At a moment when Mexico has become an integral player in U.S. border and migrant control operations and the country is transforming its labor laws, the appointment of Gaspar Rivera-Salgado as director of the UCLA Center for Mexican Studies this summer was a fortuitous pairing of expertise and subject matter.
The migrant labor expert is now drawing on his extensive personal and institutional contacts in the U.S. and Mexico to create public programming at the center.
“My approach is to understand and look at Mexico from a binational, transnational perspective because more and more, we need to explain Mexico to a U.S. audience and to explain the Mexican-based community in the U.S. to Mexico,” said Rivera-Salgado, who has been a member of the UCLA Labor Center since 2006.
For three decades, Rivera-Salgado has tracked the impact of migration on indigenous communities in Mexico and the lives of indigenous Mexican migrant workers in the U.S. He has also long been engaged in transnational labor organizing and collaborative learning among workers in the U.S., Mexico and other countries around the world.