Glendon student symposium on Mexico comes in election year

Among February’s major events at York is Glendon’s 11th Annual International Studies Symposium, “Across Borders: Diverse Perspectives on Mexico”. Held in English on Saturday, Feb. 11, this international conference brings panellists from across the North American continent and Europe to the Glendon campus during a year in which Mexico will hold a federal election.

“Mexico is a country that has been familiar in the Canadian vocabulary for many years, especially with the developments of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement),” explained organizing committee member Karen Murray, “yet the Mexican culture is fairly unknown to us northerners.”

The most heavily-populated Spanish-speaking country in the world, Mexico occupies a unique space between English-speaking North America and Spanish-speaking Latin America. Mexican social movements and political changes impact both regions in very different ways. Panel participants aim to explore these relationships as a way of strengthening Mexico-Canada relations and promoting a broader understanding of the diversity of the Mexican nation. Panels will cover such topics as Mexico-Canada relations, Mexico and NAFTA, cultural politics, democratization, gender issues and rural development.

With elections coming in July, Mexico is of particular interest this year. The 2000 vote saw the defeat of a party consecutively in power for more than 70 years. This year’s contest is promising to be even more pluralist in nature and the outcome will reveal much about the country’s movement towards further democratization.

Right: Mexicans vote in local elections

The Mexico Symposium is one in a long line of conferences which have become notable events for Glendon and York. Past conferences have featured Cuba, China, South Africa, the Middle East, the European Union, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Russia, India and the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Future conferences on Turkey and Central Asia are under consideration.

“This is an annual event which is completely organized and fundraised by a committee of devoted undergraduate students each year, a primary key to its success,” said Karen Campbell, project coordinator. “It is the committee’s sincere hope to welcome students and professors representing many of the faculties at York to our symposium.”

In addition to mounting the symposium, the project traditionally also includes a fall-term seminar on the chosen region, a research field study on location by the participating students for their dissertations, and the eventual publication of the conference proceedings.

For information on registration for the symposium and the latest on the discussion panels, visit This day-long event will also include a light breakfast and a full lunch of various Mexican dishes accompanied by entertainment.

This article was submitted to YFile by Glendon student Michael Thayer, responsible for the Mexico Symposium’s media and public relations activities, and Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny.