The Board of Directors, on behalf of the entire IAS leadership, is proud to share with you the Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Engaging Africans and their Descendants in Andean Studies, available on the IAS website.
The Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) was convened to develop these recommendations to help the IAS improve its organization and practices, and to provide critical feedback and suggestions that impact not only the IAS, but also Andean studies in general in our work as teachers, mentors, and field and lab work leaders.
The idea for the Blue Ribbon Commission arose at the start of the pandemic, in a time of Black Lives Matters protests shutting down major urban centers, centuries-old monuments of racists coming down, confederate-styled state flags being decommissioned, and often deadly arrests of Black people making national headlines. We were, and are, in a “pachacuti” (upheaval and realignment of the world) in the US. It is a time to demand and enact widespread change.
The leadership of the Institute of Andean Studies supports making these necessary changes, which requires that we take the time to reconsider the legacy of discrimination in our fields and in our Institute.
We expect to spend the next few years putting the Blue Ribbon Commission’s advice into practice and would like to share their ideas and suggestions with each of our members. This Final Report advises us of “Best Practices” that can guide the Institute and our members in addressing systemic racism in our fields, in our Institute, and in our research and mentorship. We are deeply grateful to the outstanding scholars who served on this Commission for providing us with these important recommendations.
We encourage all members to carefully read through this report to appreciate the actionable advice it contains concerning our journal Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of the Institute of Andean Studies, our annual meeting, our membership, outreach, and related topics such as scholarship, fieldwork, teaching, and community engagement. We note two key issues that we particularly hope to continue working on in the coming years. First is the need to expand and diversify our membership, and to seek much more involvement from our members. The 2022 Annual Meeting will feature several fora that will focus on issues raised in the Blue Ribbon Commission report, such as the State of the Field, the Journal, and Outreach/Community Engagement. We encourage members to participate in these discussions, and we hope that this will lead to forming standing committees which will play vital roles in determining the future of the IAS. Second, we hope that the contributions of the Blue Ribbon Commission will serve as a model for regular introspection and action that will become an ongoing aspect of the IAS. Specifically, we plan to begin a new topical initiative every five years to tackle one of the many issues that our Institute and the field of Andean Studies must address. Thus, in 2025, we will begin a new 5-year initiative on Indigenous Peoples in the Andes and in Andean Studies.
We look forward to discussing the BRC’s report and its implications for the IAS during the virtual Annual Meeting this January 13 to 16, 2022. For online security reasons, all participants in the virtual Annual Meeting must register well in advance at https://instituteofandeanstudies.org/register. There is no fee, but registration closes on January 7 (extended from December 15).