Research

Conducting and supporting scholarly research are among the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center's core missions. Affiliated centers, faculty and Ph.D. and M.A. students at FIU all contribute original research in politics, economics, religion, education, history, international relations and culture. Historically, LACC has competed successfully for state and federal research funding and has received major support from organizations such as the Ford and Mellon foundations. Major LACC projects and proposals have addressed such topics as development prospects in Central America and southern Mexico, immigration and diaspora communities, and the success of alternative development plans in drug-producing regions. LACC has received significant funding for projects designed to increase the quality of education on Latin America and the Caribbean and to introduce curriculum reform. Through its Institute for International Professional Services, LACC also has led and commissioned studies of Florida’s services economy and its links to the region.

LACC and its affiliated centers and institutes support faculty and student field research, administer faculty research grants, and host visiting researchers. LACC depends upon its associated faculty for research expertise and to assume the responsibilities of research project principal investigators. LACC’s grant writing gives priority to proposals that provide maximum opportunities for research participation by graduate students. Research collaboration with LACC’s many university and overseas partners is a high priority.

Cutting Edge Research Projects

The New Face of Street Gangs in Central America

LACC, in partnership with the Jack Gordon Institute and Fundacion Nacional para el Desarrollo (FUNDE), was awarded an INL- U.S. Department of State research grant to study gang desistance in El Salvador. This research project is based on a survey with a convenience sample of 1,196 respondents with a record of gang membership and 32 in-depth interviews. It reveals that desistance from the gang is possible in El Salvador and that, although the decision to leave the group is seemingly an individual choice, it also depends on the gang organization’s acquiescence. The study also shows that progression toward gang desistance has to be constantly negotiated with the overwhelming power of the gang structures in the country. Find the English version of the report here and the Spanish version here. +More Info

The Transformation of Drug Policy. The Impact of Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay

LACC was awarded a $144,129.00 Open Society Foundation grant to study Uruguay's legalization of marijuana and the transformation of drug policy. The Impact of Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay project launched January 1, 2014 and will assess the impact of marijuana legalization on attitudes and norms regarding drug production, distribution and consumption in Uruguay and support the training and exchange of knowledge on drug policy in the region. +More Info

The Syndemics Project

A 5-year research project led by Dr. Mark Padilla that investigates the social context of HIV and drug use in the tourism zones of the Dominican Republic (DR). The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is a major collaboration between Florida International University and the largest University in the Dominican Republic - the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, UASD. This project focuses on developing drug use and HIV/AIDS prevention programs to be implemented with tourism employees in the DR, the Caribbean country that receives the largest number of American tourists. The team is led by an NIH-funded researcher with many years of experience conducting HIV/AIDS research in the DR, and a group of Dominican medical researchers and tourism representatives who have been working with the Principal Investigator, Dr. Mark Padilla, for many years on applied social research. The project involves three phases of work: (1) interviews and observations with tourism employees to understand the context of their HIV and drug use risks; (2) surveys with a large sample of tourism employees to quantify the factors that contribute most to their HIV and drug use risks; and (3) a pilot intervention with tourism employees to reduce their risks of both HIV and drug addiction. +More Info

Lens Project/ Proyecto Lentes

LACC seed-money established Photo Voice-Dominican Republic, and outgrowth of LACC's Syndemics Project. This special project seeks to implement policy change for vulnerable populations through self-documentation of images and solution-based analyses. Photo Voice-DR addresses the public health challenges and socio-economic and political stigma faced by heroin users and other vulnerable populations on the island. Heroin use is a rapidly growing concern in the DR and the country has no established medical protocols to effectively treat those addicted. Through Photo Voice-DR scholars, researches and users are working together to address the urgent need for long-term, effective change. +More Info

MI-BRIDGE

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Minority Institutions Building Resources to Ignite Development and Growth in Education (MI-BRIDGE) is a new program founded by FIU’s Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center in partnership with Florida Memorial University. Its mission is to team up with other Minority Serving Institutions and work together to maximize Minority Serving Institutions’ student success in foreign language and area studies. MI-BRIDGE works via three components: (1) post-secondary faculty training workshops, (2) an online educator toolkit, and (3) research. +More Info

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)

Founded by LACC, University of Florida (UF) Center for Latin American Studies, and FIU and UF Libraries, The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative of partners within the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean that will provide users with access to Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials held in archives, libraries, and private collections. dLOC comprises collections that speak to the similarities and differences in histories, cultures, languages and governmental systems. Types of collections include but are not limited to: newspapers, archives of Caribbean leaders and governments, official documents, documentation and numeric data for ecosystems, scientific scholarship, historic and contemporary maps, oral and popular histories, travel accounts, literature and poetry, musical expressions, and artifacts. dLOC is administered by Florida International University (FIU) in partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and the University of Florida (UF), dLOC's technical infrastructure is provided by the University of Florida (UF) in association with the Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA). +More Info

Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas

The Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas project’s objectives include monitoring the conceptual development of DRR globally; developing and continuously updating an inventory of DRR initiatives or programs; promoting and strengthening DRR “Communities of Practice” (CoPs) in the LAC region; indentifying and supporting the educational and professional development of the next generation of DRR “thinkers” and “agents of change” in the LAC region; identifying and cultivating key DRR individuals and stakeholder groups; facilitating exchange and coordination between organizations and key individuals and stakeholder groups involved in DRR (“bridge building”); and organizing, formalizing, and making available worldwide LAC region capacity development services in Disaster Risk Reduction. +More Info

Tinker Field Research Grant Program

The Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC) at Florida International University was selected from among the nation’s leading Latin American Studies programs as a recipient of the prestigious Tinker Field Research Grant. The Tinker Foundation Field Research Grants Program funds graduate student travel to any Spanish or Portuguese-speaking country in Latin America and the Caribbean to conduct research directly related to the region. It is designed to provide budding scholars with critical support for pre-doctoral research and also enables them develop contacts with leading scholars and institutions in their respective fields of study. With available funding levels of $10,000 or $15,000 per year, LACC is particularly proud of being awarded one of the Tinker Foundation's $15,000/year grants which carries with it the possibility of two additional one-year renewals. LACC's 1:1 match brings total support for Tinker grant graduate student awardees to $90,000 over 3 years, with year 1 launching January 1, 2014. +More Info

From Imperial Science to International Relations

From Imperial Science to International Relations is a research project and scholarly network comprised of scholars from Florida International University, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, University of Pennsylvania and Northeastern University; the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the West Indies are project affiliates. An opportunity brought to FIU by LACC, the three-year project, supported by a Partner University Fund grant, cultivates collaborative research which positions the Caribbean as a central point for the study of international relations. The project re-examines the Western tradition of international studies from a perspective that reintroduces the critical role of non-Western territories. Grant activities support curriculum development, scholarly exchange, student exchange, online resources and visiting research appointments for member institutions.

Islam in Latin America

Islam in Latin America began in 2009 as a LACC/FIU Department of History/FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communication collaborative project funded by the Social Science Research Council-Carnegie foundation and as an effort to address the significant disparity that exists between the American media’s, and by extension the American public’s, perception of Muslims in Latin America and the reality of the current state of affairs. With the continued participation of LACC faculty affiliates in History, Political Science, International Relations, Religious Studies and Journalism, new LACC programming growing out of the initial research project continues to expand. Recent deliverables include K-12 teacher and student training workshops on the tri-border region, interdisciplinary faculty colloquia, web-based publishing and resource guides on Islam throughout the LAC region, commissioned papers on conversion among Latin Americans and Latinos and Muslim women in the LAC region, and a documentary film on Muslims in the Colombian coastal city of Buenaventura, which premiered at FIU in February 2014. +More Info

The Haitian Art Digital Archive (HADA)

LACC's Haitian Art Digital Archive (HADA) contributes to LACC's ongoing efforts to help preserve Haitian cultural patrimony, highlight the work of Haiti's cultural leaders, scholars and artists, and promote broad access to discussions about the Arts through the use of Haitian Creole. More specifically, HADA boasts content from Nobel Prize Nominee, author, and painter, Franketienne; leading art historian, Michel Philippe Lerebours; renowned songstress and folklorist, Emerante des Pradines; and popular drapo beading artist, Mireille Delisme, among others. All content is available for free through the Digital Library of the Caribbean and may be accessed from across the globe. HADA is made possible through partial support from the US Department of Education Title VI Grant. +More Info

Strengthening the Role of the Cuban Diaspora

Strengthening the Role of the Cuban Diaspora aims to conduct scientific research and produce policy-oriented recommendations related to the potential of the Cuban Diaspora to support the development of the private sector in Cuba. A commission of leading Cuba experts will conduct an assessment of the basic requirements for creating an enabling environment for the Diaspora to interact with the private sector in Cuba and will provide recommendations with regards to current Cuban laws related to migration and the role of the Diaspora. This project is supported by the Open Society Institute.

The Cuban Diaspora and the Development of the Private Sector in Cuba

The Cuban Diaspora and the Development of the Private Sector in Cuba project has two main objectives:

1. Utilize the data from the FIU Cuba Poll to assess the perceptions and attitudes of the Cuban Diaspora regarding the emerging private sector in Cuba; and

2. Produce online resources to aid in the further development of the private sector in Cuba while promoting best practices related to small and medium development and presenting international models for integration of the Diaspora into business development efforts. This two-year project is supported by The Ford Foundation.

Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs)

Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) are teams of faculty members and doctoral students from the Florida International University and the University of Miami seeking to examine Latin American and Caribbean-related issues of common scholarly interest. Membership is open to faculty and graduate students. The goal of these groups is to encourage interaction, cross-disciplinary exploration, and the sharing of knowledge and experiences among otherwise-isolated faculty and graduate students from across the schools and colleges of both Universities. +More Info