Transborder Studies conferences to examine immigration, education, global race for talent

American Ferrera, actor and co-chair of Voto Latino

The border regions of the United States have become an increasingly central part of economic, political and ethical debate. To create a platform to bring a diverse set of peoples and ideas together, the School of Transborder Studies kicks off a series of events in October that examine film and media, immigration and migration, voting and indigenous sovereignty with speakers and panelists from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Of particularly note are two conferences: “Raising the Bar: New Thinking and Resolution to Issues of Mexican Migration,” scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Oct. 11, at the Tempe Center for the Arts, and the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Western Regional Conference, Oct. 25-27. Seating is limited and RSVP is required for both conferences.

Raising the bar

“Raising the Bar” brings together experts, thought leaders and the public to develop regional approaches to some of the challenges laid out in the report, “Not coming to America: Why the U.S. is falling behind in the global race for talent,” released by Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, and Ricardo Salinas, a Mexican business leader, and others. The Salinas-Bloomberg report examines strategic approaches being used in other countries to boost their economies, including recruitment strategies, and outlines six recommendations for immigration reforms in the United States.

“This conference is designed to create a new narrative about Mexican migration on the North American continent,” said Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez, Regents’ and Presidential Motorola Professor and founding director of the School of Transborder Studies. Panelists and speakers for this event include Vélez-Ibáñez; Douglas Massey, Henry G. Bryan Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University; and Francisco Lara-Valencia, an associate professor in the School of Transborder Studies at ASU. The conference will be moderated by Armando Guzmán, the Washington Bureau Chief for Azteca America.

Of special note is conference participant America Ferrera, an actress known to many as the lead character in the television series “Ugly Betty.” Ferrera is the co-chair of Voto Latino and the face of the America4American campaign. A non-partisan, nonprofit group, Voto Latino seeks to bring diverse voices into the political process and engage the public in conversations around voting, education and immigration. Voto Latino, Fundación Azteca America, the public outreach arm of Grupo Salinas, and the group’s Azteca America Network, which provides Spanish-language programming in the United States, are co-sponsors of this unique event.

To register for this free event, visit

To read the Salinas-Bloomberg report:

Crossing Learning Borders

Late October will bring members of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) to the Tempe campus to work around the theme of “Crossing Learning Borders.” The Western Regional Conference, hosted by the school, Oct. 25-27, will bring students, researchers, scholars, professionals and members of the public together to discuss issues of citizenship, identities, school reform, immigrant migration, gender and race and various other topics.

The opening keynote speaker is Vélez-Ibáñez. He pioneered new territory in the social sciences through his dedication to the investigation of human rights violations and civil concerns, puling from the fields of urban, political and applied anthropology, with focus on applied research designed to bring about change in the diverse populations he studies.

“Spanish language politics and hegemony is a little known historical narrative of the manner in which Spanish was established and later removed by changes in political regimes. This narrative is crucial to understand the present foci on immigration and English-only movements,” said Vélez-Ibáñez.

The closing keynote will be given by Teresa L. McCarty, who is the Alice Wiley Snell Professor of Education Policy Studies and Applied Linguistics, and co-director of the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University. An educational anthropologist, she has worked with indigenous education programs throughout North America and in New Zealand, Siberia and Mexico. Her books include “A Place to Be Navajo–Rough Rock and the Struggle for Self-Determination in Indigenous Schooling,” and “Language, Literacy, and Power in Schooling.” 

In addition to keynotes, the conference will have a series of concurrent, interactive sessions and presentations. To register for this event, visit

For more information including conference fees:

To find out more about films, lectures and a full list of events being offered by the School of Transborder Studies, visit