It is no overstatement to say that LASA is the main interdisciplinary ecosystem in the Americas. From Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, our association provides a human and intellectual environment which promotes a genuine exchange among scholars from different academic backgrounds, geographical regions, and political trenches. This assertion implies a responsibility: when higher education faces critical challenges and the main purpose of the university system seems to be financial sustainability, LASA could become—above all—a ‘safety zone’: an academic space that welcomes and encourages those discourses that do not fit properly in the corporative mechanics of the ‘teaching machine’—as a graduate student stated in regard to the Southern Cone Studies Section regional meeting in Santiago, Chile, in 2015: ‘at the end of the day, LASA conferences is the place where the text we read isolated in our precarious libraries meets the body that lies behind it.’
In this critical context, I assume this nomination as both a privilege and a responsibility. On the one hand, as a scholar based in a university from the Southern Cone, I express my compromise and willingness to become a nexus; that is to say, I would like to contribute to the development of policies that strengthen the exchange between the very different academic cultures, disciplinary languages, and professional demands that converge in our ‘ecosystem.’ On the other hand, as an active participant in the management of LASA Sections, I also accept this challenge as an opportunity to promote the work of our 39 sections—powerful academic communities where it is possible to forge bonds of reciprocal learning, mentoring and solidarity.