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UC San Diego’s Mexico Moving Forward Celebrates Prospects of Prosperity

Symposium, street fair and expo highlight Mexico’s strides for economic growth

Mexico’s most visionary leaders, vibrant culture and extraordinary accomplishments will be on display for the “Mexico Moving Forward” symposium, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. May 3 at  the University, California San Diego campus. This year’s symposium, “Charting a Path to Prosperity,” is designed to promote economic development in Mexico.

The hosts of the symposium, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS), invites the community to engage with visionary business leaders, scholars and social entrepreneurs who will provide diverse perspectives on the current economic challenges in Mexico, what can and is being done to address them, and how these lessons can be applied globally. The panel will address issues pertaining to regulation, human capital, social protection, informal economy, and entrepreneurship.

“Mexico Moving Forward clearly underscores UC San Diego’s expertise in US-Mexico relations,” said Peter Cowhey, dean of UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. “The university’s proximity to the border and the internationally renowned faculty at IR/PS perfectly positions us to produce transformative research with societal impact on Asia and the Americas––Mexico is a focus area of the school because the economic, strategic and human ties between Mexico and the U.S. have never been closer than they are today.”

The speakers will include Joel Suárez Aldana, CEO of GRUMA, the most globalized food company in Mexico and the worldwide leader in corn flour and tortilla production; architect Victor Legorreta, partner of an internationally renowned firm whose recent work includes projects in South Korea, Qatar, Greece, Egypt, the U.S. and Mexico; and Francesco Piazzesi, the founder and CEO of a firm that provides sustainable community development and winner of the award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Latin America World Economic Forum.

Mexico Moving Forward

Guests of Mexico Moving Forward will be able to enjoy the “Mexico Street Fair” in the IR/PS Robinson Complex plaza, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We are inviting the community to hear from businessmen who have succeeded against all odds in sectors that you wouldn’t expect,” said Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, director of the Center of U.S. Mexican Studies. “We hope to promote a vision to create companies that sell commodities, that while being profitable, also have a positive societal impact.”

In addition to the symposium, guests will be able to enjoy the “Mexico Street Fair” in the IR/PS Robinson Complex plaza. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the public is invited to enjoy musical performances, learn about exciting destinations in Baja California and check out displays on academic work and social involvement by UC San Diego students. In addition, free food will be served from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

At ­ 5:30 p.m., guests are invited to join the symposium participants at the “Best of Baja” reception highlighting the culture and food of Baja California. This event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the government of Baja California and will take place at the International House’s Great Hall.

Mexico Moving Forward

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, director of the Center of U.S. Mexican Studies; Peter Cowhey, dean of UC School of International Relations and Pacific Studies; and UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Ann Fox at last year’s symposium.

The symposium on May 3 features the following speakers:

  • Margarita Barney Almeida is the founder and director of GRUPEDSAC, a non-governmental organization honored with the Intel Environment Award for Technology, for its work promoting education and the development of sustainable communities.
  • Carlos Danel is the founder and CEO of Banco Compartamos, Latin America's largest for-profit microfinance bank and the first institution of its kind to issue an Initial Public Offering (IPO) valued at nearly two billion dollars.
  • Gabriela Enrigue González is founder of Prospera, a company developing innovative ways to help female-led microenterprises grow to increase equality, diversity, and fairness.
  • Gordon Hanson is a professor of economics and director of the Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies at UC San Diego. A prolific scholar and author of "Why Isn’t Mexico Rich?," the article on which the theme of this year's symposium is based.
  • Gabriel Lagos is general director of Fundación GEO, a company committed to developing sustainable communities with features that promote social well-being and improved quality of life of individuals. 
  • http://www.casasgeo.com/
Mexico Moving Forward

The best of Mexico’s food and culture will be celebrated during this year’s Mexico Moving Forward.

  • Victor Legorreta is partner of Legorreta + Legorreta, an internationally renowned firm that creates architecture dedicated to building better cities. Recent work includes projects in South Korea, Qatar, Greece, Egypt, the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Santiago Levy Algazi is the vice-president for Sectors and Knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank and the main architect of Progresa-Oportunidades in Mexico, which has become the model of anti-poverty programs worldwide.
  • Francesco Piazzesi is the founder and CEO of ¡Échale! a tu casa, a firm that provides sustainable community development through social housing production. He recently won the award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the Latin America World Economic Forum.
  • Joel Suárez Aldana is CEO of GRUMA, the most globalized food company in Mexico and the worldwide leader in corn flour and tortilla production.
  • Mónica Tapia is founder of Alternativas y Capacidades, a capacity building organization that aims to improve the ties between civil society organizations and their private donors to maximize the impact of their philanthropic work.

The presenting sponsor of Mexico Moving Forward is Sempra Energy. For more information and to register, visit
http://usmex.ucsd.edu/events/mmf/