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Former Mexican foreign minister here Monday

Nov. 7, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Mexico's former secretary of foreign affairs will present a talk at Western Michigan University on U.S.-Mexico relations at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, in Room 1035 Fetzer Center.

Dr. Jorge Castaneda will speak on "Mexico-U.S. Relations: NAFTA, Transnational Industry and Technology, Immigration and Border Security." His presentation will be preceded by a reception at 4:30 p.m.

Castenda has been the Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University since 1997. In 2000, former Mexican President Vicente Fox appointed him foreign minister of Mexico, a position equivalent to secretary of state in the United States. He served in the post until 2003.

As foreign minister, Castenda focused on joint diplomatic initiatives with Latin American nations; the global promotion of Mexican economic and trade relations; and such diverse issues in U.S.-Mexican relations as immigration, trade, security and narcotics control.

He attempted to run for president of Mexico as an independent candidate in 2006, but was denied by the country's courts because of a law that gives only registered parties the right to nominate candidates for election.

Castenda is a member of the board of Human Rights Watch and a renowned public intellectual, political scientist and prolific writer with strong interests in Latin American politics, comparative politics and U.S.-Latin American relations.

He is a regular columnist for the Mexican daily Reforma and Newsweek International and has written several books, including "Perpetuating Power: How Mexican Presidents Were Chosen, published in 2000; "Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara," published in 1997; "Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War," published in 1993; and "Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico," which he co-wrote and was published in 1988.

Castenda teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at NYU and previously taught at Mexico's National Autonomous University, Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley.

He has served since 2003 as host of NYU's "Voices of Latin American Leaders," a series of conversations with prominent politicians, intellectuals and businesspeople from the region such as Ernesto Zedillo, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Carlos Slim, Gustavo Cisneros and Carlos Fuentes.

From 1985 to 1987, Castaneda was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and from 1989 to 1991 a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Grant recipient.

Castenda earned bachelor's degrees from both Princeton and the University of Paris-I (Pantheon-Sorbonne); a master's degree from Ecole Pratique de Hautes Etudes, Paris I; and a doctoral degree from the University of Paris-I.

His visit to WMU is being sponsored by the University's Graduate College in cooperation with WMU's Department of Political Science, Department of Spanish and Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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