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LAS Doctoral Student Freire Pursues Unique Program of Study

The UNM Newsroom recently highlighted Latin American Studies (LAS) PhD student Ursula Freire, describing in detail how Freire merges architecture and geography in a unique doctoral program.This program of study is made possible by the Latin American & Iberian Institute's (LAII) recently launched doctoral training program for Latin America, an initiative which involves recruiting faculty from Latin American universities to pursue PhD degrees at UNM. The initiative relies on close collaboration between UNM and Latin American partner universities such as the Universidad Central del Ecuador (UCE), Freire's home institution.

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As Carolyn Gonzales writes in the UNM Newsroom article, "Freire is a believer in the intent behind the initiative. 'Ecuador is seeking independence from foreign teachers. When faculty come from abroad, they look at your country from the outside. This initiative is not to transform Ecuador externally, but to make it better from the inside. Developing faculty through further research and scholarship completes the journey,' she [Freire] said. UCE, the country's largest university, is 'taking a big gamble' on its faculty studying at UNM, she said, adding, 'There are risks for us, the country and the university to do something to preserve the beautiful country we have.'"

"Associate Professor and Chair of Geography & Environmental Studies Maria Lane traveled to Ecuador when the program was under consideration. She said, 'The Ecuadorian legislature passed a law to transform the research culture in higher education there. It was unprecedented in Latin America.'"

"Freire calls Ecuador 'my voluptuous landscape,' because of the richness of mountains, beaches and jungle. She comes joyfully to UNM and is embracing the different environment of the American Southwest. She was already an aficionado of the writings of Lawrence Durrell and of the art of Georgia O'Keeffe."

For more information, see the complete UNM Newsroom article, Freire merges architecture and geography in a unique doctoral program, or read more about the LAII's Doctoral Programs for Latin Americans.

Image: Photograph of Ursula Freire by John Sumrow. Reprinted courtesy of UNM Newsroom.

--Posted Monday, December 7, 2015.