SMU will expand its study of the important relationship between Texas and its cross-border neighbor by establishing the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. The center will be part of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College and will work in collaboration with the Cox School of Business.
The center is made possible by a total commitment of $4 million from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation based in Dallas. The corporation made a commitment of $1 million in September 2015 and announced an additional $3 million gift at an April 7 SMU conference featuring an address by Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. She noted that the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center will be pivotal to strengthening the links between industry and the academy, and called the effort a “public-private success story.”
The center will research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas. Research programs will focus on such issues as trade, investment, dynamic economic sectors, government and political relations, human capital and security.
“We share more in common than what divides us,” Ruiz Massieu said. “That’s why this program is so important.”
GRUMA Chairman of the Board and CEO Juan Antonio González Moreno drew sustained applause from conference attendees when, in announcing the financial commitment, he said, “Today we are building bridges, not walls. Working together is the best way to find solutions to common challenges.”
The center will make public policy recommendations based on discussion and research on Mexico-U.S. economic, historic, political, social and border issues. The research is expected to stimulate economic dialogue and integration among regions and states in Mexico and the United States.
The expanded funding will enable SMU to recruit a recognized leader to direct the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. The executive director will travel regularly to Mexico to collaborate with partnering institutions and to present findings from center research projects.