Mexican flag with city in the background.

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., is joining a University delegation this week on a trip to Mexico City to continue strengthening relationships and growing Notre Dame’s presence in academic, business, Church and government sectors there.

The trip, which includes Global Forum: Latin America, is designed to bring together University leaders including Father Jenkins and Thomas G. Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost, along with alumni, parents and friends to explore global issues in the context of the University’s mission to promote human solidarity and concern for the common good, with a particular focus on Latin America.

In addition to the public offerings during the forum, Father Jenkins and Burish will participate in a series of meetings with Mexican government and university officials, as well as with advisory council members and alumni supporters of Notre Dame’s efforts to engage Latin America.

Burish is scheduled to meet Thursday with the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta S. Jacobson.

On Friday (July 8), University leaders will join a breakfast meeting with members of the Mexico business community and Mexico university leaders to discuss “The Role of the Private Sector and Higher Education in Developing Ethical Leaders.” Father Jenkins will deliver opening remarks on the growing presence of Notre Dame in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

Like many universities in the U.S., Notre Dame first looked east to Europe and more recently to Asia for valued partnerships,” Father Jenkins said. “Let me assure you, the compass at Notre Dame now points south. That orientation is critical for understanding the changing demographics of the United States. It is critical for higher education. And it is critical for the future of the Catholic Church in the United States. It is also critical to confronting economic and social issues of the Americas North and South; and how Catholic educators in both hemispheres come to terms with providing the great equalizer – a good education – to rich and poor alike.”

Organized by Notre Dame International with the Notre Dame Alumni Association, Office of Special Events and Stewardship, Notre Dame Clubs in Latin America, the Office of Global Advancement and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the forum’s events will include a “Discover Notre Dame” program for prospective Latin American students and their parents, and a Global Forum luncheon at which keynote speaker Enrique Garcia, president of CAF—Development Bank of Latin America, will deliver an address titled “Is Latin America at a Turning Point?”

“This gathering reminds us that the Notre Dame family truly is global,” said Nick Entrikin, vice president and associate provost for internationalization. “It is thrilling to see such a representative mix of that family — academics, prospective students, benefactors, Notre Dame parents and alumni — come together in Mexico City around a common vision to be a powerful force for good in the world.”

Additional Notre Dame administrators and faculty traveling to Mexico City for the forum include Louis M. Nanni, vice president for University relations; Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications; Ann Firth, chief of staff to Father Jenkins; Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment; Dolly Duffy, executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association; Ann Tenbrunsel, David E. Gallo Professor of Business Ethics; and Rev. David Scheidler, C.S.C., Notre Dame Campus Ministry chaplain.

In March, Father Jenkins led a University delegation on a week-long tour of three South American countries – Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

Friday, July 8

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., speaking in Mexico City at a meeting of business and university leaders.

Calling recent insults to Mexico and its people “churlish, insulting political theater,” the president of the University of Notre Dame, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said Friday (July 8) that he is dedicated to strengthening the University’s presence in that nation’s academic, government, corporate and Church sectors.

Speaking in Mexico City at a meeting of business and university leaders, Father Jenkins compared the current attacks on Mexicans to the contempt directed at other immigrant groups in the United States in the past.

“The vitriol directed at the Irish ... and later the Italians, and other waves of immigrants to the United States, sadly is not a thing of the past; certainly not for Mexicans in the United States who have been slandered in extraordinary ways, as has Mexico itself,” Father Jenkins said. “It is churlish, insulting political theater, for certain. But it is not only that. It suggests that the United States distance itself from Mexico at just the time that our nations are most positively engaged with each other and poised to reap the benefits of robust trade, industrialization and entrepreneurship.”

Father Jenkins announced the opening of a Notre Dame office in Mexico City as the first step in a planned expansion of ties between the University and Mexico. Similar to comments he made earlier this year in South America, the Notre Dame president said: “Like many universities in the U.S., Notre Dame first looked east to Europe and more recently to Asia for valued partnerships. Let me assure you, the compass at Notre Dame now points south.”

Read the Washington Post’s Coverage of Fr. Jenkins’ Remarks

Tom Burish, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost, reflects on the meeting of University officials with U.S. ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson. The leaders discussed opportunities for collaboration within the context of current world events. Following the meeting, the University delegation met with local leaders from academia, to build and strengthen ties toward mutual benefit.