With students and faculty representing 116 countries on a campus in Ithaca, New York – a sanctuary city since 2017 – Cornell is a crossroads for global mobility. This year’s Lund Critical Debate explores another contact zone for migration and exchange: the U.S.-Mexico border.
Two former ambassadors will debate the Trump administration’s border policy and assess how foreign policy changes will affect relations with Mexico – including immigration, security and bilateral trade. The Lund debate, hosted by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, will be held Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall. The Einaudi Center’s annual reception will follow.
Both speakers are seasoned diplomats. Sandra Fuentes-Berain, the first Mexican woman to be named Ambassador Emeritus for life, has served as a Mexican ambassador in many countries and consul general in New York. Roberta Jacobson served 30 years at the State Department, working at the United Nations Security Council, as a U.S. ambassador to Mexico, and as director of the Office of Mexican Affairs.
Gustavo Flores-Macías, associate vice provost for international affairs and associate professor of government, will moderate the debate, part of a series, created through the generosity of Judith Lund Biggs ’57.
This year’s topic is especially timely, said Kenneth Roberts, faculty director of the Latin American Studies Program and Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government.
“Policies toward the border region, and U.S.-Mexico relations more broadly, have been a source of considerable conflict under President Trump,” Roberts said. “The Lund Debate will give Cornellians an opportunity to hear leading diplomats from both countries discuss issues of trade, migration and security from different national perspectives.”
The event is part of the Einaudi Center’s engagement with Cornell’s Migrations global grand challenge. The initiative draws on Cornell’s expertise across all disciplines to launch research, inform policy and provide leadership on issues related to global migration.
“The Lund Debate presents an extraordinary opportunity to bring to campus the most relevant voices and experiences on key issues of our time,” said Rachel Beatty Riedl, director of the Einaudi Center. “The relationship between the U.S. and Mexico offers a specific case to highlight the complexity of the questions surrounding migration taken up in the Global Grand Challenge.”
Priya Pradhan ’22 is a writing intern at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies; Megan DeMint is a communication specialist for International Affairs.