‘Newsletter’ outgrows humble title
Campus publication is on the radar screen of policymakers,scholars throughout the U.S. and the Americas

By Cathy Cockrell, Public Affairs


03 April 2002 | Last month, House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt laid out his vision for future U.S.-Mexico relations — not via “Meet the Press” or a traditional Beltway policy journal, but in the newsletter of the campus’s Center for Latin American Studies.

Appearing just a week before the international summit in Monterrey, Mexico attended by 60 heads of state, Gephardt’s lengthy original article was a coup for the campus publication and a tribute to its growing stature among policy makers and scholars throughout the Americas.

“We thought it was a real recognition of what the center has done and the reach of the newsletter that someone such as Gephardt would contribute a major policy piece,” said the center’s director, Professor Harley Shaiken.

The Missouri Democrat is keenly interested in U.S. policy toward Mexico. His article, titled “Progressive Economic Engagement with Mexico and the World,” is one of the fullest discussions to date of Gephardt’s perspective on future U.S.-Mexico relations. Given the timing of its publication and the growing interest in the power of the Latino vote, “This isn’t an article contributed in the abstract,” Shaiken notes.

Published three times yearly in print and online, the newsletter reflects the center’s strong research and policy emphasis. It routinely includes perspectives of high-profile politicians along with commentary on the center’s many distinguished visitors and reports on faculty and graduate student research and other center activities. The winter 2002 issue, in addition to Gephardt’s piece, covers seminars with Mexico’s ambassador to the U.N. and a new research project by Professor Ruth Collier; the Chilean ambassador to Argentina both contribute to the newsletter and comment informally on its contents.

Based on a steady stream of feedback, he’s one of a growing number of policymakers and Latin Americanists taking note of the Berkeley publication.

Already there have been several requests from the U.S. and abroad to reprint Gephardt’s piece, says Shaiken. The publication, he says, “has evolved into something that is clearly more than a newsletter, but at its heart reflects the research and other activities of the center.”


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