One of Mexico's leading government officials, Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, will visit the campus of The University of Texas-Pan American Thursday, April 14 as part of UTPA's annual weeklong celebration - Pan American Days held April 11-15. The equivalent of the Secretary of State in the United States, Derbez will speak to students, faculty and the community at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Theater on "Perspectives on Mexico - U.S. Relations."
An economist and educator by trade, Derbez, who was appointed to his current position November 2000 by Mexican President Vicente Fox, recently accompanied Fox in meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss immigration issues, border security and water resources on the border. Derbez has also expressed the concern of Mexican officials about the Minuteman Project, a 1,000 member group of civilian volunteers some call "vigilantes" that plans to patrol a 20-mile stretch of border in Arizona for undocumented immigrants.
Derbez formerly worked for the World Bank for 14 years where he was responsible for regional areas of international interest and impact, like Chile, Western and Central Africa, India, Nepal and Bhutan, among others. While at the World Bank, Derbez developed and oversaw multilateral economic assistance and structural adjustment programs in Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala. He was the lead author and supervisor of macroeconomic reports for the nations in his area of responsibility, and of sectoral reports in the areas of finance and banking.
Between 1997 and 2000, Derbez worked as an independent consultant for the World Bank in Mexico City and for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. He has worked on economic recovery programs for countries in critical situations, like Honduras and Nicaragua, after Hurricane Mitch destroyed a substantial part of their territory and economy.
Throughout his career Derbez has combined professional activities with academic work, as a professor in the Graduate School of Business Management of Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Monterrey, Nuevo León, a guest professor at Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies, and as the director of the ITESM Econometric Studies Unit and Economics Department in Monterrey. He has also served as academic vice rector of the University of the Americas in Cholula, Puebla.
Derbez studied at the San Luis Potosí Autonomous University, where he earned a degree in economics, followed by a master's degree in economics, with a major in industrial organization at the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in economics, with a major in econometrics and operations research, at Iowa State University.
Pan American Days at UTPA is an annual celebration of the Americas conducted through academic and cultural activities on campus.
"The goal of Pan American Days is to offer our students, faculty and the community a chance to hear about the issues that face us today in the Americas. It is also a celebration of our unique geographical location - the United States-Mexico border. We hope that by bringing such distinguished guests as Derbez to the University, our students, faculty and the community will understand their place and vital role in the international arena," UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas said.
Sponsors of the weeklong series of Pan American Day events include the Office of International Programs in cooperation with the Offices of the President, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for External Affairs; Latin American Studies Academic Advisory Committee; University Program Board; the Ambassador Protégé Program; Political Science Students Association; Texas Music Educators Association; and various academic colleges and departments.