A discussion led by Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Jorge Castañeda, featuring John H. Coatsworth, Provost at Columbia University, and Arturo A. Valenzuela, Senior Latin America Advisor at Covington & Burling LLP and former Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. Co-sponsored by Columbia University's Institute of Latin American Studies and supported by NYU's Mexican Student Association.
Jorge Castañeda is a renowned public intellectual, political scientist, and prolific writer, with an interest in Latin American politics, comparative politics and U.S.-Latin American relations. He was Foreign Minister of Mexico from 2000 to 2003, and in that position he focused on diverse issues in U.S.-Mexican relations, including migration, trade, security, and narcotics control; joint diplomatic initiatives on the part of Latin American nations; and the promotion of Mexican economic and trade relations globally.
Born in Mexico City in 1953, Dr. Castañeda received undergraduate degrees from both Princeton University and Universite de Paris-I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), an M.A. from The Ecole Pratique de Hautes Etudes, Paris I, and his Ph.D. in Economic History from the University of Paris. He has taught at Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM), Princeton and U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Castañeda was a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1985-87), and was a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Grant Recipient (1989-1991). He is a member of the Board of Human Rights Watch, and since 2003 has hosted “Voices of Latin American Leaders” at NYU, 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, among others. Currently, he teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at NYU.
Among his many books are Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War (1993); The Mexican Shock (1995); Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara (1997); Perpetuating Power: How Mexican Presidents Were Chosen (2000); Somos Muchos: Ideas para el mañana (Planeta Editores, Mexico City, 2004); La diferencia: Radiografía de un sexenio (with Rubén Aguilar, 2007); Y Mexico Por Que No? (2008); and Ex-Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants (2008). Dr. Castañeda is a regular columnist for the Mexican daily Reforma, and Newsweek International.
John H. Coatsworth is a leading scholar of Latin American economic and international history.
Coatsworth served as Dean of SIPA for four years before being named Provost of Columbia University in 2012. He previously served as the Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs at Harvard University (1992–2007), where he was the founding director of Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the chair of the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies.
Prior to his work at Harvard, Coatsworth was a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago (1969–1992). Other academic posts have included visiting professorships at El Colegio de México, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National University of Buenos Aires, the Instituto Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, and the Instituto Ortega y Gassett in Madrid.
Coatsworth is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Directors of the Tinker Foundation and numerous professional associations. He is the former president of the American Historical Association and Latin American Studies Association. Coatsworth has served on the editorial boards of scholarly journals including the American Historical Review, the Journal of Economic History, the Hispanic American Historical Review and other social science journals published in Britain, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Peru, and Spain.
In 1986, Coatsworth was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He has served as Senior Fulbright Lecturer three times, with appointments in Argentina and Mexico, and has received numerous research and institutional grants from public agencies and private foundations. He has acted as a consultant for program design or review to numerous U.S. universities and foundations.
Coatsworth received his BA in History from Wesleyan University and his MA and PhD in Economic History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author or editor of eight books and many scholarly articles, focusing on comparative economic, social, and international history of Latin America, especially Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
His most recent book is Living Standards in Latin American History: Height, Welfare and Development, 1750–2000 (Cambridge: David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 2010), edited with Ricardo Salvatore and Amilcar Challu.
Arturo A. Valenzuela is Senior Advisor for Latin America based in Washington, DC. Dr. Valenzuela, a non-lawyer, is a highly regarded diplomat, scholar, and international business consultant. He provides strategic advice, risk assessment and consulting services to US and international clients with investments and operations in Latin America and Latin American clients interested in expanding their operations overseas. His clients have included Fortune 500 firms and leading Latin American multinationals. Until 2009, he served as a Member of the Board of Directors of CorpBanca in Santiago, Chile and on the International Advisory Board of Repsol in Madrid, Spain.
Prior to his association with Covington, Dr. Valenzuela was Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the U.S. Department of State in the first Obama Administration. In that position he was responsible for the formulation, execution and management of US policy towards the countries of the Americas. During President Clinton's second term, he served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council. In that capacity, he advised the President and the National Security Advisor on foreign, defense, intelligence, economic, and other policy issues and helped to manage the formulation and implementation of multilateral and bilateral foreign policy initiatives in the Americas. In President Clinton’s first term, Dr. Valenzuela was appointed by the White House as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs with primary responsibility for the implementation of US foreign policy toward Mexico, including the NAFTA side agreements. He was also responsible for regional issues such as democracy, human rights, environment, and immigration for Latin America and the Caribbean.