Waskar Ari: Bolivian historian hired by University of Nebraska in 2005 will finally be able to take his job

Historians in the News

On Thursday, Waskar Ari went to the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia and picked up his visa. Everything went smoothly, ending a two-year struggle by Ari and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for him to join the university’s history department.

For most of the time, the Department of Homeland Security had a block on Ari obtaining a visa. Movement came only after the university took the unusual step of suing the federal agency this year and after numerous academic groups and faculty senates publicized his situation.

“I feel happy that the issue that took two years of my life ended,” said Ari on Saturday, via e-mail from Bolivia. “I am optimistic and ready to move to Lincoln.” He is planning to teach two classes this fall on Latin American history.

While Ari is now focused on the normal activities of planning his courses, his last two years have been anything but normal. Those involved with the efforts on Ari’s behalf say that his ordeal illustrates the continued difficulties faced by foreign scholars seeking to accept jobs in the United States — and the importance of challenging the Department of Homeland Security....
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