Mission Statement

The Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS) aims to strengthen understanding of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula in all their diversity. CLAIS supports interdisciplinary research and exchange of ideas and focuses on collaborative networks on campus and in the region.


Established in 1962, CLAIS serves as the central hub for intellectual exchange and collaborations in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. The council works to strengthen exchange and innovation through a broad array of courses, cultural events, student collaborations, scholarly lectures, international conferences, and academic research. More than forty-five Yale faculty conduct research and teach courses with substantial Latin American content. Recent years have seen increased collaboration between Latin Americanists in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools in the areas of forestry and environmental studies, global health, nursing, medicine, law, and human rights.

CLAIS offers an undergraduate major in Latin American Studies and a Graduate Certificate of Concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies for graduate and professional students at Yale. Graduate students conducting research on/in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula can also be a part of the CLAIS Graduate & Professional School Student Affiliates Network. The council offers travel fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students, hosts eminent visiting scholars, and supports faculty research and curriculum development. CLAIS supports the development of new resources for language teaching in Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages such as K’iche Maya and Nahuatl. CLAIS promotes linkages with other U.S., Latin American, and Iberian institutions to bolster cooperation and understanding of these interconnected regions.

Program Activities

CLAIS is leading efforts to be more collaborative across Yale and with partner institutions in Latin America on meaningful exchange of ideas and research. At Yale and through its involvement with several networks, CLAIS organizes and sponsors numerous lectures, symposia, conferences, and film events related to Latin America. CLAIS also supports student and faculty exchange through its exciting roster of working groups, run by graduate student coordinators, which have included topics such as Race and Slavery in the Atlantic World, Caribbean Studies, and Latin American Studies. The Latino & Iberian Film Festival is one of the council’s annual events and it brings together the entire Yale and Greater New Haven community. Promoting cultural awareness and understanding, LIFFY invites filmmakers, actors, and producers to interact with students and the audience, and includes special film screenings for New Haven Public Schools.  

CLAIS has partnered with several institutions in Latin America for collaborative research initiatives and programming. These include The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) in Brazil, and Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (FANJ) in Havana. CLAIS and UNAM worked together to launch the Latin American Interdisciplinary Gender Network in November 2020. CLAIS and FANJ collaborate on Program in Caribbean Studies with lunchtime talks, and invite Cuban scholars, musicians, and artists to participate in other talks and conferences. In collaboration with FGV and the support of Ministry of Education in Brazil and our faculty partners, we are continuing our series of high-profile conferences with prominent Brazilianists related to US-Brazil initiatives.

Our CLAIS Graduate & Professional School Network leads a variety of events and initiatives, from working groups to speaker series, and has access to select events with Yale College alumni and high-profile speakers. We also provide funds for students to travel to conferences and do research in Latin America and Iberia. In February 2021, we launched the Latin American & Iberian Studies Undergraduate Fellows Network, which is modeled after the graduate student network and will provide greater resources and connections for undergraduates throughout Yale interested in Latin American & Iberian studies.