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"Across Borders: Diverse Perspectives on Mexico" - A Brand New Glendon Student Publication


It’s not every day that an entirely student-produced book publishes the presentations of an entirely student-run conference. But this unusual book-launch is just what took place in Glendon’s student lounge on April 19th – a celebration marking the publication of a handsome volume with the title “Across Borders: Diverse Perspectives on Mexico”. The book is a compilation of papers written by some of the distinguished specialists on Mexico, who presented at the 11th annual Glendon International Studies Symposium of the same title on February 11, 2006.

Six undergraduate students in their final year, majoring in International Studies, formed the organizing committee for the conference on Mexico, featuring seven panels and twenty speakers, ten of whom contributed to the published volume. The panellists represented a variety of academic disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, economics, history, political science, Canadian studies, Mexican studies, and others. Participants included diplomats, academics and business leaders.

The Mexico Symposium's student organizing committee - left to right: Karen Campbell, Chad Craig, Jessica Perkins, Michael Thayer, Abbey Sinclair, Karen Murray

The Mexico Conference belongs to an award-winning series, unique in their being entirely student-run, student-funded and student-published. As in previous years, the organizing committee created several fundraising events in order to pay for conference expenses, the field trip to Mexico, and the costs of publishing their book.

Each year’s symposium features a different country or region of the world, investigating it from many perspectives: political, geographic, cultural, ethnic, etc. Previous conferences explored the Great Lakes Region of Africa (2005), India (2004), Russia (2003), Brazil (2002), among others. The 2007 symposium chose to focus its attention on Turkey. It is important to note that the Brazil symposium was a landmark in several ways: it was the first to publish its papers in a post-conference publication; it was also honoured in 2003 with the Student Leadership in Internationalization Award from the Canadian Bureau of International Education.

These symposia offer unique opportunities that are rarely open to undergraduates. Within their framework, students take on a different role as organizers of an academic event. The skills learned through this experience provide them with confidence and professionalism for their future careers. Their enthusiasm and determination are channelled into this special day, the ensuing field trip and the follow-up publication.

The newly published volume was edited by two of the student participants, Jessica Perkins and Karen Campbell, who had expressed their special interest in this final phase early on in the project. “Publishing the book required a lot of work, but also provided many new insights and interesting things to learn”, says Perkins, who was the director of publications and communications for the symposium. “In comparison with the multitude and diversity of tasks we faced [in organizing the symposium itself], the book production seemed like a much smoother process.”

Perkins affirms the great benefits of taking part in the Independent Study Project. “We gained so many skills from organizing the symposium. We were proud of our success in attracting speakers who had a wealth of knowledge about our topic. And they were an excellent match for our audience who were eager to learn more about Mexico.” And she added, “We are very pleased that with the publication of many of the symposium’s papers [in this book], we can now share some of the insights and contributions of that day with a much greater audience.”

More about the Mexico Symposium’s Publication:
Individuals eager to learn more about Mexico and the International Studies Symposium will be happy to learn that copies of “Across Borders: Diverse Perspectives on Mexico” can be purchased for $20 online through PayPal, on the symposium’s website: Any profits gained from the sale of this book will be used to support the projects of future groups, in the spirit of past International Studies symposia. The Mexico committee is also considering possible future projects, if sufficient profits emerge from book sales.

This article was submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on May 7, 2007