Cambridge, MA – Drug trafficking, kidnappings, and violent crimes in Mexico have recently absorbed the headlines of the media throughout the world, but how serious is the threat they pose for Mexicans’ security and what can be done to mitigate it? Notable leaders from Mexico’s government, media, academia, and civil society will attempt to answer these questions at Harvard University between the 13th and 17th of April, when they attend the student symposium titled «Crime and Security Challenges in Mexico,» organized by the Harvard University Mexican Association (HUMA).
«We believe that Mexico’s problems, whether political, economic, or social cannot be resolved unless a multidisciplinary approach is adopted, and the crime wave Mexico is going through right now is not the exception. We believe our efforts will bring different perspectives and leverage alternative solutions to a problem that worries all Mexicans in the country and abroad» said Ricardo Godinez, Co-President of HUMA.
Failed, weak, fragile, and risky, among others, are adjectives that have been used to describe the Mexican State in the past few months. Observing the intense debate that emerged as a result of this, HUMA decided to hold a set of conferences with several keynote speakers that will try to offer a proper diagnosis for Mexico’s current state of affairs.
From the public sector, Sigrid Arzt, former Technical Secretary of Mexico’s National Security Council and current security advisor to President Felipe Calderón, will be speaking about the challenges of drug trafficking for the Mexican security strategy. To complement this discussion, Rommel Moreno, Attorney General of the State of Baja California, will offer a local perspective on the same issue.
Civil society will be represented by Alejandro Martí. Mr. MartíÂ’s 14-year-old son was kidnapped and murdered in June 2008, and his case has become emblematic of the security issues facing Mexico today. Last November, he introduced the Observation System for Citizen Security (SOS), a civil society organization that will foment and finance efforts of civic groups that fight for improving public safety.
Dr. Denise Dresser and Dr. Carmen Reyes will provide analytical and practical tools from the world of academia to approach various issues linked with crime. Dr. Dresser will evaluate the risks that organized crime poses for this year’s mid-term elections in Mexico. On the other hand, Dr. Reyes will explain the most current developments on Geographic Information Science, an approach that has proven to be fruitful in criminology and security studies, and could provide a resource for logistics, tactics, and strategic purposes in the field of public safety.
Finally, Alfredo Corchado and Adela Navarro, both with exemplary trajectories on drug reporting, will give voice to the media. Mr. Corchado is the Mexico Bureau Chief for the Dallas Morning News. His years of groundbreaking coverage of the U.S.-Mexico border earned him the prestigious Maria Moors Cabot award in 2007. Ms. Navarro is Director-General of Zeta Weekly, a publication in Baja California, Mexico, that specializes on drug reporting. She won the 2007 International Press Freedom Award for her independent reporting of drug issues at Zeta. «We hope this symposium sheds light on the potential solutions to the complex problems that crime poses for Mexico today, but we’re sure that by providing Mexican students in the area of New England with wide-ranging perspectives on the topic, we’re taking a step forward,» said Sergio Holguin, HUMA’s other Co-President.
HUMA is a non-profit student organization that groups more than 100 Mexican students, professors, and researchers from Harvard