Carlos Alberto Torres
Carlos Alberto Torres
Professor of Education, Social Science and Comparative Education
Carlos Alberto Torres is a professor of education in the Social Science and Comparative Education division and founding director of the Paulo Freire Institute in Sao Paulo and at UCLA.
Torres is considered one of the leading authorities on Latin American education and globalization and is the principal biographer of Paulo Freire.
His relationship with Freire influenced the creation of several Paulo Freire Institutes throughout the world, in Argentina, South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Taiwan. The Paulo Freire Institute at UCLA began as a "possible dream" Freire expressed when he visited the UCLA campus at the invitation of Torres to give a series of seminars in 1991. "Freire, Professor Moacir Gadotti, and I were having coffee on the Kerckhoff patio and our discussion led to an idea to create an organization to carry out Freire's work," said Torres. In 2002, with support from Dean Aimée Dorr and Education Department Chair Daniel Solórzano, Torres became the founding director of the Paulo Freire Institute at UCLA.
"The Paulo Freire Institute seeks to bring together scholars, activists, and teachers inspired by the pedagogy of Freire to foster the advancement and reinvention of Freirian educational theories in diverse settings and contexts," said Torres. "Our work includes developing publications and an online journal, teacher training, and a series of research and action projects that bring together those dedicated to continuing Freire's work."
On April 1, 2011, the Paulo Freire Institute hosted its inaugural professional development workshop, "Teachers as Cultural Workers in the Midst of the California Educational Crisis." The free workshop was designed for current, future, and displaced K-12 teachers in Los Angeles. Over 30 educators participated in the event, which included panel discussions on Freirian educational theory, social justice, and holistic education in the classroom.
The Institute also hosts an annual California Association of Freirian Educators (CAFÉ) Conference. The 10th CAFÉ Conference was held on April 2, 2011. Conference themes centered around promoting social justice through schools as communities, councils, and film making. Participants included Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent-Designate John Deasy as well as prominent scholars, professors, researchers, students, teachers, and community members.
On September 19, 2012, the UCLA Paulo Freire Institute in association with the London Paulo Freire Institute will host the 8th edition of the International Bi-Annual Paulo Freire Forum. Members from all the Paulo Freire Institutes, experts, and activists will congregate to discuss social justice education.
Torres earned a BA and teaching credential in Sociology from the Jesuit Universidad del Salvador in his hometown of Buenos Aires. In 1976, he left Buenos Aires due to the Argentinean military junta and relocated to Mexico to pursue graduate work. He received a fellowship at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) where he obtained an MA in Political Science. Subsequently, he obtained an MA in Education and a PhD in International Development Education from Stanford University before returning to Mexico as a professor at FLACSO in 1984. In 1986, he received a Fulbright grant to teach at World College West in Petaluma, California. Later that year, he moved to Edmonton, Canada where he conducted post-doctoral studies on educational foundations in Canada at the University of Alberta. Torres was appointed Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations and remained on the faculty at the University of Alberta until 1990, when he accepted a position as an assistant professor in what was then the Graduate School of Education at UCLA.
Torres has authored more than 60 books and more than 250 research articles, chapters of books, and entries in encyclopedias in several languages. From 1995 to 2005, Torres served as director of the UCLA Latin American Center. He has participated in, presented papers at, and been a keynote speaker regularly for the last twenty years at national and world congresses of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Asociación Latinoamericana de Sociología (ALAS), the Comparative International Educational Society (CIES), the International Council of Comparative Education Societies, the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the International Sociological Association (ISA), and the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). Additionally, Torres has been a visiting professor at universities in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has lectured throughout Latin America, Europe, and the United States, and at universities in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, Finland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Mozambique, Portugal, Republic of Georgia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, and Turkey.
Most recently, Torres has been appointed for five years as an adjunct professor at the Danish School of Education at Aarhus University in Denmark. Additionally, he received the 2011-2012 Erasmus Mundus Fellowship, a distinguished honor that will allow him to spend part of his sabbatical at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, and at the Institute of Education at the University of London.
His areas of theoretical research focus on the relationship between culture and power, the relationship among the economic, political, and cultural spheres, and the multiple and contradictory dynamics of power and social movements that make education such a site of conflict and struggle. His empirical research examines the impact of globalization in comparative perspective with a special focus on higher education. Torres' theoretical and empirical research has resulted in the development of a political sociology of education.
Through the Paulo Freire Institute, books, research, and the classroom, Torres influences, informs, and leads educational and social reform around the world.