Letter to Prospective Research Fellows

To Whom It May Concern:

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) would like to present the opportunity to affiliate with the organization as a Research Fellow. Candidates for such volunteer fellowships will be closely vetted in order to attract new personnel who are both committed scholars and socially motivated. The COHA community is seeking new colleagues who can offer balanced, yet critical interpretations of regional issues from a progressive viewpoint, which makes Latin American national interests of paramount importance and its welfare of the highest concern.

As a COHA Research Fellow you will be joining a working group of Latin American policy analysts who are driven to develop a unique relationship with on-site undergraduate and graduate students. You will also be joining a widening circle of extramural affiliates who are interested in bringing new and experienced perspectives to Latin American studies. Candidates who are chosen to participate in our ongoing work will be given responsibilities commensurate with their capacities, which are meant to contribute to the organization’s policy oriented initiatives and publications that appear online almost on a daily basis.  Some of these articles routinely receive a good deal of favorable comments and have been positively cited in the national and international press.

Founded in 1975, COHA is a nonprofit, tax-exempt independent research and information 501 (C3) organization. Its primary goals are concerned with promoting a humanitarian focus on Western hemispheric studies. In general, COHA’s goals are also aimed at raising the visibility of Latin American issues in print as well as in electronic media. The advance of inter-American understanding and cooperation is of prime interest to COHA’s founders, as well as its current generation of leaders, who hope to encourage the formulation of rational and constructive U.S. policies towards the rest of the hemisphere.

If selected, fellows will become part of a community of COHA analysts and researchers who work on projects considered to be critical to exploring society’s dominant political and economic initiatives regarding current enlightened viewpoints and interactions of a progressive nature being encouraged to blossom throughout the region.

Prevailing attitudes that have failed to adequately reveal to the public historical, social, economic, and political realities are of concern to COHA, and should be replaced by those that do. The organization’s goals consistently have displayed a prejudice in favor of an appropriate debating format for the needs, interests, and concerns of ordinary people throughout the region. COHA also attempts to mount initiatives to explore how hemispheric affairs are being interpreted in a global geo-political context using various scenarios.

COHA Research Fellows come with a diversity of expertise and lived experiences, but are joined together by a mutual outlook based on a shared belief in the pursuit of social justice, as well as the need to improve democratic institutions. COHA personnel also possess a commitment to expose corruption, corporate greed, violence against innocent victims, and the misuse of a country’s military resources.

Research, Publication, and Peer Review

There are many paths to be taken in order to adapt COHA’s function as a multi-purpose vehicle to treat the inter-American region as one where national sovereignty and personal rights are respected. COHA Research Fellows will most likely find themselves participating in the overall teaching and mentoring role, or engaging in creating a link to a number of aspects of the inter-American community. This could include contributing to ongoing research, publication, and editing, serving as tutor to one or more interns, seeking to obtain foundation assistance for funding individual or group projects, and assisting with institution building.

All COHA Fellows are expected to contribute articles and to provide peer review for articles in their area of expertise. In addition to publication and editing, COHA Research Fellows may also choose to participate in almost all aspects of its internship program by providing the research and editorial guidance that is being sought by COHA’s well-selected interns, including co-authoring op-ed pieces and helping them to enter the several doors through which they may be inducted into future professions. By participating in some combination of these activities, a working bond is likely to evolve into a mutually beneficial experience, which is almost certain to enhance public understanding of the process and result in a high-minded and relevant discussion of regional issues.

Research Fellows will be invited to participate in a variety of COHA meetings, to share their ideas about regional issues, and help COHA set research and project priorities and sketch out policies. At COHA, Research Fellows will collaborate with our Research Associates (interns) to ensure the quality of COHA’s output that is published on our website and in our biweekly publication (The Washington Report on the Hemisphere), and in other formats of which we regularly take advantage. COHA strives to maintain all publications at a high level of quality, and is regarded by many as being in the forefront of current thinking in the field. Research Fellows are often provided with opportunities to share their findings and expertise by being called upon to provide interviews for the media as well as by participating in professional conferences under COHA’s flag.

As a Research Fellow, one’s name, with their permission, will be added to COHA’s roster of speakers to be one of its representatives, who are sent all over the world to speak at forums regarding the critical issues of the day. In summation, COHA Fellows are part of a voluntary research community dedicated to spotlighting the facts on the ground and interpreting them before making value judgments. These judgments include determining what ought to be done in terms of advancing participatory democracy and social justice in the hemisphere. It also includes seeking to resolve any intra- and inter-regional disputes in an equitable manner. Such judgments are not static and certainly not fallow, but are meant to be open to others’ attempts at change and challenge.

COHA Associate Program

COHA welcomes, but does not require, the participation of Research Fellows in our Associate Internship Program. At the core of COHA’s program, each semester, interns join our Associate program to advance their research skills, strengthening their writing and ability to raise and resolve issues in a critical manner, working both independently and as a team. COHA provides ample opportunities for these Associates, training them to participate in one or more aspects of COHA’s day-to-day operations. We count on the organization’s Research Fellows to provide two-way guidance and to formulate grants and opportunities for our Associates by collaborating in the widest array of research projects available in Washington and other locations.

Research Fellows help lead discussions on hemispheric issues, and according to the individual program, come to our office once or twice a week to meet in person with the COHA Director, Associates and other Research Fellows.

Institutional Support

Over the years, COHA Research Associates have benefitted from the advice, knowledge, and writing skills of COHA Fellows. As COHA faces the fiscal challenges of becoming an increasingly important non-profit “think tank,” it is incumbent upon COHA to develop and submit grant applications in order to create the possibility for new and augmented levels of operations. With regard to organizational development, COHA welcomes new Research Fellows who are willing to share their management and scholarly skills to suggest ways to enhance our operations. The goal is to maximize the realization of all “Cohistas” in an environment in which they can benefit, and which allows the energy that our Associates have brought to the organization each semester since 1975 to be further used in the amplification of the organization’s many achievements.

Again, please consider joining COHA’s Research Fellow program. From past experiences, we anticipate a mutually beneficial relationship, and we trust that together we can do our part to humanize and professionalize discussions concerning the ability of citizens throughout the Americas. This includes working to achieve a just society worthy of its name and preserving the intrinsic value of the organization’s efforts to lend our support to the field of Latin American studies and taking a healthy turn in a forthright and robust democratic manner.

In recent months, Professors Ronn Pineo, Chair of the Department of History of Towson University, and Frederick B. Mills, professor of philosophy at Bowie State University, have joined COHA as Senior Research Fellows. Their contribution to our program has been monumental. They have coauthored pieces with COHA interns, appeared in numerous media programs, have been interviewed by the New York Times and other major media outlets, and have augmented the volume of progressive and well trained voices coming from Washington.

If you feel you would like to consider making a significant contribution to the growth of our organization, while serving the field, and the region, we hope you contact COHA and join us in our efforts to revisit a more honest and forthright connection throughout the Americas.

Thank you,

Larry Birns

Director, COHA

Please contact our office at (202) 223-4975 or coha@coha.org