Panelists discussed issues relevant to USC’s Mexican and Mexican American community at the second annual Mexicanos@USC mixer, which took place at Ronald Tutor Hall Tuesday evening. Hosted by the USC AEM Jóvenes chapter, which is also known as the Mexican Entrepreneur Association, and the LA Mexico-Innova’s Comité de Estudiantes y Jóvenes Emprendedores, the event aimed to promote a more cohesive community for students of Mexican heritage on campus.
The speaker list included Carlos García de Alba, the General Consul of Mexico in Los Angeles; John O’Brien, the executive vice dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering; and Javier Martinez, a renowned Mexican businessman and the chairman of the board for AEM.
García, the keynote speaker, was recently appointed to the position of Consul General after serving as Mexico’s Ambassador to Ireland. He began his speech by stressing the importance of the Mexico-U.S. relationship, especially during this election season.
“Mexico and the Mexican community here in the USA are not the problem. We are a key part of the solution,” García said.
In his speech, García highlighted the economic interdependence between Mexico and the United States. He noted that Mexico is the second largest export market for the United States, and that Hispanic Americans contribute a significant portion to the U.S. GDP. If undocumented immigrants were to leave the country, the GDP would drop 1.4 percent each year, according to García.
“We are here to add, not subtract,” García said.
García also expressed his plans to bring The Mexican Lecture series to USC, which will bring Mexican political leaders, artists, writers and sports figures to the University. He said that the speakers’ forum proposal already has support from USC President C.L. Max Nikias.
García ended his speech by asserting the significance of young people in the world and active student leaders.
“A bet on young people is always a good bet,” García said.
O’Brien expressed his belief that, in order for USC to achieve its global mission, it needs to attract the best faculty staff and students from around the world. For his own part, O’Brien has made a concerted effort to change what engineers do, what they look like and where they come from.
“As we become a more diverse school, we become a better school,” O’Brien said.
Martinez urged Mexico to send more students to U.S. universities and colleges and noted that the numbers are far behind that of Asian countries, even though Mexico is a much closer neighbor. He said that a major problem for the Mexican community in the United States was that they have the numbers, but are not organized well enough to have a loud political voice. Like Consul General García, he said that he believed in the importance of young people.
“The future belongs to you, not to us,” Martinez said to the students.