The Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) and Duke University was created 15 years ago, formally recognizing 50 years of informal cooperation between the two universities. The Consortium's goals are to enhance the Latin American curriculum on the two campuses, provide ample research and training opportunities for students and faculty from all disciplines and professional schools, and stimulate public awareness of the importance and richness of Latin American cultures and traditions. A focus on interdisciplinary work is one of the Consortium's hallmarks. The geographic proximity of the campuses, just nine miles apart, greatly encourages and facilitates regular collaboration among faculty and students in the Consortium.
The Carolina and Duke Consortium achieves its objectives in a variety of ways, including providing support for graduate student and faculty research in Latin America, and holding annual competitions for academic year and summer Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships on both campuses. The Consortium sponsors cross-campus courses; the development of new courses on Latin America, many of them interdisciplinary, others in the professional schools; instruction in a number of languages; and a Language Across the Curriculum (LAC) initiative. It sponsors a summer residential Yucatec Maya language program (beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels are offered) and develops Yucatec Maya language materials. The Consortium also maintains ties with many Latin American institutions. It sponsors a number of interdisciplinary working groups, bringing together faculty and graduate students from both campuses to collaborate on research in areas of particular concern to Latin American studies. Since 2004, it has been holding annual two-day conferences focused on integrated multi-year themes.
The Consortium benefits from a cooperative collection development agreement between the Duke and UNC-CH libraries that is among the nation's oldest and most successful of such joint endeavors. This agreement, established nearly 65 years ago, stipulates that both libraries acquire materials from all of Latin America to support general study and teaching, but share responsibility on a country basis for more specialized research resources.
Outreach is an important component of the Carolina-Duke Consortium, and it sponsors major activities to enrich public understanding and encourage the study of Latin America. Included are training programs for local public school teachers and faculty from other colleges in the Southeast and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States, film festivals, a video lending library, art exhibits, a speaker's series, and conferences and seminars. Announcements of special events are made through biweekly calendars, the newsletter, and listservs.