Faculty Feature

A farewell message from LACC Director Frank Mora

I cannot believe it has been seven years since I arrived from Washington, DC and assumed the leadership of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC) at FIU. Though it seems it was only yesterday that I arrived at DM 353, I feel that everything we achieved should have taken much longer. There are so many people to thank for making these seven years such a productive and gratifying experience. President Mark B. Rosenberg’s high expectations and invaluable advice were critical as we worked through several key initiatives, such as the development and implementation of two strategic plans. Provost Ken Furton and the university’s senior leadership understood our ambitious goals and supported us along the way. A few years ago, we were honored to be designated by the Provost as an Emerging Preeminent Program, a recognition of the high-quality education and research conducted at LACC. Important resources have accompanied the designation, allowing us to make strategic investments, such as faculty cluster hires to help establish the Brazilian Studies Institute.

Dean John Stack was a stalwart of support. I am forever grateful for all he did for me professionally and for ensuring that LACC remained one of the top Latin American and Caribbean Centers in the United States. Dean Stack’s support is one of the key reasons why LACC, in the last two grant cycles, was funded and designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Resource Center for Latin America. Thank you, John!

Dr. Kimberly Green and the Green Family Foundation are an integral part of our success. Much would not have been possible without their persistent and enthusiastic support. I will always appreciate Kimberly’s partnership and confidence in LACC. She does not realize the enormous impact she has had on our students, faculty and the community at large.

Finally, I would like to thank the wonderful team at LACC. I always said that this very capable and committed team made its director look good. Associate Director Liesl Picard’s professionalism, leadership and dedication to our mission and goals are the reasons LACC is among the top centers in the country. It has been a pleasure to see the growth of LACC’s research agenda under the leadership of the indefatigable Dr. Jose Miguel Cruz. The impact of his work on policy and academic research is cutting-edge. Finally, I like to thank Rossie Montenegro for ensuring that I stayed out of trouble and for making sure, along with the rest of the LACC team, Joseph Holbrook, Viroselie Caviedes, Lindsay Dudley, Madelyn Tirado, Dr. Maria-Luisa Veisaga, Marielena Armstrong and all the students, that LACC remains an extraordinary place. I take a moment to express special thanks to our affiliated faculty, the intellectual foundation upon which we have built success. I am sure LACC will continue supporting their important contributions to scholarship. One last word of special thanks to my dear friend and colleague, President Luis Guillermo Solis, who will take on the reins as interim director. I cannot think of a better person to lead LACC into its next phase of excellence. Thank you.

Look forward to seeing you around (virtual) campus.

Effective July 1, 2020 President Luis Guillermo Solis will assume the role of LACC Interim Director.

Frank O. Mora is the former Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC) and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, FL. Prior to arriving at FIU, Dr. Mora served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere from 2009-2013. He has held several teaching positions, including Professor of National Security Strategy and Latin American Studies at the National War College, National Defense University (2004-2009) and Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of International Studies, Rhodes College (2000-2004).

During the last twenty years Dr. Mora worked as a consultant to the Library of Congress, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the National Democratic Institute, U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and U.S. Southern Command. He has spoken at numerous conferences in the United States, Latin America and Europe. His opinion pieces and other commentaries have appeared in US and Latin American media outlets.

Dr. Mora is the author or editor of four books, including Latin American and Caribbean Foreign Policy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), Paraguay and the United States: Distant Allies (University of Georgia Press, 2008) and Neighborly Adversaries: U.S. Latin American Relations (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015); and over thirty academic and policy articles, book chapters and monographs on hemispheric security, U.S.-Latin American relations, civil-military relations, Cuban politics and military and Latin American political economy and integration.

Dr. Mora graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University in 1986. He received his M.A. in Inter-American Studies and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Miami. He also completed studies at universities in Peru and Costa Rica. He is a recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, Department of Defense (2012).