Andrea Sanmiguel/Contributing Writer
Former U.S. Pentagon official Francisco Mora has joined FIU and its Latin American and Caribbean Center after a two-and-a-half-year search for the center’s director.
Founded in 1979, the LACC forms linkages through the Americas with high quality education and research, providing a better understanding of countries’ regions and communities.
“The opportunity to lead and build on what Mark Rosenberg and Eduardo Gamarra created was something I had to jump all over,” said Mora.
Mora said he was drawn to the University’s growth and LACC’s reputation, particularly in Latin American studies.
Dean of Arts and Science Kenneth Furton appointed Mora, announced on July 1.
Mora said his job it to “take the center to the next level.”
As a former U.S. pentagon official, Mora worked with the U.S. after devastating earthquakes, providing relief and assistance to those in need, and helped expand the U.S. defense systems.
Mora will focus on developing and integrating the academic and policy innovation components of LACC in support of the student staff and the larger community, here in the US and Latin America.
His plans such as, expanding academic offerings for FIU students, including internships and workshops, and making connections with local and international businesses are one of the many steps Mora will take to improve the program. As well as, developing a social media outlet through Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, for students to obtain information about the many offerings LACC provides for FIU.
Getting the community involved is key to the development of LACC, according to Mora. From the recruitment of Florida congressional delegations to holding conferences, luncheons and breakfast in Washington D.C. with embassies participating with FIU. There is also the idea of creating better relationships with K-12 educators for further involvement in LACC studies.
Based off the positive feedback from his colleagues, Mora has made quite the impression.
“After spending a few weeks with Frank, it is clear that he is fully embracing the opportunity to make his mark,” said Liesl B. Picard, associate director of the LACC.
Agreeing with Picard, John Stack, the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that he is thrilled with Mora’s agreement to join FIU.
“I can think of no one with a greater understanding of contemporary Latin American affairs,” said Stack.
Picard believes that Mora’s vision for LACC coupled with his depth of experience working in the region — and even more importantly with the region — will enable the center to reach new heights.
“I, along with my LACC colleagues, are excited about what’s to come,” said Picard. “I look forward to supporting Frank’s efforts to forge new partnerships among diverse communities here at FIU.”