Directive Board of the Nordic Institute of Latin American Studies at Stockholm University
Directive Board of the Nordic Institute of Latin American Studies at Stockholm University


During the early 1970s, Professor Juhani Paasivirta, from the History Department of the Åbo/Turku University, proposed to create a Nordic Meeting on Latin America that took place in Finland, on September 1970. Soon thereafter, there was a meeting in Stockholm to continue the dialogue. The issue of a Nordic Institute of Latin American studies (NILAS) was among the themes, but there was not enough support for this. Instead, as a way towards a NILAS, it was decided to create a provisory Nordic Committee on Latin American Research (NOSALF). The Danish ethnographer Niels Fock served as chair and there were two members from each country.

The first NOSALF meeting was as a conference, in Copenhagen, 1973. It was here decided to transform the Committee into an Association that at this starting moment grouped about 100 members. The Institute of Latin American Studies (LAIS), in Stockholm, would function as the secretariat of NOSALF. For this reason, during the 1970s, the institute expanded its staff, including one assistant for Nordic cooperation affairs. NOSALF became also formally connected to the Nordic Council, and depended financially on a yearly subsidy from the budget of the Nordic Council of Cultural Ministries, and it was to this source of financing that the assistant position in Stockholm was linked. From the Copenhagen conference, NOSALF started to promote Nordic research conferences every three years, which rotated between the four Nordic countries (Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden). Besides the Nordic and wider European research community, these conferences attracted high-level keynote speakers and scholars from Latin America.

Mission and Journal 

The aim of NOSALF was also related to exchange and dissemination of information about research and documentation on Latin America in the Nordic countries. To that end, it was decided that the bulletin ‘Ibero-Americana’, published by LAIS since 1961, would be edited by NOSALF as a bi-annual Nordic list of acquisitions. From 1977 the news bulletin was transformed into a scientific journal with the title Ibero-Americana. Nordic Journal of Latin American Studies, managed by LAIS. During the 1970s LAIS shifted its formal position, from the authority of the Swedish Ministry of Education to a formal incorporation to Stockholm University, in 1977. In 1990 the Nordic Council took the decision to discontinue its financial support to NOSALF but the journal continued to exist edited by LAIS. In 1998 it acquired its final name, Iberoamericana. Nordic Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.  


There were two Nordic conferences in Norway (Bergen) and Finland (Helsinki) during the 1990s, but it was in 2002 that there was a formal re-launch of the Nordic scholar conferences. This resulted in the creation of the Nordic Latin American Research Network (NOLAN), with a first conference at the Institute of Latin American Studies at Stockholm University. It was here decided that the conferences were going to be held bi-annually. After 2002, the NOLAN conferences have been held continuously, as can be seen below. At the last NOLAN-conference at the Gothenburg University, 2017, Prof. Jussi Pakkasvirta, from Helsinki University, brought back the proposal of constituting a NILAS. The proposal had a general acceptance and the door was re-opened for a stronger Nordic commitment, that took form in the transformation of LAIS into a NILAS. With members from Oslo University (Benedicte Bull, president of the board), Copenhagen University (George Wink), University of Helsinki (Jussi Pakkasvirta), Gothenburg University (Maria Clara Medina and Stockholm University (Andrés Rivarola and Ken Benson), the NILAS board is now the coordinating entity for the NOLAN-conferences.

List of NOLAN-conferences »