Kerry’s first Mexico visit: Momentum-building needed

May 22, 2014

mexico-usa-flag-montageDallas News, 05/22/14. By Christopher Wilson and Duncan Wood

The first thing John Kerry did upon taking office as secretary of state was to speak to a group of students at the University of Virginia. He told them that strong U.S. leadership abroad depends on having a strong country and a strong economy at home, saying, “I came here purposefully to underscore that in today’s global world, there is no longer anything foreign about foreign policy.”

Then, as foreign ministers do, he set out a grueling schedule to meet and work with his counterparts across the globe. Kerry has visited 48 countries and traveled almost 500,000 miles, but oddly enough, until he arrived in Mexico Wednesday, he had not visited the United States’ closest neighbors, Mexico and Canada.

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Más de la mitad de los niños mexicanos viven en pobreza

April 30, 2014

education - children poverty - EcuadorAnimal Politico, 4/30/14

El 53.8% de los niños que celebrarán este 30 de abril el Día del Niño en México son pobres y viven con al menos una carencia que les dificulta el correcto ejercicio de sus derechos sociales sociales, informaron este martes el Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (Unicef) y el Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social.

Pero además dentro de ese grupo de 21.1 millones de niños, niñas y adolescentes, hay 4.7 millones —12.1%— que vive en pobreza extrema, es decir, que tiene al menos tres carencias que le impiden disfrutar de sus derechos fundamentales.

“La pobreza en la infancia tiene características específicas que le dan a su atención y reducción un sentido de urgencia: la probabilidad de que se vuelva permanente es más alta que en el caso de los adultos, al igual que la posibilidad de que se reproduzca en la siguiente generación, además de que las consecuencias negativas que ocasiona son irreversibles en la mayoría de los casos”, indica el informe Pobreza y derechos sociales de niñas, niños y adolescentes en México, 2010-2012 que presentaron Unicef y Coneval.

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Mexico hosts global development forum

April 18, 2014

Mexico BricksShanghai Daily, 4/17/14

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto Tuesday opened the first High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, attended by some 1,500 international leaders, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

At the opening of the two-day event in Mexico City, Pena Nieto said, “Mexico, as host country of this first meeting, seeks to promote dialogue and the building of accords between different government and non-governmental agencies to strengthen and promote efficient cooperation for development.”

Ban also addressed the gathering, urging the international community to earmark more national resources and financing to cut poverty and reach the UN-sponsored Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs) by the preset deadline, 2015.

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Octavio Paz’s 100th Birthday: Mexico Celebrates Century Birth Of Nobel Prize Winner; Google MX Dons Doodle To Honor Him

April 1, 2014

newspapers thumbnailLatin Times, 3/31/14

On Monday, March 31, Mexico commemorated the 100th birthday of Octavio Paz, the Nobel-Prize-winning poet, essayist and diplomat who was perhaps the country’s best-known intellectual figure upon his death in 1998 from cancer, only a day after the death of his daughter Helena Paz Garro.  The government has organized a range of events in Paz’s honor which include presentations of his books, a stamp and lottery ticket bearing his face, a public reading of his poems outside of the Mexican Senate, the distribution of a free anthology to middle-school students, and a summit of intellectuals.  Google also got in on the tribute; users in Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Spain were greeted with a “Doodle” homage to him.

Mexican historian Enrique Krauze wrote in the New York Times on Sunday that despite his official acclaim, Paz – a longtime attaché with the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s 70-year “perfect dictatorship”– continues to arouse antipathy for his political views.  “The intellectual wars that he fought so vigorously in life continue to be waged in his memory — which appears destined to never rest in the ‘peace’ that his name signifies,” writes Krauze.

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First Census of Mexico’s Schools Finds Problems

April 1, 2014

education - pile of booksNY Times, 4/1/14

Mexican officials say the first census of the country’s education system found at least a third of public schools have infrastructure problems and there are thousands of school workers who can’t be identified. The census taken last year at public pre-schools, elementary and middle schools and made public Monday said 41 percent of Mexico’s 207,682 schools have no sewage system and 31 percent have no potable water.

An education reform bill approved last year allowed the first survey of Mexico’s education system to be carried out. Until Monday, no one knew exactly how many schools, teachers or students exist in Mexico.

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Schools and universities increasingly subjected to violence, study finds

February 28, 2014

studentThe Guardian, 2/27/14

Schools and universities have been subjected to increasing violence in recent years, an international study has found. The survey of conflicts in 70 countries between 2009-13 – published on Thursday by the US-based  Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) – reveals that violent assaults on educational establishments are far more widespread than previously reported. It also found at least 500 cases of attacks were recorded in Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, Libya, Mexico and Yemen.

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Bipartisan group announces $25 million scholarship fund for undocumented students

February 5, 2014

hidden_assetsDallas News, 2/4/14

A $25 million scholarship fund for such students, often called “dreamers,” was announced today by San Antonio Democratic activist Henry Muñoz III, former Washington Post CEO Donald E. Graham, and Carlos Gutierrez, a Commerce Secretary under President George W. Bush. Dreamers often face financial barriers to attending college since they are ineligible for federal financial aid.

1,000 high-achieving undocumented students will each receive a $25,000 scholarship from the initiative, called TheDream.US. The effort has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Inter-American Development Bank, the Graham family, and other philanthropies. Some of that scholarship money will go to students in Texas.

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The Rise Of Mexican Intellect And The United States: Opponents Or Partners? Op Ed

December 12, 2013

Expert Take

By Alejandro Chaufen

Forbes, 12/11/2013

In his 2009 book, “The Next 100 Years,” George Friedman, the founder of Stratfor, wrote that by the end of the century Mexico will be the main power challenging the U.S. With $500 billion in trade with the U.S. (up from $75 billion two decades ago), with Mexicans spending twice as much on U.S. products as the Chinese, with over 33 million U.S. residents of Mexican origin, with the most frequently crossed international border in the world, it would be irresponsible to wait until the end of the century to pay attention to Mexico.

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Closing a Fear Gap So Children Can Achieve

December 2, 2013

The New York Times, 12/1/2013

studentsAt a time when Latinos have surpassed whites to account for a majority of public school students in Texas, Ms. Garibay is taking an unusually direct approach to one of the most deeply entrenched challenges in education: the achievement gap in test scores and low graduation rates that are plaguing schools disproportionately populated by the children of immigrants.

By focusing her seminar on helping families and children navigate the bureaucracy of the immigration system, Ms. Garibay is hoping to help schools close their achievement gaps with others.

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Op Ed: Mexico’s critical, fragile compromises

November 15, 2013

The Globe and Mail, 11/15/2013

MEXICO CONGRESSJust about everything except the mouths of politicians seems to the paralyzed in the U.S. political system, especially Congress. Getting one big thing done seems next to impossible.

In Canada, the government can get things through the Commons and Senate, courtesy of its majority in both houses. But negotiate with the opposition parties? Are you crazy?

In Mexico, by contrast, something remarkable and controversial is unfolding. In less than a year, President Enrique Pena Nieto and his party are negotiating with both other parties in Congress on an array of reforms that would leave the legislatures of Canada and the United States breathless.

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