Tag Archive | "University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas"

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The European Union’s Role in Latin America


European Union Confercne

UM’s new vice president for hemispheric and global affairs, María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, center, dropped by the conference to introduce herself.

UM News

Venezuela’s economic and political crisis, which has brought the country hyperinflation, food shortages, and deteriorating public services, can only change if the pressure comes from within. Outside pressure from charter organizations, such as the Organization of American States, could play a role if those organizations clearly defined what a breakdown in democratic freedoms entailed and issued sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

These were some of the conclusions offered by Felix Beltran of Eastern Washington University and Carolina Zaccato of the Universidad de San Andres in Argentina, two panelists at the all-day conference “Latin American Challenges: The Role of the European Union,” sponsored by UM’s European Union Center and the Institue for Advanced Study of the Americas.

Joaquin Roy, director of the European Union Center, welcomed about 30 students, academics and visiting professors to a large classroom in the 1300 Campo Sano building on UM’s Coral Gables campus. UM’s new vice president for hemispheric and global affairs, María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, also dropped by.

Scholars from several universities presented papers ranging from “Regionalism and the European Union” and “Inter-American Integration” to the crisis in Venezuela and the status of Cuba in the hemisphere.

 

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Fellowships and Grants for Incubating Research Relevant to Latin America and the Caribbean


Special to UM News

The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas has announced the recipients of its Graduate Fellowships, summer field research grants, and the Barrett Prize for Best Dissertation.

 CORAL GABLES, (October 30, 2017)––The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas has appointed three distinguished graduate fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year: Felicia Casanova, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology; Samantha Chaitram, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of International Studies; and Ernesto Fundora, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

The College of Arts and Sciences and the institute have awarded three distinguished fellowships every year since 2012. Funds support doctoral students whose research is relevant to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino and diasporic studies.

The fellows participate in the intellectual life of the institute while working on their own degree programs and dissertation projects. The initiative provides qualified Ph.D. candidates with a tuition waiver and a full graduate stipend in exchange for their involvement in the institute’s initiatives.

In addition, 10 students from across the University received institute grants to conduct field research throughout the region, and will present their work at a January symposium. The institute’s grants seek to incubate research on key challenges facing the Americas, including Latin America, the Caribbean, immigrant populations of and in the region, and Miami as a hemispheric hub.

The research topics and grant recipients are:.

Islam as a New Religion among the Catholic and Afro Cubans—Lina Jardines del Cueto, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, College of Arts and Sciences.

Looking for Traces and Graces: A Mexican Route through Migratory Corridos and Exvotos—Lorella di Gregorio, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, College of Arts and Sciences.

Larval Fish Acoustic Space: Physical and Biological Noise and Signals—Craig Raffenberg, Department of Marine Biology and Ecology, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Zika Virus Outbreak Response: Determining the Lessons Learned from the 2015/2016 Zika Outbreak in Brazil—Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine.

From Suassuna to Guerra-Peixe: ‘The Armorial Music Movement in Brazil’-Constructing Notions of Northeastern Identity through Music and Literature—Rafael Torralvo da Silva, Department of Musicology, Frost School of Music.

Feeling the City: Immigrant Fiction and the Geographies of Urban Belonging—Marta Gierczyk, Department of English Literature, College of Arts and Sciences.

Functional Traits and Climatic Tolerances of Woody Bamboos along an Andes-Amazon Transect—Belen Jimenez Fadrique, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences.

The Gospel of Health in Occupied Haiti—Matthew Davidson, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences.

Are long-term declines in growth rates of tropical trees due to thermal stress?—Timothy Perez, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences.

How a Cuban coral reef will transition through human-induced change—Shireen Rahimi, Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy.

Also announced by the institute was the winner of the 2017 Barrett Prize for Best Dissertation on a Latin America or Caribbean topic, which went to Diego Lugo for his work on Frontier Territories and the Weight of Violent Inequality: Land Concentration and Land Grabbing in the Colombian Frontier. He will share his research on Wednesday, November 8, during a Research Lunch hosted by the institute.

“We are pleased to support and incubate research from students whose academic interests enhance the knowledge base of Latin America and the Caribbean,” said institute Director Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul.

The next call for 2018 student grants and distinguished fellows will be issued in December.

The mission of the institute is to create and share knowledge bridging the Americas, strengthening the myriad areas of the University of Miami undertaking research relevant to the hemisphere.

 

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Felicia Marie Knaul First Economist Admitted to Mexican National Academy of Medicine


UM News

Felicia-Knaul-Mexican-Academy

Academy Vice President Teresita Corona, left, and President Armando Mancilla Olivares, right, formally induct Felica Marie Knaul into the Mexican National Academy of Medicine.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 6, 2017)—The University of Miami’s first lady, Felicia Marie Knaul, one of the hemisphere’s leading health care researchers, scholars, and advocates, has been selected for membership into the prestigious Mexican National Academy of Medicine.

Knaul, the director of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and professor at the Miller School of Medicine, is the first economist admitted to the academy, which was founded in 1864 to improve the health and needs of the Mexican population. She joins her husband, UM President Julio Frenk, the former health minister of Mexico, who was admitted to the academy in 1989. In addition, Knaul’s father-in-law, Dr. Silvestre Frenk, is an honorary academy member and served as its president in 1976.

This highly selective academy has admitted just over 1,100 members through its 150 years of existence. Knaul’s nomination, which represents a great honor and opportunity to serve and participate in the objectives of the health system in Mexico, acknowledges her professional trajectory, as well as her academic and research contributions, both in Mexico and globally, and opens new opportunities for collaboration between UM and Mexican researchers and clinicians.

An international health and social sector economist who has worked extensively in Latin America, Knaul has produced more than 190 academic and policy publications, including several papers on Mexico and health reform in The Lancet, where she co-authored the Commission Report on Women and Health. She currently chairs the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Control, which is slated to publish a major report in late 2017.

New academy member  Felicia Marie Knaul, with her father-in-law Silvestre Frenk, who served as the academy's president in 1976.

New academy member Felicia Marie Knaul, with her father-in-law Silvestre Frenk, who served as the academy’s president in 1976.

Knaul has strong ties and dedication to the health sector of Mexico. She founded the Mexican nonprofit Cáncer de Mama: Tómatelo a Pecho, which undertakes policy-oriented research and promotes advocacy, awareness, early detection and palliative care initiatives for breast cancer throughout Latin America. Since 1993, she has led a group of researchers anchored at the Mexican Health Foundation focused on health systems and health economics. She is also Honorary Research Professor of Medical Sciences at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP).

“I am honored to have been inducted into the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico and reaffirm my commitment to advancing health research and advocating for health in the Americas,” Knaul said. “I look forward to forging even stronger links between the University of Miami and the stellar research community dedicated to health and health care in Mexico. ”

The induction ceremony for new members took place on June 28 in Mexico City.

 

 

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A Blueprint for Action in Hurricane-Ravaged Haiti


The Haitian government adopts a UM study for its post-Hurricane Matthew recovery and rebuilding efforts.

UM News

Photo courtesy of the Office of President of Haiti

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse convened a meeting of his cabinet and advisors to discuss the report co-funded by Project Medishare and the Center for Haitian Studies.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (June 27, 2017)—Proving the value of field research and community input, a report prepared by University of Miami anthropologists who spent three months assessing the assets available to help Haiti’s devastated southern region recover from Hurricane Matthew received the endorsement of the Haitian government this month.

Rather than put the study on a shelf, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and his Cabinet officially adopted the report’s recommendations as a guide for the government’s intervention in the Grand Sud region, which took the brunt of last October’s Category 4 hurricane, leaving many people with unsuitable housing, destroyed crops, lost jobs and no water system.

“This report is critical because it was done from the ground up,” Moïse said at the June 14 meeting he convened with UM’s scholars, his cabinet and several advisors at Haiti’s National Palace. “It includes Haitian institutions and community members’ perspectives. I read it from beginning to end, and re-read it. The recommendations are succinct and specific to the locales. I can assure you that it will serve as the core guidelines for the government’s policies for reconstruction in the Grand Sud.”

For the study co-funded by Project Medishare and the Center for Haitian Studies, Louis Herns Marcelin, associate professor of anthropology in UM’s College of Arts and Sciences, and the co-founder of Haiti’s Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), and INURED coordinator Toni Cela, a postdoctoral fellow at UM, spent three months trekking across some of Haiti’s most remote coastal and inland agricultural communities.

Their goal was to determine Hurricane Matthew’s impact on the region’s communities and livelihoods, assess needs, and identify and map the local resources and assets critical to each locale’s recovery and reconstruction. But the study also had a training mission—to develop more researchers who can tackle Haiti’s problems with science-based facts.

Marcelin oversaw five data-collection teams—four comprised of one INURED supervisor and five local community members who were trained to conduct community-based surveys, and one team of five ethnographers, including two UM public health graduate students of Haitian descent. INURED supervisors also interviewed and facilitated focus group discussions with community leaders and members, and conducted ethnographic observations.

“These communities have been devastated by the hurricane, but they have clear ideas about how to rebuild by capitalizing on their existing assets and resources,” Marcelin told the president and his cabinet at their June meeting. “They want to re-establish their autonomy, not develop dependency.”

The groundwork for the meeting in the National Palace began in late April, when the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas hosted a town hall on the UM campus and disseminated fact sheets from the report, “After Hurricane Matthew: Resources, Capacities, and Pathways to Recovery and Reconstruction for Devastated Communities in Haiti.” The fact sheets were disseminated in partnership with the Observatoire Citoyen de l’Action des Pouvoirs Publics en Haiti (OCAPH), a prominent civil society advocacy in Haiti. Attendees at the town hall from Haiti included Isnel Pierreval, advisor to the Office of the President of Haiti, and OCAPH’s Karl Jean Louis, who strategized with INURED to ensure the final report would reach key people in Haiti who could act on it.

Returning to Haiti in June with the final report, Marcelin mounted a public education campaign with journalists and civil society organizations to shed light on the plight of Hurricane Matthew’s victims and share the recommendations for assisting them—in advance of the government’s 2017-18 budget preparations. He appeared on several radio stations and on live TV with Haiti’s renowned journalist, Anthony Pascal (Konpè Filo).

Soon after, the president’s office convened the meeting with INURED and, along with his cabinet members and advisors, applauded the report for its timeliness—the government plans a caravan to the Grand Sud in early July—and for its science-based recommendations that can inform the government’s reconstruction efforts.

“For a long time now we have been operating in the dark without knowing what these communities truly needed,” said Public Works Minister Fritz Caillot.

Marie Gréta Roy Clément, the minister of health, noted the study provided an in-depth understanding of post-disaster vulnerability to health hazards. “We have heard reports of the skin diseases that emerged after the disaster, but we never understood the proportion and the depth of the problem,” she said.

UM's Toni Cela, right, spent three months in the field assessing the needs and assets of Haiti's Grand Sud region, post Hurricane Matthew.

UM’s Toni Cela, right, spent three months in the field assessing the needs and assets of Haiti’s Grand Sud region, post Hurricane Matthew.

In addition to the establishment of mini health clinics, free schooling for victims and access to potable water, the report’s recommendations include establishing agricultural banks to provide loans to local farmers and other organizations, hiring agricultural extension workers and veterinarians to revitalize crop production and animal husbandry, collaborating with agronomists to identify solutions for pest threats to agriculture and livestock, and securing commitments from international organizations and NGOs to use local materials and local professionals in their rebuilding projects.

In signaling the importance of having sound data informed by local realities, President Moïse implicitly embraced INURED’s chief mission, which is to groom new leaders in Haiti who can research its many pressing social and economic issues and guide public policy to resolve them. As Marcelin, who co-founded INURED in 2007 and serves as its chancellor, has long noted, disaster-prone Haiti has relied too long on the unstudied, quick fixes of international aide to resolve its problems.

“In an ideal world, research should be conducive to the development of public policies and social interventions,” said Cela, who joined INURED after the 2010 earthquake. “It appears that there is the intent from many actors in Haiti to do just that. Both the central and local governments now have a report that can orient the reconstruction of the Grand Sud. Let’s hope that this is a shift of paradigm in the way Haitian society responds to community vulnerabilities and disasters.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Gauging Justice Reform in Mexico


David Shirk

David Shirk, director of Justice in Mexico

By Michael R. Malone
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 28, 2017)–Judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and police are overwhelmingly optimistic that Mexico’s new justice system will boost public trust, increase efficiency, and reduce corruption in the system, according to a new report presented Tuesday at the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas.

David A. Shirk, director of Justice in Mexico, a research and public policy program based at the University of San Diego, provided his insights and an overview of “Justice Barometer 2016: Insider Perspectives on Mexico’s Criminal Justice System,” as part of the Institute’s Research Lunch Series.

“With Justice in Mexico, we’re trying to put our finger on the justice system to know its deficits and strengths,” explained Shirk, an associate professor of political science and international relations. This latest survey, which builds on a series of reports launched in 2009, gauged the perspectives of 700 judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and police across Mexico. The survey is the first of its kind to gauge the perceptions of the “operators” of the system itself.

In June 2016, Mexico completed an 8-year transition that revamped its judicial process from an inquisitorial model – a cumbersome process that presumes guilt and is based on written method – to an oral proceedings model, one presuming innocence and similar to that followed in the United States.

Ninety percent of the operators believe the system needed to be reformed and that the New Criminal Justice System (NSJP in Spanish) will create greater trust in authorities and improve efficiency for a country where only a small percentage of crimes are ever reported.

“What stands out most [in looking at justice in Mexico] is the problem of impunity,” Shirk said. While crime and violence have increased over the past decade in Mexico – figures tripled for the period 2007-11 – only about 1 percent wind up being prosecuted.

Features of the NSJP are overwhelmingly well received with 95 percent of all operators preferring oral proceedings over previously implemented written methods. Eighty percent of all operators believe the new system will reduce corruption; NSJP reduces the potential for forced confessions obtained with no public defender present and places greater importance on physical evidence from crime scenes.

Shirk said that, to his knowledge, no surveys have been conducted of police in the U.S. to gauge their impressions of the U.S. justice system and suggested that grad students looking for riveting research areas might explore this arena.

Shirk, the graduate director of the University of San Diego’s Master’s Program in International Relations, has presented the findings of the study several times in Mexico. Representatives from the Mexican Consulate attended his talk.

To view the report, visit www.justiceinmexico.org.

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