Integrating North America: Building a Modern, Efficient and Flexible Border

More than 20 years ago, Canada, the United States and Mexico joined forces to create the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in an effort to advance the prosperity of all 530 million people living in the three countries. The agreement succeeded beyond expectations and has flourished even in the face of important challenges. A key aspect of the agreement’s success was the construction of a border management system that is modern, efficient and flexible, and that works for all border users. Cooperation on this score, however, remains uneven though recent years have brought support for an improved border management system.

The border should be more responsive to all users, from trains and trucks to vehicles and pedestrians. It should also guarantee the prosperity and security not just of those who use the border as a transit point, but also of those who live in the borderlands. This lecture addressed the progress and remaining challenges in the cross-border regions of the U.S., Mexico and Canada, while providing a vision for the future.

A reception preceded the event, courtesy of Control Risks.

Join the conversation online with #BakerBorder


Featured Speaker

The Honorable Alan Bersin
Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer, Office of Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Alan Bersin is the assistant secretary for international affairs and chief diplomatic officer in the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In those capacities, Bersin oversees DHS’ international engagement, serves as the principal advisor to the secretary in all matters pertaining to international affairs, and is responsible for leading the department’s strategic planning and policy formulation functions. He currently serves as chair of the advisory committee for the International Policing Division Steering Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Between 2012 and 2015, Bersin served as vice president of INTERPOL for the Americas region and as a member of the INTERPOL Executive Committee. From 2010 to 2011, he served as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In 2009, Bersin worked as assistant secretary and special representative for border affairs at the DHS. 

Bersin was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California. He also served as the attorney general’s Southwest border representative responsible for coordinating federal law enforcement on the border from South Texas to Southern California.

Bersin served as chairman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, as California’s secretary of education in the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was appointed to the State Board of Education. He also served as superintendent of public education in San Diego. 

He holds an A.B. in government from Harvard University (magna cum laude) and a J.D. from Yale Law School.



5:30 pm – Reception
6:00 pm – Presentation


Group(s): Mexico Center


Wed, Aug. 24, 2016
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

Event has ended


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005

Doré Commons