International symposium to explore Mexico, U.S. relations

Don Klingner
Don Klingner

If the United States and Mexico are to move beyond topics that garner headlines and stir emotions, academic, military and government leaders must explore root causes and common solutions, according to organizers of an international symposium at UCCS.

As part of the university’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, Don Klingner, distinguished professor, School of Public Affairs, and Steve Recca, executive director, UCCS Center for Human Security, organized a symposium of Mexico, State of Colorado and U.S. military leaders with the goal of new policies designed to improve human security in both nations.

The symposium will begin at 9 a.m. May 5 at the Lodge. More than 75 academic, political and business leaders are expected to attend. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Registration is required and will begin at 8:30 a.m.

“While we see a lot of news stories about drug trafficking and illegal immigration, these rarely explore the underlying issues that drive relations between the United States and Mexico,” Klingner said. “The U.S. is Mexico’s largest trading partner and Mexico is the third largest trading partner of the U.S. behind China and Canada. NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement signed by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in 1994, has succeeded in promoting the freer movement of goods, capital and services. By providing for the freer movement of people in the context of shared human security policies, the U.S. can take advantage of Mexico’s demographic bonus and skilled workforce to spur economic development, maintain national security through U.S. Northern Command, and focus on the shared policy issues that make the border something that unites as well as separates our two countries: public safety, border security, economic and community development, human migration, environmental protection and water management.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has endorsed the symposium, praising the effort to discuss shared Mexican and U.S. policy concerns.

Klingner is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and past president of American Society for Public Administration. He has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Central America, a visiting professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and a consultant to the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Other speakers include:

  • Roberto Moreno Espinosa is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Advisory Council on Civil Society Representation in Mexico and former graduate coordinator of public administration at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He is the author of five books and numerous articles and essays, and has been a visiting professor at 20 Mexican and seven international universities.
  • Juan de Dios Pineda is professor and presidential adviser for international affairs at Benémerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico. His research focuses on public sector employee professionalization, public policy, education, leadership, transportation and water systems at the national and local levels in the U.S., Mexico, and Latin America He is the author or principal editor of nineteen books.
  • Sandi Moilanen, director, International Division, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Moilanen coordinates programs that create and retain jobs in Colorado by helping companies expand and diversify their markets globally and by helping companies from abroad to learn the value of doing business here. Prior to joining the OEDIT, she managed international financial transactions and overseas production planning for London Fog-Pacific Trail, an apparel manufacturer.
  • Elie Moises Smilovitz Kassin, political and press counselor, Consulate General of Mexico (Denver).
  • J.B. Smith, United States Northern Command, Humanitarian Assistance Programs
  • Sandy Gutierrez, executive director, Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce
  • Col. Sarah Russ, United States Northern Command
  • Karen Davis, Canadian Military Personnel Research and Analysis
  • Faustino Pino, a retired member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Claudia Rivera Hernández, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.
  • Craig Conway, U.S. Department of State, United States Northern Command Political Adviser.
  • Brig. Gen. James E. Taylor, U.S. Northern Command

For a complete agenda for the symposium, visit

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