Two Alumni Lead the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

October 20, 2022

The new director and associate director describe their plans and vision for the renowned center on The Thought Project podcast.

Image of Mila Burns And John Guttierrez

Since 2001, the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (CLACLS) at the CUNY Graduate Center has worked to promote the study and understanding of Latin American and Caribbean cultures and Latino and Caribbean communities in the United States.

Founding Director Laird Bergad, a distinguished professor of History at Lehman College and the Graduate Center, recently announced the appointment of his successor, Director John Gutierrez, a professor of Latin American and Latinx Studies at John Jay College, and Associate Director Mila Burns, a professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies department at Lehman College.

The Thought Project caught up with Gutierrez and Burns, who are Graduate Center alumni and delighted to return in their new roles at CLACLS.

Gutierrez and Burns expressed their respect for the work done by CLACLS, especially its flagship program, the Latino Data Project, which has drawn national attention since Bergad launched it in 2003. 

They also spoke about their interest in integrating CLACLS with the scholarly mission of the Graduate Center and making it a welcoming home for anybody at CUNY “who identifies with all things Latino and Latin America and Caribbean.” Gutierrez and Burns intend to establish CLACLS as a meeting place for CUNY faculty working on Latino studies or Latin America to discuss their research and new books. 

In addition to their academic credentials, Gutierrez and Burns bring practical experience to their new roles. Gutierrez was a political consultant on Latino politics in New York City and state elections, and Burns is a journalist for the Brazil television network O Global. Both are interested in contemporary U.S. Latino politics and politics in Latin America.

Listen in to learn more. 


CUNY Graduate Center · Two Alumni Lead the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

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