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CLALS | North America Research Initiative

Robert A. Pastor North America Research Initiative

Inaugural Workshop

A group of people gather in a library in front of a public panel

In October 2016, CLALS and the School of International Service convened a group of thirteen emerging scholars from Mexico, the United States, and Canada for the inaugural workshop of the Robert A. Pastor North American Research Initiative. Over the course of two days, scholars engaged in several roundtable discussions thematically focused on three areas of the new agenda for North America: economic and financial integration; migration and the challenges of social integration; and regional policy coordination. These discussions were informed by short memos written by each scholar, providing a starting point for a digital forum of shared knowledge on the various topics related to the North American idea, extending the exchange of information beyond the initial workshop. 

Scholars also had the opportunity to participate in an opening dialogue with the former US Ambassador to Mexico, Earl Anthony Wayne, regarding the dynamics propelling (or dissuading) North American (dis)integration. Drawing on his diplomatic and policy experience, Ambassador Wayne encouraged scholars to employ a multi-disciplinary approach as a way to explore both theoretical and policy-based issues surrounding the new agenda for North American integration. The workshop was further invigorated by a public panel hosted at the Mexican Cultural Institute, titled “Beyond the ‘Three Amigos’: Where’s the North American Agenda Now?” Moderated by Tom Long, four participating scholars engaged in a lively discourse, touching on themes such as linking value chains, pathways to integrating energy policies, the local impacts of migration, and articulating a North American agenda in an era of anti-globalization rhetoric. The panelists also answered audience questions from members of the AU and larger DC policymaker community. 

The Pastor Initiative will continue to support the production, exchange, and dissemination of innovative social science research devoted to the North American region and its potential. Biannual meetings and additional thematic workshops are currently being developed, placing the Pastor Initiative and American University at the forefront of a long-term research agenda that will inform future policy on North America. 

Participating Scholars 

Tom Long, Lecturer at the University of Reading (United Kingdom)

Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center

Claudia Maya, Professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

Leopoldo Gómez-Ramírez, Professor at the Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia) 

Malcolm Fairbrother, Associate Professor at the University of Bristol (United Kingdom) 

Lauren Duquette-Rury, Assistant Professor at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) 

Michael Danielson, Visiting Faculty at the University of California-Washington Program (UCDC) 

Alexandra Délano, Assistant Professor at The New School

Clarisa Pérez-Armendáriz, Assistant Professor at Santa Clara University 

Ernesto Castañeda, Assistant Professor at American University 

Marcela López-Vallejo, Associate Professor at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) 

Gema Santamaría, Professor at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Daniela Stevens, Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Public Affairs at American University

About the Initiative

American University’s School of International Service (SIS) and CLALS have launched an initiative to promote and disseminate cutting edge social science research focused on processes of North American integration. Starting in fall 2016, AU will convene a select group of early career scholars who will explore North American progress toward the ideal of integration championed by the late SIS Professor Robert A. Pastor. By supporting the production, exchange, and dissemination of innovative social science devoted to the region and its potential, the Robert A. Pastor North America Research Initiative (NARI) places AU at the forefront of a long term research agenda that will inform future policy on North America.

The University will recruit 6–9 early career scholars from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere who have conducted research on North America either in their doctoral dissertations or in subsequent work. Their research will include a wide range of topics including those related to political economy, development, inequality and trade; migration; the rule of law; and the role of regional cooperation in ameliorating inequality and insecurity, advancing democracy, and reducing disparities among and within the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Scholars will meet twice a year to share their research, develop new ideas, and brainstorm about promising new directions for scholarship, advocacy, and policy. Each year, NARI will sponsor a high-profile public event to raise awareness of challenges and opportunities for North American integration. We hope through this effort to build a community of scholars dedicated to generating scholarship and defining the research agenda on North American integration for coming decades.

About Robert A. Pastor

Robert A. Pastor

Robert A. Pastor was Professor of International Relations and Founding Director of the Center for North American Studies and the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University. Combining a career in government, non-governmental organizations, and academe, Dr. Pastor was Director of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs on the National Security Council (1977-81), Consultant to the State and Defense Departments, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be Ambassador to Panama. He was Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on North America, and was a Member and Executive Director of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by Jimmy Carter and James A. Baker, III.

Dr. Pastor was a Fulbright Professor at El Colegio de Mexico, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard University, where he received his PhD in Government and an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. From 1986 to 2002, Dr. Pastor was Professor at Emory University and Fellow and Founding Director of Programs on Latin America, Democracy, and China Elections at The Carter Center, as well as serving as a Senior Advisor to the Center on conflict resolution in the Middle East. As Interim Co-Director he helped establish The Elders, a group of twelve statespersons, led by Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, and Jimmy Carter, from 2007-08.

From 2002-07, Dr. Pastor was Vice President of International Affairs at American University where he transformed and expanded the study abroad program, helped establish the American University of Nigeria, and initiated new programs on language immersion and “Abroad at AU.” He served as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Nigeria and of the American University of Afghanistan.

Dr. Pastor was the author or editor of seventeen books, including The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future and A Century’s Journey: How the Great Powers Shape the World. His books won four national awards and, along with his written articles, have been cited extensively in major policy venues throughout the world.

Co-sponsored by the School of International Service and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies