8th Annual Academic Conference "Free Trade in the Americas" April 24-25

The dizzying array of critical issues facing the Western Hemisphere as the global economy continues its emergence will be the focus of a conference at Texas A&M International University Thursday and Friday, April 24-25.

TAMIU's Center for Study of Western Hemispheric Trade will hold its 8th Annual Conference "Free Trade in the Americas" in the Western Hemispheric Trade Center with researchers coming from throughout the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

Virginia Vincent, associate director of the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, said the Conference will offer participants and presenters an opportunity to closely analyze contemporary forces in the Western Hemisphere in respect to the development of the global economy.

"The goal of this Conference is to discuss and explore the issues of free trade in the Western Hemisphere and give each participant a chance to present their latest research on the topic. We will be identifying, analyzing and discussing these critical issues with an impressive group of scholars and researchers," Vincent said.

Among keynote speakers are Dr. William Gruben, vice president for the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank; Dr. Jorge Saba Arbache from the Universidade do Brasília in Brazil, and Dr. John Adams , executive director of the Laredo Development Foundation.

A kick-off event will take place Wednesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. in WHTC room 116 featuring former Laredo Mayor Aldo Tatangelo. Tatangelo will speak on "Leading Change in Laredo." The event is open to the public and free of charge.

The Conference begins Thursday, April 24 at 8 a.m. in WHTC room 116. Welcoming remarks by Dr. Antonio Rodríguez, associate dean of the College of Business Administration and interim director of the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, will be followed by a scheduled welcome to the city by the Honorable Mayor Betty Flores.

Dr. William Gruben will be keynote speaker for the opening session. At 10:30, Dr. Michael Landeck, TAMIU professor of marketing, will present and participate in a panel discussion entitled "Free Trade Zones." The noon luncheon in WHTC 111 will feature keynoter Dr. John Adams, speaking on "Latin American Free Trade."

From 1:45 to 3:15, academic presentations on issues related to trade in the Americas will take place in rooms WHTC 103 and 104 respectively. At 3:30, a panel of TAMIU faculty members including Dr. Phoebe Godfrey and Dr. Randall Parish will be lead by Dr. Michael Yoder in a discussion entitled "Social Science Perspective on Free Trade in the Americas" in WHTC room 103.

To end the first day of the Conference, a dinner for registered participants and their guests will take place at Hotel La Posada's Philip V room at 7:30 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the University's Guitar Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Gilberto Soto and the Ballet Folklorico under the direction of Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia.

The Conference reopens at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 25 with a welcome and introduction by Dr. Pedro Albuquerque, TAMIU assistant professor of economics, of the keynote speaker Dr. Jorge Saba Arbache, who will address NAFTA and the labor market in Latin America and Brazil in room WHTC 111. A half hour break at 10 a.m. will be followed with academic sessions 3, 4, and 5 in rooms WHTC 103, 104 and 126 respectively.

At noon, the luncheon will feature a speaker to be announced.

Registration for the event is $235 for participants presenting research. Members of the community are invited to attend the various keynote speeches, panel presentations and research presentations at a substantially reduced fee.

Interested individuals can attend any number of sessions and one meal for $25 or one entire day and all meals that day for $55. The Thursday evening reception is an additional $35 per person.

For more information, please contact Virginia Vincent at 326.2827, e-mail vvincent@tamiu.edu or visit offices in WHTC room 203H.

University Spring semester hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu