I came to the Latin American Centre in 1966 after having spent a year in Colombia with UNESCO and before that lecturing at the University of Keele. Initially my appointment was shared with the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London where I ran a seminar programme on Latin America. I became a University Lecturer and Fellow of St Antony’s in 1970 and I have been here since I retired in 2006.
My work over the years has concentrated on Chile with an interlude in Peru after the Chilean coup of 1973 when it was not wise for me to return. I ran a programme for academic refugees from Chile (and was denounced by their embassy here as a clandestine communist). We raised several million pounds, mostly from the then Labour government, and brought close on a thousand academics and students from Chile to study in the UK. My first research was on the Chilean labour movement and I have written on many aspects of Chilean democracy and on the left in Latin America. I have supervised over thirty doctoral students.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the LAC. Initially there was a great deal of excitement in developing a programme of research on an area that had largely been ignored in the UK. Many of our graduate students went on to hold important positions in academic life and in the public sector in Latin America and elsewhere. We became internationally recognised as a leading centre in the study of Latin America and attracted the visits of leading academics and politicians from many countries.