LASA expresses its condolences in the aftermath of the fire at Brazil’s Museu Nacional and calls for the protection of this patrimony of humanity

September 10, 2018

The disastrous fire at Brazil’s oldest cultural institution, the Museu Nacional, and the loss of collections of incalculable scholarly and scientific value, has shocked and saddened scholars and researchers far beyond Rio de Janeiro. The Executive Council of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), an organization dedicated to the promotion of scholarly research and exchange and the translation of knowledge related to Latin America, first wishes to offer its profound condolences to the Museu Nacional’s researchers, curators, students, and staff, and to the Brazilian people, who are the most directly affected by this tragedy. At the same time, LASA wishes to express its grave concern that both long-term underfunding and recent severe budget cuts left an institution of national significance and international standing vulnerable to devastation that basic structural reforms could have prevented. The absence of minimal fire safety and security measures and the lack of disaster preparedness reflect a shameful disregard for the Brazilian nation’s crucial cultural and scholarly resources.

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About the Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional Association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. With over 12,000 members, over 65 percent of whom reside outside the United States, LASA is the one association that brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors, across the globe. LASA's mission is to foster intellectual discussion, research, and teaching on Latin America, the Caribbean, and its people throughout the Americas, promote the interests of its diverse membership, and encourage civic engagement through network building and public debate.

If you wish to interview a LASA Executive Council member, you can contact the LASA communications office at (412) 648-7929 or lasa@pitt.edu.