Skip navigation
Korbel Latin America Center

Korbel Latin America Center

Mission and Vision: Understanding a Changing Hemisphere and a Changing World

The faculty at Korbel has mapped an ambitious agenda for scholarship and engagement on Latin America, driven by a core interest to understand how a rising Latin America will fit within and contribute to the changing world system. The current world order is under strain: Northern economies have slowed and their limitations in pursuing unilateral intervention have been laid bare; Southern powers rise but leave neighbors languishing; international institutions are limited in responding to global environmental, security, and economic challenges.

As in the past, Latin America as a region is poised to generate important innovations for the current world order. With the Korbel faculty’s expertise in new and alternative approaches to politics and public policy, the school is uniquely positioned to interpret these innovations and serve as a bridge for US-Latin American engagement across the academic, government, business, and labor sectors.

Latin America is the region that produced Dependency Theory and associated import-substitution policies, guiding a generation of scholarship and nationalist policymakers interested in breaking free of colonial and neo-colonial underdevelopment. Subsequently, when the debt crisis hit the developing world, it was in Latin America where neoliberal market reforms and economic integration were developed and pursued with the greatest vigor. Contemporary Latin America is also where illicit markets and leftist political alternatives are evolving in neoliberalism’s aftermath.

Important innovations and theoretical contributions have also emerged in the functioning of Latin American democracy and security. Breakdowns in democratic regimes and the struggle for democracy spawned generations of scholarship on authoritarianism and transitions to democracy, as well as contemporary notions of human rights and democratic consolidation. Latin America has also been torn by revolutionary conflict, and new approaches to human security and nonviolence emerged from these Latin American struggles.

Finally, Latin America is the region most deeply integrated with the United States and where the United States has intervened most frequently throughout its history. By understanding and contributing to a more equitable relationship with Latin America, the Korbel Latin America Center is charting a path for balanced US engagement in international relations.

The Korbel Latin America Center is uniquely positioned to study and make sense of the changing world system characterized by alternative development, deepened democracy, human rights, human security, and equitable relations between the United States and Latin America. Located away from establishment views prevalent at East- and West-coast institutions, the Korbel Latin America Center offers non-traditional, alternative approaches to research, policy analysis, engagement, scholarly exchange, and teaching.