“Esta ciudad que yo creí mi pasado es mi porvenir, mi presente; los años que he vivido en Europa son ilusorios, yo estaba siempre (y estaré) en Buenos Aires.” - Jorge Luis Borges, Fervor de Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is a city that hums with energy; it is a hub for politics and policy debates and a gravitational center of the Global South for cultural production. It is an autonomous capital, and it is the seat of national government, with Argentina’s 23 provinces represented in the Congress. The country’s politics happen in Buenos Aires and much of the region’s business happens here. And culturally, every day offers over 400 different plays at 288 theaters, 129 museums, and the world’s highest concentration of bookstores per capita per square mile.
In Buenos Aires, the dense yet also sleek urban environment speaks as vividly to Old World European aesthetics as to the cross-cultural confluence that defines the Americas today. In the countryside, Argentina’s over 1 million square miles of land opens onto tropical jungles in the Northeast, arctic glaciers in the South, and Patagonia’s mystifying desert expanses and mountains rippling through the West. In this rich diversity, the enduring presence of indigenous cultures has sustained a dialogued encounter with postcolonial legacies and the vibrant influx of a much later and diversified array of immigrations from all over the world.
Grassroots community action in Argentina is as prevalent a force for social change as are the internationally noted achievements in Human Rights redress. The scars left by the former dictatorship also inform today’s civic will to champion democracy.
In academics, Argentine university professors, in addition to doing research, may well also serve in a community or government role or have influence in industrial or cultural sectors. The 30+ professors who teach at NYU Buenos Aires reflect this engagement with both the public sphere as well as the academy’s specialized context.
NYU Buenos Aires is a multidisciplinary program, ranging from Cultural Studies to Economics, from Epidemiology to Film and Photography. Yet, across these disciplines, a core concern with social justice drives the exploration and analysis. Social justice in free speech, in the recognition of diverse social identities, in the extraordinary expansiveness of Argentina’s free healthcare and free education (including university), and in its restitution and protection of Human Rights.
NYU’s only program in Latin America is anchored here in Buenos Aires, Argentina: an informative, inspiring context for any future global citizen to have studied in.
Dr. Anna-Kazumi Stahl
Director of NYU Buenos Aires