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UC San Diego’s Mexico Moving Forward Symposium Examines 20 Years of NAFTA

UC President Janet Napolitano and Mexico’s top business leaders, policy makers, artists and scholars to speak

UC San Diego professor of economics, Gordon Hanson (left), will moderate “Session IV – Mexico Looking Forward: Pacific Partnerships” which will focus on the future for trade in Mexico looking at Asia as an area for significant new growth and change. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Mexico’s most visionary leaders, vibrant culture, past accomplishments and future goals will be the focus of the University of California, San Diego’s Mexico Moving Forward symposium, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 6. The symposium, hosted by the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, will focus on Mexico’s progress and future goals 20 years after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It also will feature University of California President Janet Napolitano, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla and the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies Dean Peter Cowhey, as well as experts from both sides of the border.

This year’s symposium on “20 Years of NAFTA and Beyond,” to be held at the Sanford Consortium Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

“I’m excited to be a part of UC San Diego’s Mexico Moving Forward symposium,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “Our mutual interests in productive economic, cultural and educational interchanges between Mexico and California make this gathering particularly timely.”

The event will bring policy makers and leaders of top think tanks together to discuss Mexico’s current reform agenda and opportunities to increase commercial linkages with Asia The conference will also include presentations by contemporary artists, writers and film makers, as well as performances and exhibitions.

“This symposium underscores UC San Diego’s commitment to our relationship with Mexico and our binational border region,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our unique geographical position on the U.S.-Mexico border allows us to continue and increase engagement, collaboration and exchange with Mexican scholars and students.”

Many distinguished business leaders are expected to attend the symposium to discuss Mexico’s continuing evolution. Trade and economic relations between Mexico and the U.S. are expected to continue to grow. After NAFTA, U.S. trade with Mexico has tripled, making Mexico the United States’ third largest exporter and making the United States Mexico’s No. 1 trading partner.

The speakers for Mexico Moving Forward include Luis Tellez, CEO, Mexican Stock Exchange; Arturo Sarukhan, chairman, Global Solutions and former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S.; Carlos Elizondo, professor, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE); Juan Gallardo, chairman, Grupo Embotelladoras Unidas; Exequiel Ezcurra, director, UC’s Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS); Ignacio Duran, cinematographer; and more.

“Mexico Moving Forward is one of our signature events that highlights the depth of the school’s engagement with policy-relevant research on Mexico,” said School of International Relations and Pacific Studies dean Peter Cowhey. “Another area for significant new growth and change for Mexico is Asia­­ and how the economic ties between Mexico and Asia can be strengthened will be a major topic of discussion at the event.”

Melissa Floca, associate director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, said Mexico Moving Forward highlights the transformational power of the extraordinary achievements of Mexicans committed to the future of Mexico.

“We are thrilled to welcome a distinguished group of speakers for wide-ranging discussion on Mexico’s future,” Floca said.

The March 6 symposium features the following sessions

  • Session I – Mexico Looking Back: NAFTA at 20, 9 a.m.: This session will look at all the changes in the last two decades in Mexico that have been brought about because of NAFTA. Moderated by UC San Diego political science professor Peter Smith, this first session features the policy makers who initially put NAFTA to work. The trade agreement officially began on Jan. 1, 1994.
  • Session II – Faces of Mexico: Arts and Culture, 11 a.m.: Panelists will discuss how the opening of the Mexican economy under NAFTA has affected the ability of writers, filmmakers, actors, musicians and artists to reach international audiences. Speakers will also provide observations on how changes in Mexico in the last two decades have influenced their work. UC MEXUS director Exequiel Ezcurra will serve as moderator.
  • Session III – Mexico on the Move: Reforms for the 21st Century, 2 p.m.: Moderated by David Shirk, director of University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico Project and former fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, the third session brings together policy makers at the helm of several important contemporary Mexico think tanks. The panel will discuss how President Enrique Pena Nieto’s reform agenda is setting Mexico up to take advantage of many of the country’s opportunities. In addition, Clare Seelke of the Congressional Research Service, will discuss another reform agenda separate from Nieto’s: the current state of U.S. immigration reform.
  • Session IV – Mexico Looking Forward: Pacific Partnerships, 4 p.m. Closing out the daylong symposium is the fourth session which will look beyond North America to nations in Asia, across the Pacific. This session will examine how the economic ties between Mexico and Asia can be strengthened. Panelists include Luis Tellez, CEO of the Mexican Stock Exchange and Time Magazine’s “Leader for the New Millennium,” and Susan Shirk, Ho Miu Lam Professor of China and Pacific Relations and 21st Century China Program Chair at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.

In addition to the symposium, guests will be able to enjoy Mexican cuisine from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. and there will be an art exhibition, “Pecados y Milagros” by Demian Flores.

The Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, based at UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, is a policy research institute. Since 1979, it has been a go-to source for extensive academic research on Mexico and U.S.-Mexico relations, informing the creation, implementation and evaluation of public policy.

For more information on the Mexico Moving Forward symposium and to register, go to:

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