Against the backdrop of an increasingly tense relationship between Mexico and the United States at the national level, the Pacific Council has pursued a special initiative to promote education and diplomacy between the neighboring countries at the subnational level. Under the auspices of the Mexico Initiative, chaired by Pacific Council Director Michael C. Camuñez, the Pacific Council has hosted events, produced analysis and commentary, and fostered exchange with Mexican leaders for the past two years, providing a Southern California perspective, where ties with Mexico are part of daily life.
Heading into its third year, the Mexico Initiative will benefit from a generous grant from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Awarded $350,000 to grow our efforts around Mexico, the Council will use the funds to increase education, travel, and research dedicated to building the collaborative spirit of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. The grant will also support the Council’s efforts to create a new generation of American and Mexican leaders, giving greater access to Emerging Leaders (young professionals under the age of 40 and from diverse backgrounds) across our membership.
“The Packard Foundation is a leader in building capacity and organizational effectiveness, and this grant will be instrumental in propelling the Mexico Initiative forward,” said Camuñez, a Pacific Council director, Chair of the Mexico Initiative, and a Trustee of the Packard Foundation.
Another way the Mexico Initiative is maturing this year is through its support of the creation of MEXLA, a commission of residents from Los Angeles and Mexico that is meant to deepen the cultural, economic, and people-to-people ties between the two regions. MEXLA is a partnership with the Pacific Council, the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, and the Mexican Council of International Affairs (COMEXI). MEXLA commissioners will meet for the first time on September 10 in Los Angeles. Commissioners that are also Pacific Council members and directors include Michael Camuñez, Cynthia Telles, Maria Salinas, Kevin Demoff, and Ernie Wooden. Council President & CEO Jerry Green and the Deputy Mayor of International Affairs for the City of Los Angeles Nina Hachigian have been instrumental in establishing MEXLA.
"Mexico is a critically important partner for Los Angeles, and we want to foster more and even closer ties. MEXLA is a perfect example of subnational diplomacy in action,” said Hachigian, a Council director.
With these new developments for the Mexico Initiative, the Council is also appointing a Board Advisory Committee, comprised of directors and members, who will advise on and narrow the substantive focus on the initiative, while identifying gaps in the U.S.-Mexico dialogue that the Council can help to fill. The committee will include experts and leaders in the field of U.S.-Mexico relations, and it will build relationships between the Council and like-minded organizations as well as influential individuals on both sides of the border.
As for future events, our fall conference, PolicyWest, will feature a TED-style talk in the morning on the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship, and we anticipate more events related to this important initiative will be coming down the pipeline for fall and winter 2019.
If you have any questions or are interested in getting involved with the Mexico Initiative, contact Amie Kashon, Senior Officer of Special Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.