The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) was founded in 1963. In a consortium with the University of Chicago, CLACS is a Title VI National Resource Center, receiving continuous funding since 1976 from the U.S. Department of Education. Since 2009, CLACS houses the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies, one of only three in the country. With additional financial support from the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (also from the Department of Education), the College of LAS, as well as private institutional (Tinker, uninterrupted since 1980) and individual funds (Kilby Fellowship, Love Fellowship, Whitten Fund), CLACS promotes research and teaching on Latin America, as well as sponsors conferences, symposia, colloquia, the Latin American Film Festival, and outreach programs.
We support and promote the missions of the university to innovate research, teaching, and global engagement. CLACS fosters spaces of academic and cultural exchange between scholars, students, and regional K-14 instructors, with communities throughout the Americas. At UIUC, more than 1000 students take yearly courses on Latin America, Portuguese and Quechua courses. Supported by the Title VI grant, CLACS is one of a handful of universities in the world that offers all levels of Quechua instruction, in class and online, with materials used widely across the globe and created by our former Quechua instructor, Clodoaldo Soto. Quechua courses are now taught by Carlos Molina-Vital. In close collaboration with our highly-ranked Latin American and Caribbean Studies Library, and engaging over 120 faculty CLACS-affiliates from across campus, CLACS additionally promotes focused and interdisciplinary research by hosting speakers and visiting scholars, and by supporting faculty with grants to develop curricula, and faculty and students to do fieldwork and research in situ, enhancing in this way their academic and transcultural experiences. Through its activities and academic programs, CLACS engages in promoting transcultural and global competence, alongside social responsibility.