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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 290/03 - New Institute of Americas to be formed
Fecha:Jueves, 11 de Diciembre, 2003  13:39:42 (-0300)
Autor:Humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 290/03



NEWS RELEASE:  10 December 2003









The Council of the University of London this afternoon approved the merger of the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) and the Institute of United States Studies (IUSS) to form an Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA).   The new Institute will be established with effect from 1 August 2004, under the direction of Professor James Dunkerley, currently ILAS Director.  ISA will be a member of the federal University’s School of Advanced Study, established in 1994.


Commenting on the merger, Vice-Chancellor, Sir Graeme Davies, said: ‘The combination of free-standing and comparative postgraduate teaching and research on all sections of the hemisphere within a single institution is unique in Europe.  It represents a major commitment to American studies by the University.  The University has committed new resources to enhance the staffing complement in United States.’


A strong intellectual argument for a new Americas-wide approach has recently been made by Professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto of Queen Mary, University of London.  In his recent book The Americas: A History of the Hemisphere, Professor Fernández-Armesto argues that it is impossible to understand the history of North, Central and South America in isolation.  ‘From the emergence of the first human civilizations through the arrival of Europeans and up to today, the land mass has been bound together in a complex web of inter-relationships – from migration and trade to religion, slavery, warfare, culture, food and the spread of political ideas.’  The fact that nearly 40 million US citizens are of Hispanic background and culture, the establishment of NAFTA in 1994, and the plan to set up a Free Trade Area of the Americas in the coming period all underline the importance of a regional as well as sectional perspective on the Americas.


Assad Shoman, former Foreign Minister of Belize and current Ambassador to Cuba, welcomed the news: ‘To appreciate how Latin America and the Caribbean are evolving, it is imperative to understand the USA.  Studying the USA from a hemispheric perspective is indispensable for gaining a holistic vision of development and security, the interrelationship of which is increasingly being recognised. I applaud the University for taking this bold step, which will greatly enrich the study of our hemisphere’.


 Carol Madison Graham, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, also welcomed the Council’s decision: `The new Institute will safeguard the teaching of US studies in London, and that is vitally important. But it will also provide a fresh new

perspective to supplement - and sometimes to challenge - the established view of America and the Americans as a whole. That also is to be welcomed, and we hope to work closely with the ISA to build a durable and exciting program,’


Professor James Dunkerley, said he was honoured to be appointed as ISA Director:  ‘Most importantly, I would seek to ensure the ISA will be energetically inclusive, seeking to involve North Americanist and Caribbeanist scholars throughout the UK in much the same way as ILAS has played a leading role in promoting Latin American studies nation-wide.  The aim will be to serve and to strengthen national networks of US scholars.  I will actively seek to build close ties with organisations such as the British Association for American Studies, the Eccles Centre at the British Library, and the British Museum, in addition to the American business community in London and the Embassies and High Commissions of the states of the western hemisphere.’  Existing collegial ties with the ISA’s sister Institute of Commonwealth Studies will be expanded to enhance the studies of Canada and the Caribbean in both Institutes.







1.      The Institute of Latin American Studies and the Institute of United States Studies are among ten member-institutes of the School of Advanced Study, which is part of the central University of London.

2.      Both institutes were established in 1965 and, for a time, shared premises at 31 Tavistock Square, where the Institute of Latin American Studies is presently located.

3.      From 2005, the new Institute for the Study of the Americas will be located in Senate House, the main building of the University of London.




·         School of Advanced Study:

·         Institute of Latin American Studies:

·         Institute of United States Studies:

Submitted by Dr. David Robinson.