Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Lauren Elliot, '10

Other Worlds are Possible, New Orleans and San Francisco

Lauren Elliot at Universidade de la Tierra during her study abroad

Lauren works with Other Worlds are Possible, a small organization that documents and supports the work of social movements around the world. Other Worlds, in Lauren‘€™s words, takes their “direction from and builds our work around the needs of our allies working on the front lines of social change in Haiti, Honduras, and elsewhere.” While at Tulane, Lauren studied abroad on a School of International Training field research program in Mexico, remaining in southern Mexico after the program ended to participate in the anti-capitalist and indigenous movements of Chiapas and Oaxaca. In Chiapas, she enrolled as a student in the Universidad de la Tierra, an autonomous indigenous university aligned with the Zapatista movement, where she learned urban agricultural methods. She returned to the United States excited about the possibility of creating more self-sustaining communities at home in Atlanta and New Orleans. She spent several months in Atlanta, first working on an urban farm and then as a teacher at a Bosnian community center, and then returned to Tulane where she created and implemented the University‘€™s first student-run, for-credit course, Rethinking Development.

Lauren considers connection between her degree and her dedication to social justice and community development…

How has your background in LAST helped you since graduation?
There is no blueprint for the work Other Worlds does and no formula to follow. As such, no traditional non-profit management or skills-based international development degree would have prepared me for this. My Latin American Studies professors and my time abroad built for me the theoretical and practical foundation I needed to jump out of the controlled school environment and into this kind of work. I left with a good grasp on history and theory‘€“an understanding of the global economy, of place-based histories and their global trends, of formal and informal power structures. I left able to write research papers, resumes, and poetry. I left forever grateful to professors that encouraged us students to bring our whole selves to our studies, to unearth what we are really passionate about, and to know the relevance of what we’re learning beyond the classroom and to act on it. I am where I am today, able to do what I do, because of those professors and the lessons they imparted.

Any words of wisdom for LAST undergraduates?
Get out of the classroom. Get out of the library. Shut down your computer, for at least a bit. Here‘€™s what I mean:

Go travel! You’ll learn the most if you keep in mind as you get on that plane the world is very big and ultimately you know very little. Teachers are everywhere.

Get to know that professor you really dig when she or he isn’t lecturing. Learning doesn’t stop when we leave the white board and nor should our relationships with those who teach us. You’ll find many incredible teachers who are invested in you, in where you are and where you’re headed. You never know when a conversation with one will change the course of your life. Many changed the course of mine.






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Upcoming Events

Central America: People and the Environment Asynchronous Institute

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Register now for the ASYNCHRONOUS COURSE which opens up in July
Please note, the synchronous blended institute taking place June 14 – 25 is no longer accepting registrants.

This summer educator institute is the third institute in a series being offered by Tulane University, The University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. This series of institutes is designed to enhance the presence of Central America in the K-12 classroom. Each year, participants engage with presenters, resources and other K-12 colleagues to explore diverse topics in Central America with a focus on people and the environment. It is not required to have participated in past institutes to join us.

The Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University is excited to host and coordinate this year’s institute. Tulane University and New Orleans are both unique and important places to explore the deep connections to Central America with a focus on people and environment. With presentations by leading historians and sociologists on Central America, environment and race we are excited to share the work and resources from presenters as well as the unique resources at Tulane.


NOW REGISTERING FOR THE ASYNCHRONOUS INSTITUTE For more information, please email or call 504.865.5164. Space is limited.