Puerto Rico Winter Institute 2020

  • PRWI
  • PRWI
  • PRWI
  • PRWI

2020 Program Dates: Forthcoming

The Puerto Rico Winter Institute (PRWI) is a ten-day graduate seminar in collaboration between Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) and the College of Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras (UPR).The program is led by Professor Pedro Reina Perez (UPR). 

The Harvard Puerto Rico Winter Institute is generously supported by the Wilbur Marvin Foundation. Students chosen to participate will receive funding for airfare, lodging (at URI), a daily stipend, and local transportation. Cultural activities will also be provided.

20 students will be selected to participate in the seminar (10 from Harvard University, 10 from UPR). Undergraduate and graduate students are both eligible to apply. Preference will be given to graduate students, and/or students whose research interests best align with the themes of the seminar. Fluency in Spanish is highly desirable. 

Each student will write a paper focused on selected topics. A project blog will feature the writings of participants, together with photos and video.

To Apply: 
Harvard College & Graduate Students 
will apply using CARAT (Centralized Application for Research and Travel). The application is named DRCLAS 2019 Puerto Rico Winter Institute. Please be sure you are applying through the correct application, specific for undergraduates or graduates. 

The following information is required in the application:
• Personal statement: English, 500 words, stating your: Area of expertise, Research interest(s), Potential contribution(s) to the outcomes of the seminar, Time to graduation (year of study)
• Current one-page resume

Deadline: Mid-October 2019

Inquiries? Please contact Pedro Reina-Pérez at: preina@fas.harvard.edu


2018 Program: Cancelled due to Hurricane Maria


2017 Program: Fragmented Borders: Transnationalism, inequality and citizenship

January 7-17, 2017

The two-week annual Puerto Rico Winter Institute (PRWI) took place in January 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 2017 Institute is a collaboration between Harvard University and the Universidad de Puerto Rico (UPR), organized by Professor Pedro Reina Perez (UPR) and Professors David Carrasco, María Luisa Parra, and Mayra Rivera Rivera (Harvard). 

Transnational relations between the United States and the Spanish Caribbean have shaped contemporary notions of identity, culture and citizenship on both sides of the equation. Questions of legal status, economic inequality and cultural agency are resolved in close relationship to each community, both on the mainland and in each country. While Puerto Ricans possess a powerful tool for mobility in their US citizenship, it is not an insurance policy against poverty, corruption or mismanagement. Decaying natural resources, often affected by a lack of adequate planning, mismanagement, and climate change also come into play affecting communities, many of which are poor and underrepresented. To avoid displacement residents seek ways to increase participation in decision-making and become advocates for the protection of their environment. 

Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory of the United States faces severe economic challenges that have fueled a large exodus to the mainland as people seek shelter from uncertainty, thus bridging markets and reshaping borders and countries. Traditional relations between birthplace and residence, identity and citizenship, borders and boundaries are considered anew. How do current migration patterns change cultural conceptions of race, gender and identity? How are civic values shaped by this experience? How do cross-border fertilizations enable new forms of political agency? Which are the main environmental challenges facing citizens and their communities? How are solutions explored? 

These questions were presented in a comparative perspective while visiting Proyecto ENLACE, one of Puerto Rico's leading community-based organizations, which was recently granted the UN's 2015 World Habitats Award. Its community land trust is helping to transform an informal settlement around a polluted and flood-prone river channel into a sustainable community, providing a new model to transform informal settlements in cities without risking the alienation of the original residents.