The idea of creating a School jointly with Latin America, modelled on the European Schools of High-Energy Physics, was based on CERN's long-standing commitment to promoting and extending the availability of educational and cultural benefits through co-operation with both developed, and developing countries.
The first informal discussions to launch such a School took place in the mid nineties, but serious preparations did not start until the Spring of 2000. It was clear from the beginning that the initiative needed a broad base. Fermilab was consulted and was very supportive to the initiative. Also CLAF (Centro Latino-Americano de Física) supported the idea and was instrumental in helping to set up the structure for the School, as well as in obtaining support from a broad community of physicists inside Latin America. Due to the enthusiastic support from the Latin-American community in general, and from Brazilian physicists in particular, it was possible to hold the first School already in May, 2001 in Itacuruçá, Brazil. Subsequent Schools were held in Mexico (2003), Argentina (2005), Chile (2007), Colombia (2009), Brazil (2011), Peru (2013), Ecuador (2015), Mexico (2017), Argentina (2019) and Chile (2023).
The School, which is held every two years, is intended mainly for young physicists from Latin America preparing a PhD in high-energy physics, or engaged in post-doctoral work, but it is open to participants from other regions. The target audience is young physicists working on experimental high-energy physics, and phenomenologists working on related topics.
Every effort is made to ensure that the School is developed in the light of the particular requirements of the Latin-American physics students, while promoting science on an equal basis for Latin-American students and those attending from elsewhere.
Lecturers at the forefront of their fields from Latin America as well as from the rest of the world are invited according to the requirements of the scientific programme. In addition, discussion groups of 15–20 students are organized with individual Discussion Leaders mainly drawn from the Latin-American physics community.
It is believed that these Schools will continue to be an important element in the formation of the future community of high-energy physicists in Latin America and its integration into the world-wide family of particle physics.