The ASU International Development Initiative works with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that face numerous challenges of regional and global significance.

Economic instability and a lack of educational opportunities for youth drive high rates of crime and gang violence, making life less secure for citizens. The ever-present threat of natural disasters, which are increasing with climate change, has revealed the need for greater resilience and disaster prevention and response. These challenges make countries harder to govern, destabilizing democracy and the rule of law throughout the region — and have become key drivers of irregular migration that disrupts regional stability and creates a tragic human toll.

The International Development Initiative takes a systems-level approach to addressing these challenges with a focus on locally driven solutions that reflect priorities set forth by USAID and the U.S. Department of State. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, ASU is working with local universities, civil society and community organizations and the private sector through innovative partnerships that strengthen local capacity and create enduring networks that foster positive development outcomes.

ASU’s approach leverages the university’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and Latin America and affirms fundamental responsibility for the well-being and thriving of citizens throughout the hemisphere. Our focus areas in Latin America and the Caribbean include:

  • Advancing evidence-based, community-led models for preventing crime and reducing gang violence.
  • Ending gender-based violence and empowering women to lead safe, productive lives.
  • Strengthening the ability of universities and higher education systems to drive economic growth, workforce development and opportunity creation for youth.
  • Collaborating with regional and multinational firms and the donor community to create opportunities for economic growth that harness the global restructuring of supply chains to create regional prosperity and enhance American security through near-shoring.

The ASU International Development Initiative draws from Latin America and sector-based experts from across the university who are committed to developing equitable partnerships with local communities that install new capacity to drive resilience, security and self-sufficiency.

Related projects

LibrES: for an El Salvador without gender-based violence

El Salvador

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant issue in El Salvador, affecting up to two-thirds of Salvadoran women and girls. The USAID-funded LibrES program, led by ASU in partnership with local organizations, universities and United Nations agencies, leverages individual and systemic approaches to contribute safer and more productive lives for women and vulnerable populations in El Salvador, thus decreasing the likelihood of irregular migration to the United States.

Water Resources Decision Support System

In Pernambuco, Brazil, ASU researchers worked with local and regional partners to promote integrated water resource management models to address drought vulnerability and respond to climate change.

WEAmericas Accelerator

Implemented by ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management, the WEAmericas Accelerator was an intensive, interactive business training program that empowered women entrepreneurs and advanced women-owned businesses in Central America. 

Proponte Más Secondary Violence Prevention Activity


The Proponte Más Secondary Violence Prevention Activity was a three-year, USAID-funded program to decrease violence in Honduras by identifying youth at the highest risk of violence and gang involvement by providing therapeutic and family-based interventions to reduce crime, violence and irregular migration. 

Making the system work (Voz de las víctimas)


Funded by U.S. Department of State International Law Enforcement and Narcotics Bureau (INL)

Discover more projects

Delve deeper into other International Development Initiative projects designed to create a safe, prosperous, equitable future for citizens around the world.