At 140 Graduates and Growing, Foreign Diplomat Training Program Proving to be “Powerful Resource”

Sept. 29, 2021

An event highlighting the program was part of a week-long series celebrating the opening of the University’s D.C. Center

This month, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, along with Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) of Mexico, and Instituto Matias Romero (Diplomatic Academy of Mexico) hosted a group in Washington, D.C. for “Diplomats as Legal Liaisons: A New Model for Legal Education,” a hybrid event celebrating the success of the Foreign Diplomat Training Program

A joint venture developed by University of Arizona Law in partnership with the SRE, the program trains diplomats and diplomatic staff on the foundations of U.S. law, enabling them to better advise their citizens living, traveling, and conducting business in the United States. 

Since its launch in 2018, more than 140 professionals have successfully graduated from the program, including consuls general, directors of protection, consular support specialists, and a wide range of ministry officials in the areas of consular affairs, trade, and North American relations. 

Guests at the D.C. event were treated to remarks from University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins; Hon. Esteban Moctezuma, ambassador of Mexico to the United States; Rafael Barceló Durazo, consul general of Mexico in Tucson; Marc Miller, dean of University of Arizona Law, and Teresa Miguel-Stearns, director of the University of Arizona Law Library. Each applauded the collaborative spirit of the program and stressed the need for continued partnerships between the university and Mexico. 

“[The Foreign Diplomat Training Program] has served as a powerful resource of information for Mexican diplomats and officials who have to analyze situations related to criminal law or immigration law in the U.S. every single day,” said Ambassador Moctezuma. “The quality of the program offered and the commitment to the training of our officers has been extraordinary. The collaboration between the Mexican government and the University of Arizona can serve as an encouraging example of what Mexico and the U.S. can accomplish together.”  

“I’m grateful to Ambassador Moctezuma and the diplomatic academy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for having the confidence in the University of Arizona and the James E. Rogers College of Law to deliver this critical educational program to diplomats and professionals of Mexico’s foreign service,” commended President Robbins. “It is exemplary of what we as a land grant university should be doing.” 

Rounding out the event was a panel featuring professors Shefali Milczareck-Desai and Sylvia Lett and the Hon. Guillaume Michel, head of legal affairs at the embassy of Mexico in the United States and a 2020 graduate of the program. The group shared insights and anecdotes on supporting foreign service professionals and how the unique needs of each foreign mission help to shape program curriculum. 

“Our partnership works well because of our collective passion to provide and support professionals with access to high quality education,” noted Chris Gast, director of the Foreign Diplomat Training Program. “This program is successful because of the commitment of dedicated faculty and staff across multiple institutions, without which none of this would be possible.”

The event was part of a week-long series celebrating the opening of the University of Arizona Washington, D.C. Center for Outreach & Collaboration. The D.C. Center was established in 2020 to extend the impact of the university’s research and scholarship efforts. The nearly 14,000-square-foot office space—located at the corner of 13th Street Northwest and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest in Washington, D.C.—serves as an East Coast extension for several university entities, including the College of Law. 

Partnerships Stretching Across the Border

The University of Arizona and the College of Law have deep cultural and historical ties with Mexico, and both have established several far-reaching collaborations with government entities and institutions within the country. 

In addition to the Foreign Diplomat Training Program, University of Arizona Law also offers the Diplomado in Mexican Public Law and Policy, a Spanish-language specialized credential only available at Arizona. 

The college has also partnered with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México to host the first International Congress of Law Librarians in the Americas, and is home to an ever-growing population of Mexican students pursing their Juris Doctor through an advanced admissions path established to make obtaining this credential more accessible for students who have studied law outside of the U.S.