Fellowship Program

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The Inter-American Foundation is the only institution that specifically funds academic research on grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2012, the IAF awarded 16 Grassroots Development Fellowships to Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy in U.S. universities and are undertaking dissertation research throughout the hemisphere. Fellows were selected on the strength of their academic records, their proposals and their potential contributions to grassroots development. All U.S. citizens except as noted, they are researching the following topics:

  • Carolina Arango-Vargas (Colombia), Syracuse University, autonomy, resistance and development among women farmers’ organizations in rural Antioquia, Colombia;

  • Kelly Bauer, George Washington University, indigenous mobilization in Chile;

  • Paula Dias, Brown University, oil, environmental education and governance in Brazil;

  • Maria dos Santos Soares (Brazil), University of Texas, theatrical performances by Companhia dos Comuns and the challenge of racial equality in Brazil;

  • Jael Goldsmith Weil, Northwestern University, citizens’ strategies for changing economic, political, and welfare regimes in Chile between 1954 and 2010;

  • Summer Harlow, University of Texas, the digital transition of grassroots and activist media in El Salvador;

  • Brett Hartman, University of California-Santa Barbara, gully rehabilitation and the restoration of wet meadows in the Bolivian Andes;

  • Sandra Ley-Gutiérrez (Mexico), Duke University, political participation and voting behavior in the midst of violence in Mexico;

  • Katherine Maich, University of California-Berkeley, post-civil war violence and domestic-worker movements in Peru and Guatemala;

  • Elizabeth Mason-Deese, University of North Carolina, movements of unemployed workers in Buenos Aires;

  • Brian Palmer Rubin, University of California-Berkeley, interest organizations and development policy in Mexico;

  • Paula Pinheiro (Brazil), University of Florida, co-management of natural resources in the Lower Juruá Extractive Reserve, Brazil;

  • Manuel Prieto Montt (Chile), University of Arizona, water reforms and the indigenous people of the Atacama Desert;

  • Rodrigo Renteria-Valencia (Mexico), University of Arizona, environmental conservation and the transformation of indigenous expertise in Mexico;

  • Czarina Thelen, University of Texas, Maya youth theater, social justice and armed violence in Guatemala;

    Mary Wilhoit, Northwestern University, rural Peruvian women and the privatization of communal farmland.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) administers the Fellowship Program. In consultation with the IAF, IIE assembles a committee that screens applications. In 2012, it included the following scholars:

  • Dr. John Browder, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Polytechnic Institute;
  • Dr. Elizabeth Cartwright, Professor of Medical Anthropology, University of Idaho;
  • Dr. Marc Chernick, Professor of Political Science, Georgetown University;
  • Dr. Kevin Healy, IAF Representative for Bolivia and Adjunct Professor of Sociology, George Washington University;
  • Dr. Maureen Hayes-Mitchell, Professor of Geography, Colgate University;
  • Dr. Peter Wilshusen, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Bucknell University.

A unique feature of the IAF program is the mid-year meeting where Fellows share their work with each other, the IAF and the academic review committee. The 2012 meeting in Panama City included a visit to the Chagres National Park where former IAF grantee Asociación para el Fomento del Tursimo (AFOTUR) works with indigenous Embera Panamanians on their tourism enterprise. The meeting held in Guatemala in 2011 prompted nine Fellows to develop two back-to-back panels, titled “Re-Assessing the Role of the Grassroots at the Bicentennial,” for this year’s Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). Kevin Healy, IAF representative for Bolivia and an internationally recognized scholar, served as chair; discussants were Elizabeth Cartwright, referenced above, and Jan Knippers Black, Professor of Political Science at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, who has served on the academic review committee.

The IAF’s second juried competition for IAF Fellows resulted in the selection of two manuscripts for publication in Grassroots Development 2012. Members of the academic review committee conducted the anonymous peer review.

The Fellowship Program, launched in 1974, has supported doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers and master’s degree candidates from throughout the hemisphere. Between 1991 and 1995, outstanding grassroots leaders pursued independent studies funded by the Dante B. Fascell Inter-American Fellowship. The 1,112 alumni of the program include many highly respected scholars and practitioners who have influ- enced generations of students as well as institutions and public policy, including development assistance policy. For more information on the program and application procedures, visit www.iie.org/iaf P.D.