students gain hands-on knowledge through innovative coursework such as the Multilateral Research Practicum."

Program Activities
Events Calendar
Our Alumni
Latin American Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives

LASP Academic Year 2015-16 Recap
LASP Academic Year 2014-15 Recap

The Latin American Studies Program (LASP) offers students the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of Latin America as a global player while simultaneously developing functional expertise through a policy-oriented curriculum. A diverse group of countries richly endowed with natural resources, Latin America provides the perfect laboratory to learn about key international policy areas such as energy, emerging markets, and sustainable development, as they apply to the region and beyond.

LASP students gain expertise in their functional area of interest with an applied regional focus through a choice of five tracks of study (for an overview of the LASP MA curriculum with the five tracks of study, click here):
  • Latin American Political Economy
  • Emerging Markets/International Finance
  • Energy, Resources & Environment
  • International Development Policy & Institutions
  • Foreign/Public Policy & Security Challenges
LASP attracts over 60 students each year and enjoys a significant presence in the SAIS Europe campus in Bologna, Italy.  Continually incorporating innovative approaches to the study of Latin America in the global context, the LASP curriculum covers a variety of regional, sub-regional, and cross-regional themes. The following sample illustrates the breadth and diversity of the LASP course offerings and research agenda:

  • Competing in World Markets: Latin America's Legacy & Emergence of New Industrial Policies
  • Financial Globalization, Currency Crises & Emerging Markets
  • Energy in the Americas: Conflict, Cooperation & Future Prospects
  • Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean: New Challenges Amidst Growing Insecurity 
  • Brazil's Rise as an Emerging Market Player
  • Multilateral Research Practicum in Association with the Inter-American Development Bank
  • Public Opinion as a Driver for Policymakers: Analytical Tools & Illustrative Case Studies
  • Urban Economics & Urban Policy in Latin America

The Latin American Studies Program is consistently recognized for its dedicated faculty and staff, and distinguished by the individual attention that each student receives.  Students benefit from a number of LASP sponsored activities, including program-funded summer internships and fellowships in Latin America, study trips to China and other countries (most recently Brazil and Costa Rica), and LASP student activities such as Latin American film screenings and Spanish/Portuguese language conversation socials.  The program is also known for maintaining close ties with its alumni, creating a strong community that serves the professional and academic pursuits of both current and former students.  Alumni have led successful careers with a global reach in academia, investment banking, business consulting, government, diplomacy, and international development.

MIPP LASP Affiliation
For an overview of the MIPP LASP Affiliation requirements and options, click here.
H.E. Fernando Henrique Cardoso launched his memoirs at a school event hosted by WHS-LASP Director Dr. Riordan Roett.
LASP Professor Dr. Francisco González was awarded the Max M. Fisher Prize for Excellence in Teaching; here he delivers the corresponding Fisher lecture to the school's community.
For his role in aiding Chilean scholars during the Pinochet era, in addition to his academic contributions, Professor Roett was named to the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins with the rank of “Gran Oficial.”
LASP students on site visit to Baosteel in Shanghai during LASP-sponsored studies trip to China to research Sino-Latin American Relations.
LASP delegation meets with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla in San José.
The LASP Brazil Studies Trip delegation meets with Virtus Founding Partner and LASP alumnus Eleazar de Carvalho Filho in São Paulo, Brazil.
LASP summer interns meet with Portuguese language professor in São Paulo.
LASP-sponsored summer interns gather with alumni in Mexico City.
LASP students at Dr. Roett's home for biannual wine and cheese reception.
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Program Activities


Internships and Research Fellowships

The LASP Internship & Research Fellowship Program funds up to 25 students in the region each summer. Recent placements within The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mexico), Thomson Reuters (Brazil), Itaú Asset Management (Chile), Inter-American Development Bank (Ecuador), Colombia-China Chamber of Commerce (Colombia), and UN Women (Panama) reflect the diverse interests of participating students.  These capstone experiences are made possible through the generous support of alumni as well as corporate and foundation sponsors.

LASP Internships in Latin America - Summer 2016
LASP Internships in Latin America - Summer 2015
LASP Internships in Latin America - Summer 2014
LASP Internships in Latin America - Summer 2013
LASP Internships in Latin America - Summer 2012


LASP Panel Events

Through LASP Panel Events, prominent practitioners and policy experts engage the LASP community on critical issues affecting the Western Hemisphere. These candid sessions provide students with unique access to senior-level public officials (eg, Special Assistant to the President & Sr. Dir. for WHA, National Security Council), private sector leaders (eg, Managing Director, Global Environment Fund) and distinguished scholars (eg, Director, Latin America Program, Woodrow Wilson Center).

A sample of 2015-16 panel events includes:

- Dr. Alejandro Werner, Director, Western Hemisphere Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Dr. Francisco E. González, “Consequences of the Energy Shock for Latin America since 2014” 
- Dr. Riordan Roett, Johns Hopkins SAIS LASP Professor and Director; Mr. Daniel Kerner, Latin America Practice Head, Eurasia Group; Dr. Cynthia McClintock, Professor, Elliot School, The George Washington University; and Dr. Harold Trinkunas, Director, Latin America Initiative, The Brookings Institution, “Elections and Political Instability in Latin America”
- Dr. Riordan Roett, Johns Hopkins SAIS LASP Professor and Director and Dr. Robert Devlin, Johns Hopkins SAIS LASP Professorial Lecturer, at the Embassy of Peru, “The China-Latin America Relationship: Current Trends and Emerging Challenges”


Seminar Series Schedule - Spring 2015
Seminar Series Schedule - Fall 2014
Seminar Series Schedule - Spring 2014
Seminar Series Schedule - Fall 2013


International Study Trips

LASP students have the opportunity to participate in international study trips to China, Brazil and/or Costa Rica (contingent upon available funding). Participants meet with high-level government officials and business leaders as well as members of the academic, media and diplomatic communities to gain a deeper understanding of critical political and economic issues.

Photo: LASP students meet Costa Rican President Solis and Second Vice President Chacón Echeverría


These student-led social events are intended to provide an opportunity to practice conversational language skills and informally discuss relevant topics of interest with native Spanish- and/or Portuguese-speakers.

Director's Wine and Cheese Receptions

Each year, LASP Director Riordan Roett welcomes program concentrators, staff, and faculty to his residence for a wine and cheese reception. These gatherings enable students to become better acquainted with program faculty/staff and fellow classmates.

Latin American Film Series

LASP students collaborate with faculty to showcase a series of Latin American films throughout the academic year. Following the screenings, faculty-led discussions stimulate in-depth analysis of topics addressed in the films.

Program Activities: Europe

Can LASP concentrators start in Bologna and finish in DC?

Yes, approximately half of incoming LASP MA students begin their studies at SAIS Europe in Bologna. SAIS Europe offers LASP courses taught by distinguished adjunct faculty from renowned European universities and occasionally from SAIS Washington visiting faculty.  By spending one year in Europe, students are exposed to the European perspectives on global issues, including those affecting Latin America.  Students also benefit from sharing the SAIS Europe in Bologna experience with an internationally and professionally diverse student body, while also gaining more direct access to the network of European alumni. LASP students who begin their studies in Bologna can meet their concentration requirements by taking the LASP courses offered in Bologna and completing the remaining required coursework in Washington. Students can also pursue their language studies (Spanish and Portuguese) in Bologna.


Photo: First-year LASP students meet with Associate Director Guadalupe Paz and Senior Academic Coordinator Anne McKenzie at the SAIS Europe campus in Bologna, Italy.




Latin American Studies Program Goals and Objectives
Entering Class 2016-2017
MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits). Those MA students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.


MA students concentrating in Latin American Studies must take the LASP Foundation course (Understanding Modern Latin American Politics, SA.810.700) and at least five courses within their chosen LASP track. In addition, all LASP MA students must pass the Latin American history exam. Students choose one of the following specialized tracks of study:
  • Latin American Political Economy
  • Emerging Markets/International Finance
  • Energy, Resources & Environment
  • International Development Policy & Institutions
  • Foreign/Public Policy & Security Challenges

For an overview, click HERE.



Students must complete the following four international economics courses:
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
  • International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
  • International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Micro in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore take electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

Students must receive a 2.67 average in the 4 required economics courses or they must retake a course(s) until a 2.67 average is obtained. If any of the 4 courses are achieved by passing a waiver exam or during Pre-Term, the student must substitute an economics elective course(s) in place of the waived course(s) in order to fulfill the economics requirement above. In this case, the school will use the highest economics program elective course grade(s) to compute this average if a student is replacing one or more of the 4 required courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory or International Monetary Theory.


Students must complete one quantitative reasoning course as specified in their chosen LASP track or, when not specified, any course from the list below:
  • Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
  • Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
  • Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Risk Analysis and Modeling
  • Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.


All students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses in addition to their concentration requirements. If the core courses/exams are not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll for credit in the core course(s).
  • American Foreign Policy Since World War II
  • Comparative Politics (old name Comparative National Systems)
  • Evolution of the International Systems
  • Theories of International Relations


LASP MA candidates must pass the language exams to demonstrate proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese. Those who successfully complete the oral and written exams in one language are encouraged to enroll for study in the other language. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school. Native speakers of Spanish or Portuguese must demonstrate proficiency in a second language, which can include English.


Latin American Studies concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstone requirements:
  1. Internship and Report: An academic or professional internship relevant to program course work—all internships completed through the LASP Summer Internship Program satisfy this requirement.*  Students must subsequently submit a report on the experience.**
  2. LASP Oral Exam: Students who are unable to complete an internship will be required to pass a 30–45 minute oral exam with LASP faculty at the end of their final semester.
  3. MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors—if eligible)
* If unable to participate in the LASP Summer Internship Program, students may secure their own internships to be completed during the summer or during their second year at SAIS. These internships must be no less than eight weeks in duration and are subject to departmental approval.

** The internship written report should be three double-spaced pages in length and will be due by the beginning of the student’s last semester at the school. The report is intended to help students articulate what was gained through the experience in the context of a future job interview--it should thus delve into a thematic component of the internship rather than highlight duties/responsibilities.


Entering Class 2015-2016
Entering Class 2014-2015
Entering Class 2013-2014 (see 2012-2013 requirements)


Latin American Studies Minor Requirements: (as of AY 16/17)

  • 3 Latin American Studies courses (12 credits) in total
  • 1 of the 3 courses must be Understanding Modern Latin American Politics (SA.810.700)
  • 2 additional Latin American Studies or cross-listed courses (8 credits)
  • Proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese is highly recommended 

General Minor Requirements:

  • Minors are optional (like specializations)
  • A student can minor in only one area
  • A student cannot pursue a minor in International Economics or IR/General, but can pursue a Specialization in International Economics
  • Minors consist of three courses
  • Some minors will have a required course(s)
  • A student may use a maximum of one cross-listed course (or 4 credits) towards both a minor and concentration. In this case, the minor would require just two additional courses. In the IR or Asia concentrations, the cross-listed course must be from the primary concentration area (e.g., Conflict Management, Global Theory and History, China, Japan, etc.) and not from the two additional required courses across the other IR or Asia areas. Note: IR/General concentrators can always minor in an IR sub-field or approved policy area (Conflict Management, Global Theory and History, International Law and Organizations, International Political Economy, Energy, Resources, and Environment, or Strategic Studies) by taking just two extra courses (8 credits).
  • Regional minors may require language study or proficiency in the language of that region
  • A student can declare a minor at any time—prior to graduation
  • Students who are pursuing a minor in a program will not have bidding priority in that program (only concentrators)

To add or change a minor, please click HERE.


What makes LASP unique?

  • Latin America:  A Gateway to the World of International Affairs -- Regional knowledge gained through the school's Latin American Studies concentration is essential to succeed in many functional areas; this combined knowledge has transregional and transfunctional applicability.
  • LASP Selected Tracks of Study:  (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.
  • With the aim of staying at the forefront of academic research examining Latin American relations within a global framework, LASP plans to organize a Spring 2017 study trip to Argentina
  • For four decades, LASP has financed student internships and research fellowships in Latin America; these competitive opportunities are confirmed each year based on the interests of current students.
  • Global reach of engaged LASP alumni networkWhether you travel to Argentina or Zambia -- or countless other locations in the US or around the world -- there is a LASP alumna/us with whom you can connect for personal or professional networking.
  • With university-recognized LASP faculty and staff, both in DC and Bologna, LASP students are given an unmatched level of attention.

Should you wish to get in touch with current LASP students or program alumni, please reach out to Anne McKenzie, LASP Outreach & Professional Development, ( so that we can make the appropriate introductions.    

Student Testimonials

Ge Pepeî Zhang, MA LASP ‘15
Academic bio:
Originally from Shanghai, China, I am a second-year LASPie pursuing specializations in Finance and Emerging Markets Economics. Prior to arriving at Johns Hopkins SAIS, I was an undergraduate student at Pomona College where I studied Spanish and Latin American Politics. In college I also spent one semester abroad in Chile and conducted research in Peru for my thesis. My more recent regional experiences included my LASP internship, which I did in Colombia between my first and second year of study at Johns Hopkins SAIS. My trilingual background has shaped my distinctive academic and research interests in the China-US-Latin America triangle. By combining the regional knowledge and economics skills I have gained at the school, I aim to unravel the extent to which Chinaís increasing role in Latin America affects the traditional American domination of the region, economically, politically, and culturally.
What drew you to the Latin American Studies Program at Johns Hopkins SAIS?
I was drawn to Johns Hopkins SAIS/LASP by its illustrious faculty which is not only well-versed in teaching Latin American political economy but closely follows the increasing Chinese engagement with the region. For my undergraduate research, I had read China's Expansion into the Western Hemisphere: Implications for Latin America and the United States (2008), a book produced by LASP faculty members and one of the most relevant pieces of literature on this subject matter at the time. In addition, I found LASPís curriculum, connections, and other resources equally relevant to maximizing my cross-cultural, interdisciplinary research.
What has been the best part of your experience with LASP thus far?
The people. Since joining the Program in September 2013, I have benefitted immensely from LASP, receiving invaluable academic guidance from Dr. Roett and other faculty members, professional support from Program Coordinator Anne McKenzie and the larger LASP network, and financial assistance through scholarships and internship funds created by LASP alums. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to study with some of the brightest latinoamericanistas of my generation and have forged friendships that will last a lifetime.
How do Latin America and the Latin American Studies Program figure into your academic and professional goals?
I envision using my experience at Johns Hopkins SAIS/LASP to possibly work in consulting in Latin America. By taking graduate-level coursework in Economics and Politics, strengthening my regional experience through a summer internship in Colombia, and becoming part of the LASP family/network, I feel better prepared to undertake academic and professional challenges going forward.

Jesus Cota Lopez, MA LASP ‘15
Academic bio:
Currently a second-year LASP concentrator specializing in Quantitative Methods and Economic Theory. Prior to my graduate studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS, I worked as a mortgage banker and as a project manager. I double majored in economics and political science at the University of California ñ Riverside. I have served in the board of directors of a Mexican NGO as chief financial officer since 2009. I completed an internship for the office of fiscal and municipal management at the IDB in Mexico City between my first and second year of studies at the school. My academic interests include the study of currency crises and the vulnerability of Latin American countries to foreign monetary conditions and international capital flows.
What drew you to the Latin American Studies Program at Johns Hopkins SAIS?
All academic programs at the school have prominent professors and are at the forefront of their respective fields on their own merit. However, I felt that the Latin American Studies Program is especially unique within the school and across similar programs at other International Relations schools. The main reason for this is the emerging markets and economics approach towards problems in the region. It is very hard to parse out economic from political agents in Latin America and the LASP department under the leadership of Professor Roett gives students the right academic and practical tools to tackle the analysis of all relevant actors. Furthermore, the LASP department gives students the opportunity to travel to China and Latin America in a cultural trip during the fall and spring breaks. In addition, LASP students have the opportunity to complete an internship in the region during the summer. Therefore, this combination of academic and practical pedagogical methods was what drew me to the Latin American Studies Program.

What has been the best part of your experience with LASP thus far?
Thus far the best part of my experience with LASP has been the opportunity of having done my summer internship at the Inter-American Development Bank office in Mexico City. I had the opportunity to meet great development practitioners at the IDB and professionals from the ministry of finance in addition to improving my Stata and research skills. Also, my wife Sarah and I had an awesome time visiting the splendid museums, public parks, and restaurants in Mexico City.
How do Latin America and the Latin American Studies Program figure into your academic and professional goals?
Even though I was born in the United States, I grew up in the Mexican side of the border between Baja California and California. This personal experience helped me develop a genuine interest in the economic and political affairs of Mexico and the rest of Latin America. As an undergraduate I double majored in economics and political science with the hope to one day work for a government institution with offices in Latin American affairs (i.e. the State Department and the US Treasury) or for a multilateral organization (i.e. the IDB, the World Bank, and the IMF). Therefore, the Latin American Studies Program was the best option for me to accomplish this goal.

Rachel Snyderman, MA LASP ‘16

Academic bio:
I studied Economics and Latin American Studies at Wellesley College, and for my senior honors thesis researched the effect of the 2009 Honduran coup díÈtat on the development of social capital in the country and its implications for the region. Prior to Johns Hopkins SAIS, I worked as a senior analyst for Ernst & Youngís Quantitative Economics and Statistics practice in Washington, DC. My work primarily focused on international tax policy where I specialized in mining tax policy issues in a variety of Latin American countries. Additional work experience in Latin America includes prior work with Innovations for Poverty Action in San Pedro Sula, Honduras; FundaciÛn Directorio Legislativo in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Bruce Peru Organization in Chiclayo and Lima, Peru.
What drew you to the Latin American Studies Program at Johns Hopkins SAIS?
I had wanted to attend the school since my sophomore year of college when my favorite professor introduced me to the program. It was then that I realized I could combine my two academic passions in economics and Latin American studies into one. The school offers its students the ability to do this, but challenges us to narrow that focus even more to graduate as a student ready to be a professional in the field of his or her choice. The school has pushed me to discover my interest in private sector development in Latin America, and Iím excited to see where this and my LASP coursework takes me.
What has been the best part of your experience with LASP thus far?
The programís diversity! From the student body to the courses offered, the LASP program consistently amazes me with the breadth and depth of its people and resources. It has been such an enriching academic experience to share perspectives on current issues facing the region with students and professors from varying backgrounds, nationalities, and professional experiences.
How do Latin America and the Latin American Studies Program figure into your academic and professional goals?
One of the many strengths of the LASP program is that it consistently challenges its students to not only stay current on Latin American affairs, but with how Latin America fares in the context of an ever-evolving world. We study Latin America through different functional and regional lenses, comparing its economic, political, and social development with other regions and countries. I know this education will prepare me well for work across the private, public, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors. I hope to work as a private sector development specialist with the Inter-American Development Bank as a Johns Hopkins SAIS LASP alumna.

Roxana Martinelli, MA LASP ‘16, (Bologna ‘15)

Academic bio:
I studied Accounting and Business Administration at Universidad de Buenos Aires, however I specialized my professional career in Management and Technology. In 2011, I obtained a MA in Information Technologies and Management at Pontificia Universidad CatÛlica de Chile. I worked in several telecommunications and IT companies such as TelefÛnica, Nextel, Oracle and Hewlett Packard. Nevertheless, during my professional experience with my ICT (Information and Communications Technology) specialization I also developed a strong concern for education and development issues in the Latin America region. This interest led me to volunteer for Crece Chile, AcciÛn Emprendedora and PMIEF in Chile, among others. In these organizations my role was mainly related to transfer knowledge either as an instructor or as a trainer. As this passion grew, I realized I needed a professional change.  When finally made the decision to switch career paths to development issues in Latin America, I decided to enroll in Johns Hopkins SAIS because of its prestige.
What drew you to the Latin American Studies Program at Johns Hopkins SAIS?
My goal was to find a program that provided me with technical tools in development and economics but also oriented to the Latin America region. When I heard of Latin American Studies program and realized that one of the offered tracks was International development and institution policies, I knew it was the perfect program. Furthermore, researching and learning about the faculty members solidified my decision. Dr. Roettís knowledge and experience of the region as well as Dr. Mahrukh Doctorís (a professor who teaches in Bologna) pervious research attracted me even more.
What has been the best part of your experience with LASP thus far?
How much LASP staff members care about students! Anne Mckenzie and Dr. Guadalupe Paz are absolutely amazing. They have been extremely helpful on providing advice on program courses, career development as well as internship research. Before starting my academic year I had the chance to meet Professor Gonzalez in Chile. The experience was great. There were alumni who worked in Chile, first year students who were performing their summer internship and myself all in attendance. Prof. Gonzalez is not only knowledgeable on the region but he is also a very kind person and a great listener, open to providing both academic and career advice.
How do Latin America and the Latin American Studies Program figure into your academic and professional goals?
Latin America has faced a diversity of problems that have affected the regionís economic and social development. It is an irony that such a resource-rich region suffers from low economic growth rates, rising inflation and high inequalities. The LASP program offers the technical knowledge to address these problems and to begin working on a potential solution. Developing human capital and investing in education are essential for the region to tackle poverty and inequality. My goal is to work in the education and development sector, merging with my knowledge of ICTs. I am certain that the LASP program will contribute to achieving my goal. This program will provide me with the necessary academic background through its faculty members, the professional experience through the summer internship program and, last but not least, my personal development through the continuous and positive interaction with my classmates.



Our Alumni


A Lasting Impact


The LASP Alumni Network

LASP maintains close ties with its actively engaged alumni network around the globe, providing a valuable resource, both within and outside the US, for recruiting, mentoring, and social networking.
LASP alumni have successfully pursued careers in investment banking, business consulting, government, diplomacy, international development, and academia, among other sectors, quite often focusing on global or regional issues beyond Latin America. Typically, LASP graduates will initially work on issues relating to the Latin American region in US and international organizations, finance (NY, London), economic policy and research (IMF, Federal Reserve, Central Banks); international development (World Bank, IDB); renewable energy (Houston, San Francisco); management consulting; foreign policy (State Department or home Foreign Ministries).  Over time, LASP graduates tend to expand into various areas of specialization that span the globe, from energy in Saudi Arabia, to finance in Asia, to international law/human rights in Geneva, to social development in conflict regions in Africa, among many examples. 

Alumni Testimonials


Ron Sasine (MA '91): Senior Director, Responsible Sourcing, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
SAIS offers its students an uncommonly strong foundation in public policy and a sound understanding of the way economics drive international relations.  In my business career, I've found that the crucial element in many deals has often been the cultural and societal insight that was gained at SAIS.  My LASP internship in Brazil helped me make the crucial link between government policy and private enterprise and bridged the gap for me between my public-sector experience and my business career.  After graduation I joined a major global manufacturing company, working around the world to design and execute packaging programs for fast-moving consumer goods.  Now I work for the world's largest company, directing ethical sourcing programs across our worldwide supply chain.  SAIS was a critical step in my development, and the tools I developed there are with me every day.

Myra Betron (BA '02 MA'03) Senior Gender Advisor, Jhpiego
My Latin American Studies internship with the World Bank's Latin America & Caribbean Gender Team led to post-SAIS work at the World Bank on addressing gender issues, such as gender-based violence, through the health sector.  That work launched my career in gender and public health, in which I have been working for the past 10 years in Latin America, Africa and Asia.  Thanks to the opportunity that my Latin American Studies internship gave me, I am now leading the establishment and coordination of efforts to address gender inequalities in global health programs run by Jhpiego, another affiliate of Johns Hopkins.  

Stefano Pettinato (MA '99): Program Manager, UN Development Programme
After my first year at SAIS I was fortunate enough to get in the LASP internship program, which allowed me to work at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Santiago, Chile.  The two-and-a-half months at ECLAC were critical for deepening knowledge of people and issues relevant for economic development in the Latin-American region.  That experience paved the way for my future professional focus on that same topic.  During and after the second year at SAIS I worked at the World Bank, and later as a Senior Research Analyst at the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Inter-American Development Bank.  In 2002 I joined UNDP, working first as a co-author of the Human Development Report, and later in UNDP's Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean as a regional policy advisor on human development.  Since 2012 I have been the Deputy Representative of UNDP for El Salvador and Belize.  Today I can say that without SAIS, that summer in Santiago and the LASP programme I would have never made it where I am today.

Geoffrey Chalmers (MA ‘00): Managing Director, ACDI/VOCA
In the summer of 1999, I participated in a SAIS/LASP-sponsored summer internship with Financiera Chispa, a microfinance institution (MFI) in Masaya, Nicaragua. I developed a feasibility study for entry into the untapped market of agricultural lending. For my own academic and professional development, the result of the internship was profound. This relevant field experience was a key factor in getting my first job out of SAIS, in the Office of Microenterprise Development at USAID. This, in turn, led me to more field experience with USAID in Mexico and then to a not-for-profit, ACDI/VOCA, where I am currently a Managing Director. My SAIS/LASP experience, including not only the summer internship program but the excellent coursework and the network of alumni, allowed me to graduate with a combination of the book learning and highly relevant hands-on experience that launched me into the career I was passionate about, in international development.

Alumni Networking

Dr. Roett with alumni in São Paulo, Brazil

Off-the-record LASP alumni panel discussion

LASP-sponsored summer interns gather with alumni in Mexico City

Contact Us

Riordan Roett
Director of the Latin American Studies Program
Nitze 511

Guadalupe Paz
Associate Director of the Latin American Studies Program, Assistant Research Professor of Latin American Studies
Nitze 518

Anne McKenzie
Senior Academic Coordinator for Outreach and Professional Development
Nitze 502

John McGeoch
Program Coordinator
Nitze 502

Address & Phone

Latin American Studies
Nitze Building
1740 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036