Smithsonian Journeys Experts

David Scott Palmer

photo of David Scott Palmer

David Scott Palmer is an expert in comparative politics, international relations, and Latin American studies. At Boston University he was Founding Director of the Latin American Studies Program and Co-Director of the Peru Summer program, which he helped to found. Currently as Professor Emeritus of International Relations and Political Science, he continues to teach courses on Latin American history and Conflict and Confict Resolution in Latin America. Before joining the Boston University faculty, he was at the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute as Chair of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Associate Dean of Area Studies.

Over the years, he has traveled widely throughout Central and South America. His experience in the region includes public diplomacy lecture tours in each of the countries and assessments of their diplomatic services for the U.N. Development Program (UNDP). He has also taught seminars at the Latin American Social Science Faculty (FLACSO) of Costa Rica and served on the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Observer Mission at the Central American Presidents negotiations in San José (which produced the Arias Peace Plan, for which Costa Rican President Oscar Arias was awarded the Nobel Prize). He continues to lecture regularly at U.S. State Department and U.S. military training facilities. 

His most recent book, co-authored with David Mares, deals with the almost 200-year struggle between Ecuador and Peru to resolve the Western Hemisphere's longest running border dispute (Power, Institutions, and Leadership in War and Peace: Lessons from Peru and Ecuador, 1995-1998; Texas, 2013 paperback edition).

What Our Travelers Say

We were blessed to have Scott for our study leader. His expertise was unmatched and it was fascinating listening to his first-hand experiences. What a wealth of knowledge!

- Sue R., Legendary Peru

[Scott] was a fantastic companion with deep knowledge and understanding of Latin America (and I'm Brazilian), in general, and of the Peruvian History, Culture and People, in particular. His lectures were fascinating and, at the same time, pleasant. He was a wonderful companion and made the work of the tour leader and local leaders easier. This is our second tour with the Smithsonian, but we have traveled all around the world. He was one of the reasons we loved the tour. He was very accessible and answered all our questions not only during the lectures but during the whole trip.

- Nely, P-C, Legendary Peru

Upcoming Tours

A Cruise of Panama and Costa Rica

9 days | Starting at: $4,995
Feb 9, 2018 - Feb 17, 2018

Featuring a Transit of the Panama Canal
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Legendary Peru

11 days | Starting at: $4,749
Apr 23, 2018 - May 3, 2018

World of the Inca and Machu Picchu
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Machu Picchu and the Galápagos

15-16 days | Starting at: $8,393
Jun 16, 2018 - Jul 1, 2018
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