“The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”
Dr. Juan Hernandez
President, Organization for Hispanic Advancement
October 19, 2006
In 2001, President Vicente Fox appointed Dr. Juan Hernandez director of the newly established Office for Mexicans Abroad, making this year’s Davis Lecturer the first U.S.-born citizen to hold a cabinet position in the Mexican government. Since directing this office, which served the interests of more than 24 million Mexicans living in foreign countries, Hernandez has emerged as a leading expert on Mexico-U.S. relations.
Born in Fort Worth of a Mexican father and a Texan mother, Hernandez holds dual citizenship in Mexico and the United States. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc., he earned his master’s and doctorate at Texas Christian University.
A passionate defender of the civil rights of immigrants, Hernandez was named Humanitarian Man of 2001 by Latin Trade Magazine. That same year, Hispanic Business Magazine tabbed him as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States. He is the founding director of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas, Dallas, and he now heads the Organization for Hispanic Advancement.
In addition to appearances on Nightline, MSN and NPR, he is a regular contributor to Univisión, CNN and Fox News. His most recent book, The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants? (Pneuma, 2006), urges America to rethink its relationship to its southern neighbor, and to embrace controlled immigration as necessary to the overall economic and cultural health of both nations.
About The J. Roderick Davis Lectures
J. Roderick Davis is a 1958 graduate of Samford University (then Howard College). After graduation, he received advanced degrees in English and theology from Boston, Yale, and Columbia universities, followed by more than two decades of teaching in universities in New Jersey and New York. In 1990, he was chosen by his alma mater to come back as the Dean of Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences. In his eleven years in that office, he helped enlarge the College faculty by thirty percent, created individual departments in Geography, Political Science, Philosophy, and Classics, and directed the streamlining and re-focusing of the university’s nationally-recognized core curriculum.
When Dean Davis retired from his office in 2001, his colleagues decided to honor him by establishing a lecture series in his name that would bring to campus recognized scholars and activists in areas of interest to students in the Arts and Sciences.
Previous Davis Lecturers and topics include:
2007 - Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, the Aspen Institute, Author, Einstein: His Life and Universe: "Einstein's Creativity"
2006 – Dr. Juan Hernandez, President, Organization for Hispanic Advancement: “The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”
2005 – Dr. Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College: “The Far Enemy: How and Why Jihad Went Global”
2004 – Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School: “Democracy and Human Dignity”
2003 – Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Director of the National Cancer Institute: “The Future of Cancer: Progress with a Purpose”
2002 – Susan Eisenhower, President of the Eisenhower Institute: “Leadership in Conflict”