Prizes and Grants

seeds, latin america, CERLAC

Seeds, Latin America | Photo courtesy of Kyla Sankey



The Michael Baptista Essay Prize

The Michael Baptista Essay Prize

The Michael Baptista Essay Prizes recognize annually, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, an outstanding scholarly essay of relevance to the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at York University from a humanities, social science, business or legal perspective.

The friends of Michael Baptista and the Royal Bank of Canada, where he was a Senior Vice-President until his untimely death, fund the prizes to celebrate his spirit & success, the importance to him of his Guyanese roots, his outstanding achievements at the Royal Bank and his drive & love of learning.

If you are a York faculty member who graded an exceptionally accomplished piece of student work (at the graduate or the undergraduate level) of relevance to these regions this past academic year, we encourage you to nominate the essay in question.

The prize includes a monetary component of $500 per awardee.  Winning essays will be featured on CERLAC’s website. The essays may be from a full or half course during the  academic year, or a summer course.  Major Research Papers at the graduate level may also be nominated.  Submissions should be no longer than 35 double-spaced pages (exclusive of bibliography).  Deadline extensions are available in instances where significant re-writing is required to shorten the work to within that limit.

If you would like  to nominate a student,  please follow the instructions on the page.

Prize Winning Essays

TLN Telelatino Awards

TLN Telelatino Awards

Folkloric dance, Colombia | Photo courtesy of Kyla Sankey

Folkloric dance, Colombia | Photo courtesy of Kyla Sankey

The TLN Telelatino Award is awarded annually to York undergraduate and graduate students to recognize exceptional work in any area of study on the experiences of the Latin America diaspora.

The Prize was established in 2009 by a donation made to York University by Telelatino (TLN), a Canadian television channel that broadcasts programs of interest to the Hispanic and Italian communities. Normally up to two prizes are awarded, of $1000 each.

Winning submissions will provide critical reflection on or representations of the experiences of  the Latin American diaspora in Canada, highlighting their past, present and future contributions to Canadian society and/or addressing the challenges they have successfully overcome as members of a minority group in the Canadian context. Submissions may be presented in any one of a variety of media, including essays; works of visual art, film, music, or video; documented performances; or pieces of creative writing. The work submitted should normally have been created to fulfill course or degree requirements at York University during the academic year. It may be in English, Spanish, or both. Essays will normally be from 2,000 to 2,500 words; works in other media should be comparably substantial. Submissions will be judged by the following criteria, as appropriate to their medium: critical insight, originality, relevance, creativity, clarity, coherence, and potential impact.

The essay’s author must be an undergraduate or graduate student registered in an academic degree program at York University (any Faculty or College, including Glendon). Eligible students must be Canadian citizens, Ontario residents and demonstrate financial need. 

For this year’s competition, submit an electronic copy of your essay, work of visual art, film, music, video, etc. to A panel of York University professors associated with CERLAC and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) Program at York will act as judges for the contest. The winner is usually announced by the end of the year. Prize winning essays will be announced by TLN and by CERLAC and featured on their websites. The winners will also be announced on TLN (which may also interview and profile each winner).

Application form available here.

For more information, contact CERLAC at (416) 736-5237 or

TLN-Telelatino Awards Ceremony, click here to watch the videos.

Prize Winning Essays



The Paavo and Aino Lukkari Human Rights Fellowship and Award

This generous endowment, the Paavo and Aino Lukkari Human Rights Fund, was established in 2009 at York University through a private donation and University matching funds.

The endowment will fund two annual student grant programs: the Paavo and Aino Lukkari Fellowship (one per year of $10,000), and the Paavo and Aino Lukkari Fieldwork Research Award (up to five per year, worth anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000). These will be awarded to graduate students engaged in research on human rights and social justice issues related to the situation of indigenous people and/or people of African descent in Latin America and the Carribbean. The awards will be administered by CERLAC.

CERLAC Fellow Professor Emerita Liisa North established the fund in memory of her parents. Read more about Prof. North's motivation for creating the Fund in the article below, from the "YorkU Legacies Newsletter" (Fall/Winter 2009).

Adapting to Circumstances and Giving Back - Liisa North

The Paavo and Aino Lukkari Human Rights Fellowship

The Paavo and Aino Lukkari Fieldwork Research Award

The Grace and David Taylor Graduate Scholarship in Caribbean Studies

The Grace and David Taylor Graduate Scholarship in Caribbean Studies

Roi Vaval from Carnaval in Martinique, 2013

Roi Vaval Carnaval in Martinique, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Alyssa James

The Grace and David Taylor Graduate Scholarship in Caribbean Studies is intended to support PhD students at York University whose research is related to Caribbean studies so that they might focus on research during the fieldwork phase of their studies or while writing their thesis. Recipients will be selected based on academic excellence, significance of proposed research, likelihood of completion, and financial need. Preference will be given to a PhD student whose dissertation proposal has been accepted.

The award consists of $5,000.

Application Process:

Interested applicants will be required to provide a nomination package to the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC).

Nomination packages will include the following:

  • a statement (no longer than three pages) outlining their areas of research and the importance of this research as it relates to Caribbean studies,
  • a sample of their research,
  • academic transcripts (can be submitted up to 2 weeks after the application deadline) and
  • two letters of reference.

Applicants must also complete the Student Financial Profile (SFP). You can find that form here.

Preference will be given to a PhD candidate with an approved dissertation proposal on file with the Office of the Dean, Graduate Studies, for distribution in the Summer term for the year of consideration. By virtue of applying for this scholarship, students agree to share their statements with the donor who has established the scholarship.

The deadline for this year's applications is Friday, March 19, 2021.

Applicants can contact, for further information on this scholarship.

Details and application forms available here.

Referee recommendation form available here.