On February 27, 2014,, the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies reached its two year anniversary since its approval by the Board of Trustees. The CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies, based at Lehman College, is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by faculty, administrators, staff, and students to boost enrollment of Mexican and Mexican-American students, foster research with and about Mexico and Mexicans in the United States, and collaborate with community-based organizations to support and empower the Mexican immigrant community. With a special focus on Mexicans in the diaspora, especially Mexicans in New York, the Institute offers a space for the Mexican community to consider its own and an institutional location for support of scholarly and community advocacy projects. Fundamental to the Institute's foundation and success will be its ability to further new projects with community and cultural organizations, to channel projects already underway and to build on existing efforts within and outside of CUNY.
Mexicans constitute the fastest-growing national sub-group in New York City, due to high rates of immigration and births. If these rates remain the same, the Mexican population will surpass that of other Latino groups in New York City by the year 2024. The number of Mexicans living in New York City has grown 57.7 percent in the last decade. The Mexican population in New York City is 319,126, according to U.S. Census data for the most recent year available, 2010. With the growth of this population comes a need for institutions that advocate for the population and support the development of community leadership and mobilization. In CUNY, the Mexican student population has grown 463% since 2000!
In 2005, CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson founded the Taskforce for Mexican and Mexican-American Educational Futures and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with then-Consul General Arturo Sarukhan (currently Ambassador of Mexico to the United States). With the CUNY Board of Trustees' approval of the Institute on February 27, 2012, the Institute becomes the first center of Mexican studies on the East Coast. It serves to channel and foster the work in which CUNY faculty, administrators, and students have already been engaged--to research, advocate with, and serve the Mexican community in our city. CUNY is a large institution, with twenty-three campuses and a quarter of a million students, and thus, the Institute's agenda is ambitious. It seeks to provide an umbrella, linking and facilitating research and programming across the system. Existing programs are invited to link their work to the Institute, enabling facilitation of greater resources, support, visibility, and cooperation. Faculty already engaged in research on Mexico or Mexicans in the U.S. are invited to share their findings, collaborate, and draft proposals for new research.