Latin American Studies

Offering an overall political economy focus and five specialized tracks (for an overview, click here), the Latin American Studies Program (LASP) attracts over 60 students each year and enjoys a significant presence at SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy.  With coursework in emerging markets/finance, energy, international development issues, U.S. foreign policy and security challenges, the program continually seeks to develop innovative approaches to the study of Latin America in the global context.  Covering 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:

- Energy in the Americas: Conflict, Cooperation & Future Prospects
- Competing in World Markets: Latin America's Legacy & Emergence of New Industrial Policies
- Current issues in Emerging Markets: Opportunity & Risk  in Latin America
- Brazil's Rise as an Emerming Market Player
- Multilateral Research Practicum in Association with the Inter-American Development Bank
- Urban Economics & Urban Policy in Latin America
- Public Opinion as a Driver for Policymakers: Analytical Tools & Illustrative Case Studies
 
SAIS/LASP is consistently recognized for its dedicated faculty and staff and the individualized attention the students receive.  Through program-level fundraising efforts, LASP students benefit from a number of co-curricular and extra-curricular 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 with faculty commentary and Spanish/Portuguese language conversation socials.  LASP is also known for maintaining close ties with its alumni community, allowing current students and the alumni themselves to effectively network for professional, academic, and other pursuits.  Alumni have led successful careers with a global reach in investment banking, business consulting, government, diplomacy, international development, and academia, among other sectors.
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Why Latin American Studies?
Description Teaser: 
"LASP offers students the opportunity to understand the complex dynamics of the developing world..."
Description: 
"LASP offers students the opportunity to understand the complex dynamics of the developing world.  Why is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of oil reserves--Venezuela--a failed state politically?  How can Brazil, a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), fail to make the crucial structural reforms in order to be a competitive and productive society?  Will the indigenous people of Peru veto major mining projects that will provide billions of dollars of foreign exchange?  Will the new government in Mexico, under President Peña Nieto, find the political capital to open the oil industry to new investment and, in so doing, change the energy agenda in North America?"

--Dr. Riordan Roett, Director and Professor, WHS/LASP
 
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Latin America and Emerging Markets
Description Teaser: 
"Latin America is the most dynamic economic region in the developing world. The idea of 'emerging markets' was born there..."
Description: 
"Latin America is the most dynamic economic region in the developing world. The idea of 'emerging markets' was born there, and the region will arguably remain its center of gravity as growing middle classes, deepening credit markets, great abundance of natural resources, and a relatively young demographic profile boost its potential for growth and international influence.  At the same time, long-standing features such as high inequality, weak rule of law, and vibrant ideological politics in multi-ethnic Latin American societies raise challenges for domestic decision-makers as well as governments and investors of the mature economies of the United States, the European Union, and Japan.  These actors are finding it harder to vie for influence in the region given the growing interest and engagement of fast growing but resource-constrained China and India."

--Dr. Francisco E. González, Senior Associate Professor, LASP
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The program’s diverse curricular and extracurricular opportunities have allowed LASP graduates to pursue successful careers in a broad array of fields. In addition to the specializations offered by the International Economics Program, students have the option of complementing their LASP regional concentration with an Emerging Markets specialization.

For an overview of the Emerging Markets Specialization, click here.
Europe Activities: 
May 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. 

Address: 
Nitze Building 1740 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20036 sais-westernhemisphere@jhu.edu
Program Directors & Staff: 
Name: 
Riordan Roett
Address: 
Nitze 511
Title: 
Director of the Latin American Studies Program
Phone: 
202-663-5728
Name: 
Guadalupe Paz
Address: 
Nitze 518
Email: 
Title: 
Associate Director of the Latin American Studies Program, Assistant Research Professor of Latin American Studies
Phone: 
202-663-5731
Name: 
Anne McKenzie
Address: 
Nitze 502
Title: 
Senior Academic Coordinator for Outreach and Professional Development
Phone: 
202-663-5738
Name: 
John McGeoch
Address: 
Nitze 502
Title: 
Program Coordinator
Phone: 
202-663-5734
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Our Alumni: 
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Alumni Networking
Description: 
LASP maintains close ties with its actively engaged alumni network around the globe, providing a valuable resource, both within and outside the U.S., 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 U.S. 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. 
 
To stay connected, please email sais-westernhemisphere@jhu.edu.


Dr. Roett with alumni in São Paulo, Brazil


Off-the-record LASP alumni panel discussion


LASP-sponsored summer interns gather with SAIS alumni in Mexico City
Program Activities: 
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Internships and Research Fellowships
Description: 
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 (Peru), Colombia-Venezuela Chamber of Commerce (Colombia) 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 2013
LASP Internships in Latin America - Summer 2012
LASP Internships in Latin America - Summer 2011
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Samuel Z. Stone Seminar Series
Description: 
Through the Stone lectures, averaging ten per semester, 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).

Seminar Series Schedule - Fall 2013
Seminar Series Schedule - Spring 2013
Seminar Series Schedule - Fall 2012
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International Study Trips
Description: 
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.

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Tertulias/Bate-Papos
Description: 
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.
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Director's Wine and Cheese Receptions
Description: 
Each semester, WHS 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.
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Latin American Film Series
Description: 
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.

Curriculum : 
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Latin American Studies | M.A. Requirements
Description: 
Entering Class 2013-2014                                        
 
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 or 14 courses as approved by Academic Affairs.
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LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES (LASP)
Description: 
MA students concentrating in Latin American Studies (LASP) must take the LASP Foundation course (Understanding Modern Latin American Politics, SA.810.700) and at least 5 courses within their chosen LASP track. All LASP MA students must pass the Latin American history exam and complete the LASP capstone.

For an overview of the LASP MA curriculum with the five tracks of study, click here.
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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS
Description: 
Students must complete 4 courses within this program.
·         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 and/or Macro 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 use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.
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QUANTITATIVE REASONING
Description: 
Students must complete one 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
·         Corporate Finance (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         Quantitative Methods in International Relations (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
 
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.
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CORE COURSES/EXAMS
Description: 
All SAIS students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses. 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 National Systems
·         Evolution of the International Systems
·         Theories of International Relations
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LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
Description: 
LASP MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in 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 SAIS. Native speakers of Spanish or Portuguese must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English.
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CAPSTONE
Description: 
Latin American Studies concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:
 
1.     An academic or professional internship* relevant to program course work and subsequently submit a report** on the experience. All internships completed through the WHS Summer Internship Program satisfy this requirement.
2.     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 WHS 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 SAIS. The report should delve into a thematic component of the internship rather than highlight duties/responsibilities.
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PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR
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MIPP LASP Affiliation
Description: 
MIPP students must take the equivalent of 8 non-language courses (32 credits).

MIPP students affiliated with LASP must take the LASP Foundation course (Understanding Modern Latin American Politics, SA.810.700) and at least 2 additional courses offered by or cross-listed with LASP, plus 5 other non-language (LASP or non-LASP) courses to complete the required total of 8 non-language courses.

For an overview of the MIPP LASP Affiliation requirements and options, click here.
Phone: 
202-663-5734
Videos: 
Short Name: 
lasp