Category: Georgetown Magazine

Title:Georgetown parents give $25 million to create Americas Institute, build on Georgetown’s ‘decades-long commitment to Latin America’

Author: Kate Colwell
Date Published: November 18, 2020
Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster (C’68) serves as the founder, chair, and CEO of InterEnergy Group. A longtime Georgetown volunteer leader, he credits his lifelong Jesuit education for shaping his perspectives. “I believe that if I have been able to succeed in the world, a lot had to do with Georgetown’s influence,” he says. He and his wife, Monica, are parents to four Georgetown graduates.
Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster (C’68) serves as the founder, chair, and CEO of InterEnergy Group. A longtime Georgetown volunteer leader, he credits his lifelong Jesuit education for shaping his perspectives. “I believe that if I have been able to succeed in the world, a lot had to do with Georgetown’s influence,” he says. He and his wife, Monica, are parents to four Georgetown graduates.

Longtime Georgetown supporters Rolando (C’68) and Monica Gonalez-Bunster (Parents’00, ’05, ’14, ’16) have committed $25 million to establish the Americas Institute, creating a cross-disciplinary platform for the university’s work on Latin America and the hemisphere. The institute will bring Georgetown’s existing Center for Latin American Studies and Latin American Leadership Program under a university-wide umbrella that connects with other programs, including the Law Center’s Center for the Advancement of the Rule of Law in the Americas and the Americas Initiative in Georgetown College.

Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster, who originally hails from Argentina, sees Georgetown as well-positioned to bridge North and South America through collaboration with Latin American Jesuit universities. Latin America has one of the highest concentrations of Jesuit universities in the world, with 30 higher education institutions “I see Georgetown as being able to serve as a focal point of knowledge and change for the better,” he says.

The institute will focus on research, teaching, and creating impact in the Americas across three strategic pillars: governance and the rule of law, economic growth and innovation, and social and cultural inclusion. The gift will fund a faculty chair, strategic research and outreach programs, and scholarships for students enrolled in the Latin American Leadership Program and Center for Latin American Studies programs.

Major goals of the institute include improving transnational cooperation with Brazil, Mexico, and other key partners on issues related to climate change, global health, migration, international trade, and technological innovation. “The world’s problems can’t be solved by just one discipline,” says Christopher S. Celenza, dean of Georgetown College and professor of history and classics. “We are committed as an institution to making the most of our global mission.”

The institute will consider challenges facing the hemisphere as a whole. “We want to create a platform for a two-way dialogue,” says School of Foreign Service Dean Joel Hellman. “It’s not about the U.S. teaching Latin America. We need to listen to multiple voices from Latin America and build the future together.”

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