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Are U.S.-Mexican Presidents’ Agendas the Same?

WHO:  AU Experts available to analyze and comment on President Obama’s meeting with Mexico's President Pena-Nieto

WHEN: May 1-ongoing

WHERE: American University, in studio, or phone interviews

Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2013) – Mexico’s President Pena-Nieto recently passed his first 100 days in office as did President Obama for his second term. When the two meet on May 2 in Mexico, trade, immigration, and other U.S-Mexico bi-lateral issues will be discussed. Are both leaders focused on the same issues? How are their priorities different? Can Obama speak confidently about imminent immigration reform in the U.S.? Are Mexican authorities ready to deepen and broaden what has been successful cooperation with the U.S. under the Merida Initiative and take the next steps to strengthen security efforts to thwart the violence resulting from the flow of drugs from the south and guns from the U.S.? How can the U.S. leverage its trading relationship with its third largest trade partner? Can NAFTA be made more efficient to ease the inefficient bottleneck of congestion on the border? American University professors can provide analysis and answers to these questions and others.

Mexico Experts – Political, U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Relations, Immigration, NAFTA, Merida

Manuel Suarez-Mier, economist-in residence, possesses a distinguished career having worked in the Mexico’s financial system and Mexico’s foreign service. Suarez-Mier served as the chief of staff of the Governor of the Bank of Mexico and the top economic diplomat in Washington at the time of the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. More recently (2007-09), he represented the Attorney General of Mexico in the U.S. when the Mérida Initiative was negotiated and approved by the U.S. Congress. He has written extensively on issues related to Latin America’s political economy and security issues in North America. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

Louis Goodman, dean emeritus of the School of International Service, is an expert on U.S.-Mexican foreign relations, trade, U.S. business in Mexico, immigration, and the U.S. State Department’s e 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative which is aimed at increasing the number of U.S. students studying in Latin America. Goodman is also expert on democracy-building abroad; civil-military relations in Latin America; role of the military in the war on drugs; U.S.-Latin American relations and inter-American relations. His current research focuses on civil-military relations. He has published widely on that topic, on foreign investment in developing countries and on determinants of career success for blue-collar workers. He has researched and lived abroad in Mexico, Central America and South America.

Todd Eisenstadt, professor in the Department of Government, is the co-editor of Latin America's Multicultural Movements and the Struggle Between Communitarianism, Autonomy, and Human Rights (Oxford University Press forthcoming in 2013), Eisenstadt has also authored Politics, Identity, and Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Courting Democracy in Mexico: Party Strategies and Electoral Institutions (Cambridge University Press, 2004), and well over a dozen journal articles and book chapters.  Eisenstadt has been consulting from Mexico City on the drug war and judicial reform, and can also address wide range of other issues. A former director of multiple United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grants in Mexico, Eisenstadt has helped train hundreds of stakeholders in judicial reform implementation, electoral observation and other government processes there.

Eric Hershberg, director, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, focuses his research on the comparative politics of Latin America, and on the politics of development. Hershberg’s current research focuses on the state of democracy and emerging development strategies in South America, and the ways in which elites exercise power in Central America. He has served as a consultant to numerous development and educational agencies. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

U.S.-Mexico Cooperation to Contain Violence/Merida Initiative

Carolyn Gallaher is a political geographer who blends insights from political economy and cultural studies and has focused on the role of paramilitaries in irregular warfare. She is currently conducting research with her colleague Daniel Schneider with a grant from National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice focusing on Mexican law enforcement cooperation with the U.S. and how Merida Initiative funding has been used to strengthen the rule of law and to combat violence.  Gallaher has also written on Mexican politics “New World Warriors: 'Nation' and 'State' in the Politics of the Zapatista and U.S. Patriot Movements," in Social and Cultural Geography and "Imaging the Mexican Election," in Antipode. She has also led study abroad programs for students in both Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico.  

Daniel Schneider, assistant professor and director of the Center on Non-Traditional Threats & Corruption, teaches courses on corruption and development, transnational crime and terrorism, and international relations. He is currently working on a project with his colleague Carolyn Gallaher with a grant from National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice focusing on Mexican law enforcement cooperation with the U.S. and how Merida Initiative funding has been used to strengthen the rule of law and to combat violence. Prior to becoming a professor, Schneider served as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and also served as a consultant to the World Bank, the American Bar Association, and other NGOs on issues concerning corruption, the rule of law, governance, and civil society.

Immigration/Latino Immigrant Community

Carolyn Brown, professor in the School of Communication's Journalism Department, is an expert on Latino immigrant communities, the border, Latino representation in the media and the anti-immigrant militia movement. Professor’s Browns new documentary From the Fields: An American Journey was distributed to NBC affiliates across the country in the fall of 2012. This film is a biography of a Chicano journalist who worked in the fields of the Salinas Valley as a child and went on to a successful career as a reporter at NBC.

Finance & Trade in Mexico


Arturo Porzecanski, distinguished economist-in-residence, is an expert in international finance, emerging markets and Latin American economics. Porzecanski carries out and publishes research in international finance; provides consulting services to legal and financial firms, as well as to U.S. government agencies and multilateral institutions. Among the positions he held before entering academia was chief economist for emerging markets at ABN AMRO Bank; chief economist for the Americas at ING Bank; chief emerging-markets economist at Kidder, Peabody & Co.; chief economist at Republic National Bank of New York; senior economist at J.P. Morgan Bank. (Available for interviews in Spanish)

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.

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