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Latin America

Working Group


Chair: Soledad Garcia Ferrari

Dr Soledad Garcia Ferrari is a Senior Lecturer at ESALA University of Edinburgh. Professionally qualified in Architecture and Urbanism in Uruguay, her research focuses on current processes of urban development and regeneration in Latin America and Europe. She was awarded her PhD in Urban Studies in 2007 at the School of the Built Environment Heriot-Watt University. Soledad has extensive expertise on research in recent planning strategies in Medellin and is currently leading Medellin Urban Innovation project awarded by British Council. She taught in the Faculty of Architecture in Montevideo, the University of Seville and was invited speaker to the School of Architecture, CEU in Madrid. She is currently University of Edinburgh Dean Latin America and Director of Edinburgh University Centre for Contemporary Latin American Studies.

Vice-Chair: Marta Kania

PhD Marta Kania, representative of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland.Graduate of archaeology and cultural studies at the Jagiellonian University. Ph.D. thesis defended at the Faculty of History of the Jagiellonian University. Since 2008 employed as assistant professor in the Department of Latin America in the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Visiting Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (Peru); Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Peru); Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco (Peru); Centro de Investigaciones sobre América Latina y el Caribe, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico), Academia de Humanismo Cristiano (Chile), Universidad Nacional San Andres (Bolivia), Universidad Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Her academic interests and research topics are ethno-politics and history of Latin America; nationalism and national identity in Hispanoamerica; political, legal and social aspects of protection, safeguarding and promotion of culture heritage; religious diversity and religious syncretism process in Hispanoamerica. Author of books and articles about relations between cultural heritage and political practice in Latin America (particularly in Peru and Mexico); political and social status of indigenous peoples, and religious diversity in Latin America. Participant of international conferences and symposiums related to Latin America history, culture politics, heritage studies, religious diversity and human rights.


Focus of Working Group 

One of the main purposes of the LA WG is to increase the relevance of the CG in the EU-LAC cooperation, analyzing the new trends and informing the CG universities about the new opportunities.
Being conscious of the specificities of LA Higher Education institutions, the LA WG is convinced that the way to proceed is to reinforce its cooperation with relevant networks in LA. Currently, CG is a partner of and develops activities with the Coimbra Group of Brazilian Universities (CGBU), Association of Universities of the Montevideo Group (AUGM) and Union of Latin America and Caribe Universities (UDUAL), thus covering the South American Continent.


Recent highlights

  • The LAWG and UDUAL met in March 2018 to identify themes of common interest and develop a programme for research collaboration that is expected to benefit Universities in both networks.


  • Of significant success has been the CG-AUGM Summer School on ‘Smart and Inclusive Cities’, which took place in July 2018 in Edinburgh, the result of a collaborative approach between the two networks from planning, to development and delivery of the school. A second edition is being proposed to take place in 2020.


  • The LAWG meeting in Köln counted with the participation from a representative of European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, which contributed to showcase the work of CG and the LAWG in engaging with Latin America and the importance of ensuring that academics are involved, as well as government officials, in decision-making regarding challenges and priorities for research and innovation in the region.

Current/forthcoming activities

  • The LAWG is collaborating with AUGM in the preparation of a joint event for junior researchers, to share their work around ‘sustainability’. The intention for this workshop, which is due to take place in May 2019 hosted by Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, is to discuss a range of interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability and identify common areas of interest. Universities participants from the LAWG have offered some support for students and this activity has been disseminated widely across CG, to achieve the highest level of interest possible.


  • The LAWG has continued collaboration around thematic clusters identified over the past year, as areas of common interest for developing research, knowledge exchange and mobility projects. Around these, we are organising an event to take place in June in Krakow, aimed to discussing the Latin American context in terms of research and development, the title will be ‘Why Latin America matters?’.  The region is often not viewed as a priority, in terms of major world challenges, such as climate change, environmental risk, migration or conflict resolution, and it risks becoming a blind spot in these global debates.


  • LAWG and AUGM are planning a joint meeting in Turku before the EAIE event in Helsinki focused on reflecting over our current collaboration as well as past and planned activities in order to strengthening the partnership as it develops.


  • The LAWG is planning the launch of a new edition of the Be_a_Doc programme in cooperation with GCUB.


  • The LAWG will explore the development of a Scholarship Programme for Latin America (in cooperation with other CG WGs), the aim is for a successful exchange programme, offering opportunities to exchange ideas with researchers from Latin American universities, beyond those institutions that are usually involved in collaboration.


Contact person at the CG Office: Catarina Moleiro (moleiro@coimbra-group.eu)