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Since the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies (USMEX) opened its doors in July, 1980, it has been the premier site for academic research on Mexico and the relationship between the United States and Mexico. It has hosted more than 800 scholars through the Fellows program and produced thousands of pages of original work on cutting edge issues related to immigration, reform, trade policy, inequality and democratization through a robust in-house research program. As a globally recognized incubator of academic analysis, it has drawn international attention to UC San Diego, and the legacy of research has ensured that fellowships at the Center remain prestigious opportunities for both emerging and senior scholars from around the world.

Three and a half decades after its creation, understanding the Center’s history is vital to appreciating its ongoing importance. It started out as a small institution that was created during a time of political uncertainty, when Mexico was just beginning a lengthy journey toward democracy. In parallel, the U.S. was beginning to wrestle with difficult questions concerning immigration policy and important shifts in its relationship with Mexico. Since then, the Center has grown and adapted to address a new panorama of drug war violence, burgeoning cross-border economic activity, and a bilateral relationship that has many of its most important acts set on the local stage. Its ability to remain relevant even as issues and debates have shifted is a testament to the vision of its founder and subsequent directors who created a place that continues to foster cutting edge research.