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RELEASE: CAP Launches New Program to Help Improve U.S.-Mexico Relations
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Launches New Program to Help Improve U.S.-Mexico Relations

Washington, D.C. — No country affects daily life in the United States more than Mexico, and the Center for American Progress has established a new program to help leaders in both nations build a relationship of mutual respect and understanding that cuts through the angry rhetoric of recent months.

The U.S.-Mexico Leaders Initiative is designed to encourage emerging leaders from across the United States to take a more active role in creating this positive relationship.

Last week, 15 leaders from Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., participated in the program’s inaugural class. These leaders from the public, private, and civic sectors with diverse personal, political, and policy backgrounds first gathered in Washington, D.C., and then traveled together to Mexico City and the state of Queretaro in Mexico

Over the course of the week, the U.S.-Mexico Leaders Initiative held a series of meetings with representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as from a range of civic organizations, the media, and academia.

“The United States and Mexico share much more than a border; we have a shared destiny,” said Dan Restrepo, a senior fellow at CAP and one of the trip organizers. “Our shared destiny requires that those shaping policy in the United States into the future have a far better understanding about Mexico and the binational relationship than the one fostered by today’s rhetoric and debates.”

The U.S.-Mexico Leaders Initiative is part of the expanding work being done by CAP on the U.S.-Mexico binational relationship. In recent months, CAP has published a series of policy papers on key aspects of the relationship, including “5 Big Ideas for U.S. Policy in the Americas,” “Preserving and Strengthening the U.S.-Mexico Relationship,” and “Improving Mexico’s Economic Competitiveness Through Security Cooperation.”

“This initiative strives to expand and elevate the discourse on U.S-Mexico relations by fostering bidirectional movement of concerns and ideas between the next generation of leaders in the U.S. and Mexico,” said Joel Martinez, another organizer of the trip and the Mexico research associate at CAP.

The Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE), a leading university in Mexico City, co-sponsored the U.S.-Mexico Leaders Initiative.

Biographies of the leaders participating in the U.S.-Mexico Leaders Initiative can be found here. They included:

Dulce Anayasaenz, board member and treasurer of the Colorado Latino Forum

Cristobal “Chris” Garcia, assistant director of alumni relations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Andrew Graves, policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy

Christopher Kelly, executive assistant to the vice president in the Office of University Communications at Howard University

Amanda Knarr, research program coordinator for Western Hemispheric affairs at the Business Council for International Understanding

Armida Lopez, policy advisor for Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego

Eric Puente, president of the Mexican American Bar Association of Dallas

Jesse Rodriguez, director of Latino affairs and a communications consultant for the California State Senate Republican Caucus

Lorna Romero, vice president of communications and advocacy at Molera Alvarez

Nicholas Saliba, consultant at George W. Bush Presidential Center

Claudia Sandoval, senior consultant at Saxony Partners

Miguel Solis, president of the Latino Center for Leadership Development

Katie Stansell, economic growth and global initiatives program assistant at George W. Bush Presidential Center

Simon Tafoya, senior director for policy and federal relations for Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO)

Daniel Torres, Director of Immigrant Integration in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., (D-CA).

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Sam Hananel at  shananel@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6327.