Guest lecturing writers and scholars from Mexico City’s National University said Tuesday as Mexico becomes a more developed country, its relationship with the United States has more unique issues that need to be addressed.
Because Mexico is continually developing, the National University Center for Research on North America was designed to help scholars focusing on U.S. studies and later grew to include Canada.
Current research focuses on economics and politics, and the university encourages students to study in the U.S.
The university aims to understand relations between the U.S. and Mexico, prompting scholars to visit Michigan State University and lead a series of lectures, and later to publish their findings in a novel, said Director of Research Silvia Nunez-Garcia.
“It is important for us to develop and focus the study of the U.S. in the heartlands,” Nunez-Garcia said. “In Mexico, we have been able to do quite a lot of research on the border, but still the heartlands are pretty much misunderstood.”
Nunez-Garcia also said the claim Mexico is a Latin American country rather than a North American country is unfounded because they are experiencing similar issues as the U.S. and Canada.
She added the economic issues between the U.S, and Mexico, especially in terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, have made the university’s research increasingly important in solving the U.S.-Mexico problems.
“We see ourselves as truly North Americans,” Nunez-Garcia said. “Because we have recognized that the interaction between the three countries has been increasing dramatically.”
However, Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Michigan State Manuel Chavez, University of Wisconsin alum, said the six problems addressed in the essays of the novel do not cover other important topics affecting U.S.-Mexico relations.
Chavez added 12 other issues not addressed in the essays include drug trafficking, law enforcement and energy. Still, Chavez says the six topics discussed, including foreign policy, security and industrialization, offer promising prospects for better relations between the U.S. and Mexico.
“I think the book has some optimism, proposing that there are constructive paths, specifically in creating public diplomacy,” Chavez said. “But by no means, it’s not all the issues.”
Chavez added the challenges associated with misinformation in the Mexican media disguise how well some of the military and intelligence agencies are cooperating and protecting North American space.
Candida Dewes, a graduate student from University of California-Santa Barbara visiting over spring break, attended the discussion to learn more about U.S.-Mexican relations.
As a PhD student studying the water usage in Mexico, anything relating to energy issues in the U.S. and Mexico is interesting, she said.
“It was interesting to listen to the questions that come out of relations when one country is developed and one is developing,” Dewes said.
Chavez added the problems associated with shared waters between the U.S. and Mexico in the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers complicate relations, as both areas attempt to provide proper irrigation to farms.