You are here: American University Provost Communications June 2, 2022

American University Office of the Provost

MemorandumJune 2, 2022

AU Faculty and Staff
Peter Starr, Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Center for Latin American and Latino Studies Leadership Transition

I’m writing to announce that Eric Hershberg, founding director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS), has decided to step down from his position at the end of 2022 and retire during 2023. A university-wide research center, CLALS is devoted to the study of Latin America and Latino communities in the United States. Since it was established in 2010, CLALS has come to involve more than 80 affiliate faculty and dozens of doctoral students across campus. Over the years, the center has also brought more than 50 research fellows to AU from around the world. Many students who have served as CLALS research assistants have gone on to establish successful careers in academia, think tanks, foundations, and government service. 

Under Dr. Hershberg’s leadership, the center has become a driver of innovation in its field, undertaking research projects supported by a wide array of funding institutions, encompassing government, foundations, and multilateral organizations. CLALS has raised more than $6 million in grants to AU; released dozens of publications; provided training to officials in the United Nations and Latin American universities; and been cited by media outlets including the New York Times, the Economist, and the Times Higher Education Supplement. 

CLALS has established partnerships with leading organizations in the Latino community and countless Latin American universities and think tanks. It has also convened hundreds of public events in 16 countries throughout the Western Hemisphere and in multiple cities in the United States. The CLALS website and social media platforms receive more traffic than any others in the fields of Latin American studies and Latino affairs. In his role, Dr. Hershberg has been a forceful voice advocating for Latino immigrant rights and we are especially proud of his interventions on behalf of more than 100 Central American refugees applying for relief in US immigration courts.

Under Dr. Hershberg’s direction, the center has positioned itself as a catalyst for faculty research across the university. Many of our colleagues have received external funds channeled through CLALS. In 2018, Dr. Hershberg was honored with AU’s inaugural University Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Collaborative Scholarship. As a professor in the School of Public Affairs, he has also made important contributions in the classroom, teaching undergraduate and graduate classes in the Department of Government and supervising graduate student projects in SPA, SIS, CAS, and SOC.

Please join me in wishing Eric all the best as he begins this next chapter! In the coming days, I will announce a faculty committee to advise me on the selection of the next director for CLALS.