More so than at any time in our history, there is a great need for America's leaders to focus on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), maquiladoras, growth in jobs and earned income, and a measure of activity in critical technologies are transforming the U.S.-Mexico border region into what The Economist calls, "one of the most positively dynamic regions of the 21st century."
The border is a land where two cultures meld and the entrepreneurial spirit reigns supreme. It is a place of great opportunity for expanding enterprises seeking to tap into Mexico's market. From injection molding to world-class automotive technologies, it is North America's business address.
And for the nation to better understand what the U.S.-Mexico border is all about, The University of Texas-Pan American - in partnership with the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, the Council on Foundations, Mexican philanthropic groups, border universities, energy and telecommunications enterprises, banks, cities, counties and the southwestern border states - is hosting a major U.S.-Mexico Border Summit on Aug. 22-24, 2001, in Edinburg, Texas.
More than 1,000 participants from throughout the nation are expected to attend this event at The University of Texas-Pan American. With the largest enrollment of Mexican-American students of any four-year institution of higher education in the continental United States and a history of leadership in border relations, UTPA is hosting the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit to introduce private foundations, corporations and major government officials to the "New Frontier."
The most recent census figures indicate that there are now 35.3 million Hispanics, or 12.5 percent of the U.S. population, making Hispanics the largest minority group in the nation. Of this total, 23 million, or 65 percent, are of Mexican-American descent.
Time magazine ran a special report on the U.S.-Mexico border in their June 11, 2001, issue, calling the border region the "New Frontier." In the May issue of Forbes magazine, three of the top 25 hottest regions for economic growth included San Diego, Tucson and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan region in South Texas. Two other border communities, Laredo and Brownsville, Texas, were in the top 60.
At the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta will begin with a discussion of major transportation corridors, including the proposed NAFTA highway or Interstate 69, which will connect Mexico to Canada through America's heartland.
Former Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor will brief the participants on the brave new business world of the border region. Texas Gov. Rick Perry will discuss his initiatives for the Texas-Mexico border. The President and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation, Stacey H. Davis, will moderate a panel on housing opportunities for border residents. Texas Rep. Pete Gallego, one of the rising stars of Texas politics, will moderate a panel of border legislators reviewing this year's legislative sessions.
High-ranking officials from both countries, representatives of major national foundations and corporate leaders will focus their remarks on international trade, energy, telecommunications, utility infrastructure corridor development, border manufacturing opportunities, water, housing and health issues.
For more information on the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, visit www.bordersummit.com or contact The University of Texas-Pan American at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 956/381-2116 or toll-free at 1-888-432-4033.