Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda to Speak at 2002 Occidental College Commencement
Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda – internationally renowned scholar, author, newspaper columnist, and political figure – will be the featured commencement speaker at Occidental College’s May 19 graduation ceremony.
Castañeda, one of the principal architects of Mexico’s historic transformation from authoritarian politics to democratic rule, will be presented with an honorary degree at the 10 a.m. ceremony in the Remsen Bird Hillside Theater on the Occidental campus.
As one of his country’s leading public intellectuals, Castañeda has played a pioneering role in trying to explain Mexico and the United States to each other. As the New York Times recently observed, “he is still trying to invent a new Mexico, one that deals eye to eye with the United States.”
Born and raised in Mexico City, the son of a former foreign minister, Castañeda is a graduate of Princeton University and of the University of Paris, where he received his doctorate in political science. A renowned social scientist, he has taught at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, at Princeton, Berkeley and New York University.
His insights into the interplay of politics, both domestic and international, with economics and culture led to his appointment as a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and have informed his many books, including “Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara,” “The Mexican Shock,” “Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left After the Cold War.” and “Limits to Friendship: The United States and Mexico.” His columns have appeared in the Mexican daily Reforma, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Newsweek, and throughout South America.
As a close advisor to Vicente Fox during his campaign for president, Castañeda is credited with helping to shape what Castañeda has described as "a more progressive, more socially minded, closer-to-the-people" approach to government. One of his first statements after his appointment as foreign minister in November 2000 was a pledge to a greater commitment to human rights at home and a more outspoken stance abroad. Today, he is an advocate for a "partnership for prosperity" with the United States, one that seeks to address the economic imbalances that exist between the two countries.