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U. of Pittsburgh cultivates its connection with Valladolid

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Students from the University of Pittsburgh are staying with local families in Valladolid as they study the region. Photo: Courtesy

Valladolid, Yucatan — The Center for Latin American Studies is back for a second year in a row.

This time, they are bringing 14 students from the University of Pittsburgh. They will be here for six weeks conducting research work they started back on campus in January.

Topics they will investigate are varied, from the Mayan language to the region’s tourism.

Each student will be housed with a local family, which will allow them to experience Yucatecan culture more closely.

Solano Moraga

“We are fortunate and grateful for the university connections, which will be a major influence on the experience of our students here,” said Professor Leonardo Solano Moraga, who specialized in post-1960s Latin American literature and film. “I personally am excited to swim in my first cenote and feel the heat of the sun, something we do not have (at home).”

This is the second visit of the Latin American Studies Center to Valladolid. In June of last year, Dr. Karen Goldman and a colleague from the university brought 11 multilevel teachers to explore the region and incorporate lessons for their students.

Last year, leaders indicated they would return at this time with undergraduate students. 

Julian Asenjo, director of the program, said last June that Mexico had not been part of the Latin American Studies programming for 16 years. These two trips begin to make up for that oversight.

Their promise fulfilled, the students’ current leader expressed excitement about the program’s new relationship with Valladolid. 

“To the teachers who traveled to Valladolid in June 2016, the city offered them a perfect mix of research support, interesting topics and friendly people,” said Solano Moraga.

“Based on that experience, we decided to return this year with a group of students. We are very happy to be able to strengthen the ties between Valladolid and the University of Pittsburgh,” he said.

The university’s Center for Latin American Studies, commonly known as CLAS, was founded in 1964 as part of the university’s Center for International Studies. It offers undergraduate and graduate students multidisciplinary training focused on Latin American and Caribbean topics.

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