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ABS Latin American Affairs Committee

The ABS Latin American Affairs Committee has been active ever since around 1995- 1996. The main purpose of the LAAC is to advocate for Latin American colleagues and for the study of animal behavior in Latin America – and to integrate the Latin American community more fully into the ABS. Over the years, the LAAC has engaged in a wide variety of activities that range from workshops to community gatherings to mentorship initiatives, all with the purpose of broadening the reach of the Animal Behavior Society to Latin American scientists.

Key Activities

  • Reduced ABS membership dues - automatic discount: Latin American academics and students have reduced fees (Students = $15; Regular = $20; only applicable for those living in Latin America). Note that all undergraduate students (i.e., pre-grado, licenciatura) receive a one-year free membership by registering through the ABS website membership page. 
  • Reduced ABS conference registration fees for Developing Nations - automatic discount: Latin American academics and students currently working or enrolled at a Latin American institution qualify for a Developing Nations registration discount. This reduction of registration fees does not include persons currently working or enrolled in institutions in the USA, Canada, or other developed countries, regardless of country of origin. (However Graduate Students please see Diversity Fund, below for another possible option). 
  • The ABS Diversity Fund - apply during the abstract submission process: This fund subsidizes conference registration fees for graduate students from ethnic or racial groups that are underrepresented in ABS. Because Latin Americans have been considered to be under-represented in the ABS, all Latin American graduate students attending the conference can apply for this subsidy. These students are eligible whether they reside and study in Latin America, or in the USA, or in Canada. Students apply at the time that they register for the conference.  If there is not enough money to cover all the students who apply, the ABS will assign the free registrations by lottery.
  • Latin American Travel Awards - apply during the abstract submission process: These awards provide costs of housing and other related expenses for Latin Americans attending meetings and presenting a paper. Applicants must reside in and be coming from Latin America, and priority is generally given to students. Four awards are given each year. These awards do not cover airplane flights because there is so much variation in costs from country to country. All application materials are submitted using the ABS online abstract submission system.
  •  Developing Nations Research Grants - check website below for this year's deadline: These grants provide seed research money applicants residing and conducting research in a developing country.  Although not limited to Latin Americans, Latin Americans are included.  Funding is competitive and the application process includes submitting a proposal and budget.  Both students and more senior academics can apply.  Although the amount of these grants is small, it can help with costs of gas, transportation, simple equipment, etc. 
  • Funds to travel to Latin America - Application deadline is June 1st: ABS has a special fund that pays airfare costs for an ABS member from the USA or Canada to participate (as a speaker, lecturer, instructor) in special courses or workshops organized by Latin Americans and held in Latin America. The objective is to facilitate participation of USA/Canadian members in activities in Latin America at no cost to Latin American organizers. As examples, ABS has paid for a number of members to attend and present seminars at a special animal behavior course held in Mexico, as well as at workshops in Brazil. Typically, the ABS has funds for two speakers every year. The process is that the Latin American organizers invite the speaker/lecturer, who then, in conjunction with the organizers, requests funding from ABS. Funding may be requested through the Latin American Affairs Committee (LAAC) Requests for funds are evaluated by LAAC, the treasurer and the first president elect.For more information go to:
  • Funds to increase participation of leading Latin American scientists at ABS meetings - contact the LAAC at [email protected] for more info: The LAAC administers a fund used to facilitate participation of leading Latin American scientists in ABS meetings (especially for invited plenary or symposium speakers). Usually there are enough funds to bring up to 2 speakers from Latin America per year. The process is that ABS meeting organizers or symposium organizers request funds directly from the LAAC. Requests for funds are evaluated by LAAC.
  • Funds to assist with costs of Latin American conferences on animal behavior -Application deadline is June 1st: Under certain circumstances, ABS may be able to help defray costs of conferences held in Latin America and organized by Latin Americans. These conferences are not ABS-related conferences, but rather organized by animal behavior groups in Latin America. Only one or two requests can be considered each year as level of funding is limited, and there is no guarantee that every request will receive funding. There may be restrictions on how the money can be spent and ABS may make special requests with regards to the conference (as one example, ABS may request a session to discuss the benefits of belonging to the society and to advertise its ABS programs with interested attendees). Each request will be evaluated and assessed by ABS prior to funding.  Requests, including a brief proposal and explanation, may be submitted to the ABS EC or the Latin American Affairs Committee. For more information go to:
  • Latin American Mentoring Program - Application deadline is September 30th each year: This ABS program accepts approximately 5 to 10 Latin American students per year (undergraduate or graduate students – and also post docs) for our mentoring program.  Mentors are senior ABS members, who are selected based on research interests and ability to meet student needs.  Students apply by filling out a questionnaire on the ABS website.  It is essential that the student’s research advisor also be an active participant in the mentoring program, as the mentoring groups are envisioned as having three components: the student, the research or thesis supervisor, and the mentor. For more information go to:
  • Other ABS programs and grants:  Note that all Latin American members also have access to all other benefits and resources that ABS provides to all of its members.  For example, in addition to the Developing Nations Grants, all student members are eligible to apply to the regular ABS graduate student research grants; all members can apply to the caregiver grants, etc. In other words, the Latin American programs simply add to the benefits provided by ABS to its members but, in most cases, it does not eliminate or reduce access to other benefits available to all ABS members. 
  • The ABS Latin American Affairs Committee has been active ever since around 1995- 1996.  The main purpose of the LAAC is to advocate for Latin American colleagues and for the study of animal behavior in Latin America – and to integrate the Latin American community more fully into the ABS.  The LAAC over the years has engaged in a number of different activities, for example:
  • Every year, at the conference, the LAAC holds a Latin American lunch for all Latin American attendees and allies. Typically, many non-Latin American researchers who work in Latin America and those interested in research in Latin America also attend. The lunch serves as a social event, as an excellent venue for networking, and also as a source of information about ABS initiatives and programs, for all attendees.
  •  The LAAC also regularly presents workshops at conferences.  Recent workshops have included “effective collaborations and how they work”, “writing for English language journals and audiences”, and "using social media to advance science in Latin America” (presented jointly with the ABS Diversity Committee).
  • Occasionally, the LAAC has organized Latin American parties, “pachangas”, with Latin American food, dancing, and prizes for best dancers All ABS members are invited to these parties.
  • The Chair, or Honorary co-Chair, regularly writes formal “letters of invitation” to Latin Americans wishing to attend the ABS conferences, in the hopes that this will help potential participants obtain funding from their universities or governments.  Many attendees have obtained funding using these letters.


To contact the Chair of the committee, please email: [email protected]