Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean (PLAC) Initiative

Pulitzer Center International Reporting Student Fellowship Opportunity

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an innovative award-winning non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting in-depth engagement with underreported global affairs through sponsorship of quality international journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of outreach and education to schools and universities.

The Pulitzer Campus Consortium is a network of universities and community colleges that support in-person campus visits by Pulitzer Center journalists and international reporting fellowships for students.  Penn students have the opportunity to expand their global education by applying for one of these fellowships.  Support is provided by the Pulitzer Center, Penn Global, the Middle East Center (MEC), the South Asia Center (SAC), and Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean (PLAC).  All current full-time Penn students, undergraduate and graduate (excluding PhD), returning in the same full-time status in the fall, are eligible to apply.  


4th Annual Conference: Climate Change, Resilience, and Environmental Justice in Latin America and the Caribbean

Friday, September 28, 2018 | 10:00 AM – 2:15 PM
Singh Center for Nanotechnology, 3205 Walnut Street

Also, Satellite Events between September 15 - October 15

PLAC conferences promote interaction and collaboration across Penn Schools. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the projected mean warming for Latin America to the end of the century ranges from 1 to 4°C. This warming, already experienced through more frequent extreme weather events, has major social, political, economic, environmental, health, and financial implications. Join us as we aim to understand and showcase the depth and breadth of Penn engagement in the region. 


9:30-10:00 AM  Registration and Coffee

10:00 AM  Welcome

  • Antonia Villarruel, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing

  • Vijay Kumar, Professor and Nemirovsky Dean of Engineering     

10:15 AM   Introduction of Keynote Speaker

  • Alejandro Ribeiro, Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering

10:20 AM  Keynote "Planning, Development and Management of the Uruguayan new Electric Energy Matrix"


11:15 AM  “100 Years of Hurricanes: Historical and Political Causes of Climate Disaster in Puerto Rico”

  • liana Pagán-Teitelbaum, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Film, Department of Languages   and Cultures (West Chester University)

11:35 AM  “Climate Refugees”

11:55 AM  “Rebuilding Resilient Power in Puerto Rico"

  • Panel Sponsored by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy

  • Speakers: Nicholas Pevzner, Lecturer in Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Design (Penn), Yadiel Rivera-Diaz, Senior Architectural Designer, Marvel Architects NY

  • Moderator: Angela Pachon, Research Director, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy (Penn)

12:20 PM  Break – gather lunch and return to room to eat and continue talks

12:40 PM  “MRSEC-PREM an NSF sponsored collaborative between Penn and the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, active during the last 18 years.”

  • Panelists: Idalia Ramos, Professor of Physics and Electronics (UPRH), Mark Licurse, Director of Education & Outreach, Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (Penn), Andrew McGhie, Associate Director, Emeritus, Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (Penn)

  • Moderator: Jorge Santiago-Aviles, Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering (Penn)


  • “Data, Displacement, and Disaster Response: Two Philadelphia Libraries Take Action in the Aftermath of Hurricane Maria.” Coral Salomon and Tania Rios Merrero

  • “Hurricane San Felipe: Death and Disaster Response in Puerto Rico, 1928-1929.” Brett Robert

  • “Urban Transportation in Mexico.” Erick Guerra

  • “Protecting Lake Atitlan and the health of its residents - Evaluating watershed impact of pour - flush latrines and watershed management in Tzununa, Guatemala.” Erica Depalma

  • “Development of Energy Storage Simple Devices, collaborative between the University of Pennsylvania and the Federal University of Parana in Brazil.” Cyro Ketzer-Saul

  • “Laboratorio para la Vida y el Ambiente (LAVA): A Community Science Model in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador.” Sophia Simon

  • “The Political Economy of Amazon Deforestation Subnational Development and the Uneven Reach of the Colombian state.” Javier Revelo-Rebolledo

  • “Collaborative on the Generation of Educational Material Related to Renewable Energy Between UPenn and Universidad de la Habana, in Cuba.” Jorge Santiago-Aviles

  • “Interdisciplinary research-based training program in nano and environmental sciences: feeding the pipeline and changing perspectives on the environment at the K-16+ continuum.” Ana-Rita Mayol

  • “The 2018 Renewable Energy Project in Argentina.” Byron Bailey

  • “Healthy Pequeños (Healthy Little Ones)” [Video Presentation] Alaina Hall

2:10 PM  Closing Remarks and Acknowledgements

      Ocek Eke, Director for Global and Local Service Learning Programs, Penn Engineering


Previous PLAC Conferences

Learn about previous PLAC Conferences. 


3rd PLAC Conference (2017)


2nd PLAC Conference (2016)


Inaugural PLAC Conference (2015)


3rd PLAC Conference (2017)


2nd PLAC Conference (2016)


Inaugural PLAC Conference (2015)

History & Background

In the fall of 2014, the School of Nursing, under the newly appointed Dean, Dr. Antonia Villarruel, reached out to representatives from Schools across the Penn campus to gauge interest in forming the Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean group.  The strong positive response led to a meeting on December 15, 2014.  More than 60 individuals from eight Penn Schools, the Perry World House, Penn Global, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia were in attendance.

In the years since, the University of Pennsylvania, led by an interdisciplinary team from across campus, hosts an annual "PLAC" conference to showcase the depth and breadth of institutional and faculty engagement in the region. Learn more about the PLAC conferences below.

PLAC Steering Committee

A Penn in Latin America & the Caribbean (PLAC) Steering Committee was formed, comprised of over ten representatives from across the University of Pennsylvania.