Guatemala and Mayan Language Program
One of the Center’s regional foci is the Maya area of southern Mexico and Guatemala. We offer a two-year of K’iche’ language courses and a summer field school in Nahualá with the University of Chicago. Five faculty members are Mayanists (Arthur Demarest, Markus Eberl, Edward Fischer, Sergio Romero, and Norbert Ross). CLAS coordinates a number of projects in Guatemala in conjunction with the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering, and Vanderbilt’s Institute for Global Health. CLAS provides a home base for the InterAmerican Health Alliance, a non-profit organization that supports Primeros Pasos, a pediatric clinic in rural Guatemala. CLAS, Children’s Hospital and the Shalom Foundation are working together to establish a surgery center in Guatemala City that will serve as an innovative new model for a “medical timeshare” to provide a physical base for medical missions and interns. With the School of Nursing we have a midwifery program in Guatemala, and with the Owen School of Management we run a Project Pyramid course focusing on economic development in Guatemala. Undergraduate student programs in Guatemala include the VISAGE service-learning course on health, development and culture.
K’iche’ Maya Program
The K’iche’ program began in 2006 by offering an intensive academic-year course team taught by a linguist and a native speaking instructor from Nahualá, Guatemala. The course’s innovative design includes three hours per week of in-class instruction focusing on grammar, vocabulary, and syntax as well as two one-hour intensive one-on-one meetings with the native speaker to work on spoken K’iche’. Combining the individual and group instruction allows students more structured practice and allows instructors to keep a close watch on students’ performance and adjust the course accordingly the maximize results.
With the University of Chicago, University of New Mexico, and University of Texas, we offer a summer intensive immersion language program in K’iche’ Mayan in Nahualá, Guatemala in even years. In Summer 2012, the Institute will offer instruction at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. This course meets all requirements for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships; students are encouraged to apply to their home institution for summer FLAS Fellowship support. Eligible graduate students at other universities may apply to the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and/or the University of New Mexico for Summer FLAS Fellowship support, but priority for FLAS awards will be given to students at these awarding institutions.
Vanderbilt Projects in Guatemala
Biomedical Engineering: Service-learning course taught by Cynthia Paschal; students work on medical equipment at Moore Surgery Center and other hospitals in Guatemala; collaboration with engineering students from the Universidad del Valle.
Cancuén Archaeology Project: Archaeology Park in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala; integrating local development and health projects and eco-tourism opportunities.
Conexión Guatemala: organization run by CLAS that brings together over 15 humanitarian mission efforts based in Nashville that focus on Guatemala.
Medicine, Health, and Society / CLAS VISAGE course: year-long VISAGE (Vanderbilt Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement) course during which students spend 4 weeks in Guatemala.
Manna Project International: Volunteer driven non-profit organization serving international communities. At the Guatemala site, teams of thirteen-month volunteers work alongside targeted communities to implement a wide array of development programs.
Owen School of Management: Project Pyramid course led by Bart Victor (Owen School of Management); students develop strategic planning and business models for Primeros Pasos clinic and other projects in Guatemala.
Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital / Shalom Foundation Alliance: 2-3 major surgical missions per year to Guatemala; Moore Surgery Center in Guatemala City, an innovative “medical timeshare” for missions trip that will involve local medical students and VU students and interns.
Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health / PEPFAR: Alfredo Vergara hopes to develop a PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) project in Guatemala with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).