Governance and Security Program

The Governance and Security Program of Excellence at LACC fosters the discussion of democratic governance, security, and development in modern Latin America and the Caribbean. LACC's Security and Governance Program of Excellence was established in recognition of the breadth of year-round undergraduate and graduate course offerings across disciplines on the topic, unique depth of LACC affiliated faculty expertise, and variety of active sponsored programs related to security and governance.

Despite the progress of democracy and economic growth in the region, there are important challenges in transnational crime, and illegal trafficking threatens the livelihood of Latin Americans and has become a major challenge to democratic governance and political stability across the region. Drawing upon the expertise of faculty in Political Science, International Relations, History, Law, Criminal Justice, Education, Environmental Studies, Biology, Public Health, Journalism, Fine Arts, and others, the Governance and Security Program of Excellence at the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center is working to boost interdisciplinary academic research on security and democratic governance while collaborating with partners throughout the Americas to articulate policy recommendations and create and expand opportunities for enhanced training and instruction on security.

LACC's Security and Governance Program includes but is not limited to the following projects:

-Course Work: LACC actively supports development of new courses on security and governance through it US Department of Education Title VI grant. New courses are designed to fill existing gaps in the curriculum and may be taught in English, Spanish, Portuguese or Haitian Creole in an effort to provide students with unique opportunities for advanced foreign language study across disciplines. All Title VI-funded courses must be permanent, although LACC also welcomes the development of special topics or experimental courses on the subject as well. Additionally, the program provides international learning opportunities for both traditional and non-traditional students through LACC's Politics and International Relations in Argentina Study Abroad.

-Outreach to Government, Media, Private Sector, Post-Secondary and K-12 Educators and Students: FIU and US Southern Command co-sponsor the Miami Security Roundtable series. Each year, LACC, FIU's Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy (JGI) and US Southern Command partner to present academic roundtable discussions on important topics related to US-Latin America relations, foreign policy, security, development, environment, economics, civil society and human rights. Roundtables will also examine the role of the US in the region, its level of influence, external actors and the effects of Petrocaribe on the region. LACC's Security and Governance Program also prioritizes outreach to K-12 educators and students. More specifically, the program partners with the FIU JGI and Citizenship Studies and co-sponsors year-round K-12 teacher training workshops, national security student simulations, and multi-day institutes such as the Summer Institute on National Security Studies. The multi-disciplinary one-week program for middle and high school students incorporates geography, information technology, logistics, world politics, global studies and public health and is designed to foster interest in National Security Studies among a new generation of students at the pre-collegiate level. A two-day workshop for teachers is held parallel to the student training and consists of discussions on active learning teaching methods, curriculum development to help introduce and broaden national security studies in the classroom, as well as expert lectures from faculty at FIU, Miami Dade College and US government offices.

-Diplomacy Lab: In an effort to conduct cutting-edge research, cultivate undergraduate and graduate student critical thinking, and develop and propose effective policy related to gender-based violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, LACC, FIU's Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy (JGI) and the US Department of State partner on the LACC Diplomacy Lab. The Diplomacy Lab program is focused on identifying key indicators associated with gender-based violence throughout Latin America and implications for the US national interests. More specifically, teams of graduate and undergraduate students analyze specific regions in Latin America and the Caribbean to determine the causes of gender-based violence, make recommendations for the prevention and/or reduction of violence and contribute to LACC's effort to provide real-world solutions to one of the greatest challenges facing the hemisphere. Final findings and recommendations are presented to the US Department of State in support of their efforts to examine country-specific and institution-specific factors that lead to violence. Current Diplomacy Lab case studies include Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Haiti.

-Multi and Interdisciplinary Research and Dissemination of Information: LACC's Interdisciplinary Affiliated Faculty Colloquium Series provides valuable opportunities for the presentation, promotion and dissemination of LACC faculty research related to security and governance broadly defined. Recent colloquia related to security and governance have focused on music and social policy targeting at-risk youth in Latin America, Brazilian law, politics and economy, the arts & Latin American sociopolitical realities, environment and conservation in the Caribbean, narco-culture in the LAC region and Islam in Latin America. The Security and Governance Program of Excellence's newest sponsored project is on marijuana legalization in Uruguay. The general objective of the project is to contribute to the assessment of the impact of marijuana policy on attitudes and norms related to drug production, distribution, and consumption in Uruguay. Research team members survey marijuana consumption and publish academic articles on the impact of marijuana legalization on heavy consumers and implications for similar legislation across the region. The project also provides academic fellowships to fund students interested in pursuing a Masters of Public Policy at Universidad Católica del Uruguay or a Masters in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at FIU. LACC, Universidad Católica del Uruguay (UCU) and FIU's Center for Substance Use and HIV/AIDS Research on Latinos in the United States (CRUSADA) are project partners.