The Central American community in Los Angeles is one of the three largest in the United States. Although its roots in California go back more than 130 years, the 1980's witnessed a dramatic demographic growth and increasing visibility of Central Americans in the American society. It is expected that by the year 2010, the Central American population in Southern California will number 2.5 million, making them the second largest Hispanic group in California. After more than twenty years in the U.S., Central Americans have clearly established their largest permanent concentration in Southern California.
CSUN is the first university in the nation to establish a Minor program in Central American Studies (CASP). The University has committed the resources to provide classes, professors, clerical support and space to make this program a reality. The students, academics and community at large have received the CASP with excitement at the prospect of having an academic program directed towards the critical needs of the community.
In the fall semester of 2001, with the support of CSUN administrators and the School of Humanities, the Central American Research and Policy Institute (CARPI) was established. CARPI is the result of diligent efforts by CSUN students, CASP faculty, and Central American community organizations for the purpose of developing research, policy and knowledge supporting the socioeconomic, cultural and civic development of the transnational Central American community. In addition, it will work towards establishing an ongoing relationship with entities in the United States and Central America. Policy development and academic research will include issues of common concern such as integration, civil society, economic development, and cultural identity of Central Americans.
· To generate and disseminate research information, analysis, and social perspective on issues affecting Central Americans.
· To work towards developing students' research methodological and analytical skills and to directly involve them in documenting and analyzing their history and experience.
· To actively promote and encourage interdisciplinary investigations and social policy articulation by academics of Central American origin.
· To suggest alternative policies aimed at improving the quality of life, civic participation and educational development of Central Americans in general and the Central American students at CSUN in particular.
· Demographic Profile of Central Americans in the United States with a Special Focus on Central Americans in Los Angeles County. (In progress).
· The development of textbooks with and for the Community: Testimonios and Oral History (2000-2003.)
· War, Violence and Post-Traumatic Stress in the Central American Community.
· Changing Roles of Central American Women: Shaping the Future of the Community.
· Accessing the New Economy: The Impact of Science & Technology on the Central American Community.
· Community Resource Development: Transnational Networking, Hometown Associations in Action.
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