Maria Elena Moyano Fellowship Fund

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies is pleased to announce that we are nearly halfway to our first-stage goal of $25,000 to endow the María Elena Moyano Fellowship Fund. Moyano Fellowships will support students from Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America pursuing a graduate degree in any field of Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This will be the first fellowship at our Center that is geared towards helping newly arriving students from Spanish-speaking Latin America by offsetting tuition and living expenses while at our campus.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is among the top universities in the United States for research and education on Latin America. The presence of Latin Americanist students from Latin America provides an essential diversity of viewpoints and life experiences that enrich our classrooms and campus life, and create communities of scholars, colleagues and friends stretching across the Americas. Financial constraints make it difficult for many talented Latin American students to enroll in the programs of study that we offer. In 2017, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies launched the María Elena Moyano Fellowship Fund to strengthen Latin American Studies on our campus by increasing access for top students from Latin America who otherwise would not have the opportunity to come to the University of Illinois.

María Elena Moyano (1958-1992) was a fearless and exemplary Afro-Peruvian leader who fought for the rights of women, Afro-descendants, Indigenous people, and the poor in her native Peru. In 1986, at the age of 28, she became President of the Women’s Federation of Villa El Salvador, a large pueblo joven (shanty town) founded on the outskirts of Lima in 1973 and held up as an exemplory model of citizen participation in governance.  In 1990, Moyano became Villa El Salvador’s Deputy Mayor and she strove to protect her community against the violence of the Shining Path, a radical Maoist movement that sought to impose its own vision of cultural revolution.  For her defiance against the violence of the Shining Path, Moyano was murdered by the insurgent group in 1992 at the young age of 33.  Due to her commitment and sacrifice, María Elena Moyano represents all those who search social justice in their own communities.

The María Elena Moyano Fellowship Fund honors the example of María Elena Moyano by supporting the education of a new generation of leaders in Latin America. The Moyano Fellowship Fund will provide an annual stipend for students from Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America to defray some of their expenses while studying at the University of Illinois. Our first stage goal of $25,000 is the minimum level of endowed funding that will enable us to begin awarding fellowships. We are almost halfway there! With the support of the affiliates and friends of CLACS, we hope to reach that goal in the coming year.

Please consider a tax-deductible gift to the María Elena Moyano Fellowship Fund. Donations of any size—whether a one-time gift or a monthly payroll deduction—will bring us closer to our goal.  Making a donation online is simple: go directly to the University of Illinois Foundation ( and select your method of donation (online, mail, or by electronic transfer).  When donating online, please select “I would like my donation allocated to the following specific fund(s)” and enter “María Elena Moyano Fellowship Fund” in the space provided. Contributions by mail can be sent to the University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 West Green Street, MC-386, Urbana, IL 61801. Please include a short note or memo on your check indicating that the gift is for the “María Elena Moyano Fellowship Fund.”

We thank you in advance for your generosity and your support for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies!

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