The CUSLAR Student Group is a Cornell University based group with ties to the larger community, which seeks to promote a greater understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean. The CUSLAR Student Group is an approved independent student organization registered with the Cornell Student Activities Office. Our faculty advisor is Mary Jo Dudley, professor of Development Sociology and director of the Cornell Farmworker Program.
Members of CUSLAR are a diverse group of people united in our concern about the role of the U.S. in the social, political and economic affairs of Latin America and the Caribbean. Within this context we support the right of the people of the hemisphere to self-determination. CUSLAR works for peace, justice and greater mutual understanding in U.S.-Latin American relations through education and support of human rights.
What we do
The CUSLAR Student Group works to educate ourselves and others at Cornell and in the larger community, working cooperatively on issues related to U.S.-Latin American relations.
We host Teach-ins on a variety of issues related to Latin America, such as Immigration, Arts and Culture, and Current Politics of Latin America.
We host International Speakers on issues relevant to CUSLAR's mission.
We hold Films and Discussion as part of a yearly film series co-sponsored by Latin American Studies, Latino Studies and Cornell Cinema.
We organize educational trips, such as to the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA.
We help to organize and participate in CUSLAR events, such as the annual Spanish for Activists Camp held during the summers.
Basic ideas that shape our work
In our work to further CUSLAR's mission, we start from a few basic premises.
Ongoing self-education is a central component in all we do.
We try to base our actions on a rigorous, thoughtful analysis of history and current events in U.S.-Latin American relations. That is, in order to take action that truly makes a difference, we have to know what we're doing! We try to look beyond quick fixes to actions that can serve as steps toward addressing the systemic problems we face.
In interaction with Latin American people and organizations, respect and humility are two core values.
At CUSLAR we aim to foster relationships of mutual understanding that acknowledge the expertise of our partners in Latin America. We aim to learn from the experiences of people and organizations while avoiding the charity model. We observe that though many U.S.-based groups mean well when interacting with people and communities in Latin America, they inadvertently perpetuate unhealthy stereotypes and unequal North-South relations in which "benevolent Northerners" help or save "poor brown people." Short-term "service" trips can actually be damaging to host communities by undermining their ability to organize to address common problems, as an influx of outside resources often causes division and dependence. We take seriously the words of an Australian aboriginal group speaking to visitors in Queensland: "If you've come here to help me, you're wasting your time. But if you've come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."
Learning together and working for more just U.S.-Latin American relations is fun and rewarding
Though we're serious about the work we do, we have fun, too! The CUSLAR office in Anabel Taylor Hall is a relaxing place to study, listen to music and find kindred spirits. Most of our meetings involve food, and sometimes the informal conversations and social time after meetings are the best part of being part of CUSLAR.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about meetings and events, or check the calendar under the "Events" tab on the main CUSLAR site.