The Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CALAS) is a university-based Center for Advanced Studies founded by a consortium of Latin American and German universities. The University of Guadalajara, Mexico, houses the head office of CALAS while three regional offices are located at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador; the Universidad de Costa Rica in San José, Costa Rica; and the Universidad Nacional San Martín in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The German Universities Bielefeld, Kassel, Hanover and Jena are responsible for the project management. In addition, numerous other universities and research facilities from all over Latin America are associated with CALAS.
The founding of CALAS in March 2017 was the result of an initiative by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Germany) to set up a Center for Advanced Studies in the field of humanities and social sciences in Latin America. The bilateral (Latin American) bodies of CALAS are composed of a Board of Directors and a Steering Committee. An internationally renowned Advisory Board is set up for academic advice.
CALAS current research program (2017-2029) addresses the topic "Coping with Crises: Transdisciplinary Perspectives from Latin America". The transdisciplinary research at CALAS focuses on critical questions of how crises and processes of change are triggered, accelerated, decelerated, perceived, and reflected by different actors. What strategies for dealing with crises on multiple levels arise in the process? How can new approaches to problem solving – including transregional approaches – be made more effective or institutionalized? CALAS’ research matrix consists of four separate but strongly thematically interrelated research groups:
1.) Dealing with Violence – Resolving Conflicts (2019-2020)
2.) Confronting Social Inequality (2020-2022)
3.) Coping with Environmental Crises (2022-2023)
4.) Regional Identities in Multiple Crises (2023-2025).