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SPP Conference Explores Latin Americas Present and Future

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Scholars, educators, and community members with a common interest in Latin American Studies came together at the School of Public Policy from November 5 to 6, when Pepperdine hosted the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies (PCCLAS) 2010 annual conference.

The conference, titled "Emerging Consensus in Latin America and the Role of the United States," featured panel members from universities around the world and explored a diverse range of topics including economic development, leftist movements, environmental and agricultural issues, linguistics, Chicano art, and confrontation at shared borderlands.

"This conversation about borders and immigration reform tends to be controversial, so our frank discussion may have surprised some people," says Luisa Blanco, assistant professor of economics, who helped coordinate the event with PCCLAS, adding that a large portion of the conference explored how to improve living standards in the region by tackling violence and drug trafficking.

Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Senior Fellow of the Center for Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute, expanded on how to improve living standards in Latin America in his keynote address. Llosa is a Peruvian writer and political commentator whose research on Latin American history has been featured on the National Geographic Channel.

Blanco was pleased that the conference included discussions about art, science, and the humanities as well as policy. "A lot of the panels were very interdisciplinary in nature and I think people were interested to see how different disciplines all connected to each other in the study of the Latin American region."

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