CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Mexico at a Crossroads

In November of 2011, the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research and El Colegio de México held a conference at Tulane University to discuss key issues confronted by Mexico at the start of the twenty first century.

The event focused on Mexico’s future challenges, informed by an analysis of the country’s history and its present circumstances. It was inspired by the Colegio’s release of the series Los grandes problemas de México, a seventeen volume series edited to commemorate the Institution’s seventieth anniversary. Participants at the conference discussed social, economic, and political issues in seven panels over two days. Presenters and discussants on the panels represented scholars and policy experts from El Colegio, Tulane, and other premier U.S. academic and research institutions. The inaugural panel provided the historical backdrop to contextualize the complexities of present-day Mexico, analyzing the nation’s debated history, beginning with independence from Spain and then the Mexican Revolution. A second panel examined the international context by tracing the evolution of Mexican foreign policy, both with regard to other Latin American countries and the United States. It was followed by a special presentation by Mexican Undersecretary of State Julián Ventura, which also focused on U.S.-Mexican relations, particularly trade and border policy. Panels three and four addressed longstanding questions related to Mexican economic development, including the relative adequacy of economic growth, the sustainability of poverty and inequality reductions, the effects of policy choices on economic outcomes, and the persistence of structural limitations to growth in the Mexican economy. On the second day of the conference, the panels turned to the discussion of key contemporary issues in the domestic and international arenas. The first panel explored the challenges posed by demographic change and migration. Panelists analyzed the evolution of population and migration trends and the reciprocal impacts between them and social and economic forces. They also focused on government efforts to control migration and their intended and unintended effects. Participants on the second panel discussed the consolidation of Mexican democracy since its transition from single party rule at the turn of the century, pondering the challenges and dilemmas that persist in spite of considerable progress. The final panel examined security and drug trafficking, two issues that have played an outsized role in Mexican domestic affairs and U.S.-Mexican relations in recent years. The conference was capped by a provocative keynote presentation by Jaime Serra, Mexico’s former Minister of Trade and Treasury, which stimulated debate about the real obstacles to Mexico’s trade and economic growth.

This document was prepared by Ludovico Feoli with inputs provided by Hannagan Johnson and Michael Legendre. It provides a brief synthesis of the presentations and some of the interventions by discussants and participants. It also highlights some of the conclusions reached during this fruitful two-day conference.

Mexico at a Crossroads

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Latin American Graduate Oraganization (LAGO) 2018 Conference: Call for Proposals

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The Latin American Graduate Organization will be hosting its 2018 Latin American Studies Conference titled Thinking of the Future: Expanding the possible in the Americas (Pensando en el porvenir: Expandiendo lo posible en las Américas) February 23 – 25, 2018, at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This year, the conference topic is meant to challenge academics and activists to move beyond critiques and recommendations of how to address modern days issues, and instead articulate a vision of and for the future.

The LAGO Conference welcomes all disciplines and all approaches, as long as the project attempts to grapple with the idea of building something better. This is a Latin American Studies Conference, but creative writers, journalists, artists, performers, organizers, lawyers and healthcare providers as well as graduate students and other academics are welcome. Proposals are accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and English.

Deadlines: Abstracts of papers and projects are due November 25, 2017. Abstracts of papers or project descriptions must not exceed 300 words.

Please contact lago.tulane@gmail.com with questions. For more information, visit the official conference website.