Latin American Studies

Why Latin American Studies?

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

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Why Latin American Studies?
"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 member of the BRICS emerging markets group (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 Peña Nieto government in Mexico 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, LASP
Latin America and Emerging Markets

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

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Latin America and Emerging Markets
"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
Brazil as an Emerging Market Player

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

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Brazil as an Emerging Market Player
“The Brazil Cost is well known. The cost of doing business in Brazil is very high. In the World Economic Forum’s latest report the most problematic factors for doing business in Brazil were listed as tax regulations; inadequate infrastructure (only 16 percent of Brazilian roads are paved); tax rates; inefficient government bureaucracy; corruption; an inadequately educated work force; and restrictive labor regulations. All these issues have been on the agenda for decades but politicians in Brasília seem unable to find the political will to address the country’s vital developmental challenges.”
--Dr. Riordan Roett, Director and Professor, LASP, Interview, The Brazilian Economy, August 2013
Understanding Global Challenges through Regional Experience

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

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Understanding Global Challenges through Regional Experience
"Latin America faces considerable sustainable development challenges, particularly in urban areas.  Rapid urban growth has led to a series of environmental problems, inadequate or ill-adapted public services, and limited institutional capacity to resolve these problems in a sustainable fashion.  The LASP Multilateral Research Practicum provides students the opportunity not only to learn about the strategies available to tackle these challenges, but also to contribute to their solutions through work conducted in association with the Inter-American Development Bank."
--Dr. Guadalupe Paz, Associate Director & Assistant Research Professor, LASP
Latin American Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives

The SAIS 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 that integrates a practical approach to learning. A diverse group of countries richly endowed with natural resources, Latin America provides the perfect laboratory to learn not only about the challenges faced by emerging economies, but also 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):
  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

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:
  • Brazil's Rise as an Emerging Market Player
  • Competing in World Markets: Latin America's Legacy & Emergence of New Industrial Policies
  • Current issues in Emerging Markets: Opportunity & Risk  in Latin America
  • Energy in the Americas: Conflict, Cooperation & Future Prospects
  • 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

In addition to offering a rich variety of choices in its curriculum, 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.

MIPP LASP Affiliation
For an overview of the MIPP LASP Affiliation requirements and options, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Photos & Video

Curriculum

 

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES PROGRAM (LASP) | MA Requirements

Latin American Studies Program Goals and Objectives
 
Entering Class 2014-2015
 
All SAIS 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.
 

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES CONCENTRATION

All 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.

 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

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 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 take electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.
 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

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
  • 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.
 

CORE COURSES/EXAMS

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
 

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

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 SAIS. Native speakers of Spanish or Portuguese must demonstrate proficiency in a second language, which can include English.
 

CAPSTONE

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 WHS Summer Internship Program satisfy theis 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 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 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.
 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR

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

Curriculum

 

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES PROGRAM (LASP) | MA Requirements

Latin American Studies Program Goals and Objectives
 
Entering Class 2014-2015
 
All SAIS 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.
 

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES CONCENTRATION

All 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.

 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

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 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 take electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.
 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

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
  • 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.
 

CORE COURSES/EXAMS

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
 

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

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 SAIS. Native speakers of Spanish or Portuguese must demonstrate proficiency in a second language, which can include English.
 

CAPSTONE

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 WHS Summer Internship Program satisfy theis 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 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 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.
 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR

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

Waiver Exams

Faculty

Featured Courses

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 (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

 

Samuel Z. Stone Seminar Series

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

 

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.

 

Tertulias/Bate-Papos

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 semester, 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: Washington, D.C.

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.

Program Activities: Nanjing

Events



2014

  1. America's Dirty Wars 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Nov12

    LASP Seminar Series: Dr. Russell Crandall, '97, Ph.D. '00, will discuss the complex experience of America’s involvement in irregular warfare.

  2. The Future of US-Latin America Relations: A Latin American Perspective 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Nov3

    José Miguel Insulza, secretary general for the Organization of American States, will discuss this topic. Note: This event will have a live webcast.

  3. The China Triangle: China's Rise and the Fate of the Americas 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM Oct22

    Kevin Gallagher, associate professor of international relations at Boston University, will discuss this topic.

  4. The Dynamics of Colombia's Peace Negotiations: Prospects for Success 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Oct15

    Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will discuss this topic.

  5. Addressing the Climate Change Challenge: COP20 and the Road to Lima 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM Oct9

    Keynote Speaker:
    H.E. Gonzalo Gutiérrez Reinel, Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
     
    Commentators:
    Celeste Connors, Associate Practitioner in Residence, SAIS ERE Program; Marianne Fay, Chief Economist, Climate Change Group, World Bank; David Wilk, Lead Climate Change Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank; Ned Helme, President, Center for Clean Air Policy; Duncan Marsh, Director for International Climate Policy, The Nature Conservancy
     
    Moderator:
    Francisco González, Riordan Roett Senior Associate Professor, SAIS-LASP

  6. Brazil's First Round Presidential Election in Review 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM Oct8

    Riordan Roett, director of the Latin American Studies Program, will discuss this topic. Note: This event is off the record.

  7. Deconstructing the Decline in Inequality in Latin America 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Sep17

    Nora Lustig, Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University, will discuss this topic.

  8. Latin American Studies Program Organizational Meeting 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM Sep10

    The Latin American Studies Program will host an organizational meeting for all Latin American Studies Program students and those interested learning more about the concentration. 

  9. SAIS Career Panel and Reception 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Aug27

    Lara Goldmark '97, director of Private Sector Innovations at FHI360; Jason Marczak '03, deputy director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council; and Matt Kaczmarek '09, senior advisor to the deputy national security advisor for international economics at the White House, will discuss their career paths and share their perspectives on the job-market value of understanding global challenges through regional experience. Note: This event is off the record.

  10. The Latin American Studies Program Club Spanish and Portuguese Happy Hour 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM Mar28

    Join the Latin American Studies Program Club to practice your Spanish and Portuguese language skills and enjoy food from the region. Beginners, intermediate, and advanced speakers are all welcome.

Research

Our Alumni

 

Alumni Networking

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. 



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

External Resources

Contact Us

Riordan Roett
Director of the Latin American Studies Program

rroett@jhu.edu
202-663-5728
Nitze 511

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

gpaz@jhu.edu
202-663-5731
Nitze 518

Anne McKenzie
Senior Academic Coordinator for Outreach and Professional Development

amckenzie@jhu.edu
202-663-5738
Nitze 502

John McGeoch
Program Coordinator

jmcgeoch@jhu.edu
202-663-5734
Nitze 502

Address & Phone

Latin American Studies
Nitze Building
1740 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
  • 202-663-5734