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Foreign policy in focus at Domenici conference

Gary Locke

LAS CRUCES – The annual Domenici public policy conference will delve into tough foreign policy, education and workforce issues, hot button topics in a country grappling with global conflicts from Mexico to the Asian Pacific.

“As we see, so much of what happens in the rest of the world impacts America,” said featured speaker Gary Locke, a former U.S. ambassador to China and governor of Washington state.

The annual conference, organized by The Domenici Institute at New Mexico State University, is celebrating its 10th year. The institute’s mission is to continue retired New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici’s legacy and “build understanding of regional and national public policy issues.”

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Domenici, 85, is not expected to attend since he is recovering from a recent medical procedure. He’s expected to watch a webcast of the conference and send a message that will be read by a student.

Foreign policy was chosen as a topic for this year’s conference before the 2016 presidential election, and it was decided to focus on three countries – China, Mexico and Russia. All are now at the center of policy decisions, heated debate and global events.

The former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, is among the speakers of particular interest for New Mexico and other border states. The promise to build a wall and to end or renegotiate NAFTA are priorities for the Trump administration and a topic of interest in southern New Mexico.

“We’re very concerned in this part of the world about NAFTA,” said Garrey Carruthers, New Mexico State University chancellor and a former New Mexico governor. “It’s very timely and topical that we talk about the trade agreement.”

Carruthers said the conference will highlight another critical area for New Mexico, equity in education and preparing the future workforce.

Pedro A. Noguera

Pedro Noguera, distinguished professor at the graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, will discuss the role of schools in teaching students of diverse backgrounds.

“We’ve become a society so divided based on income and race,” he said. “We have so many people now just barely making it.”

Noguera will focus on the need to improve the capacity of schools to teach all students.

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“If you don’t have an educated populace, you’re not going to attract employers,” he said.

Other speakers include New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Celina Bussey, who will focus on workplace readiness, and Ken Eisner, a senior manager for Amazon Web Services’ worldwide education programs, who will talk about “Cloud Enabled Education for a 21st Century Workforce.”

Eisner said growth of the cloud is creating new employment opportunities.

“However, the skills and competencies required for these jobs require us to rethink education and industry’s collaborative role in preparing workers for this evolution. I’m looking forward to discussing these critical issues this week.”

An estimated 1,100 people are expected at the event held at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Nearly half are students from NMSU. A panel of 22 students nominated by public universities from across New Mexico will ask the speakers questions.

“We have so much more in common. Let’s not overlook the areas of common interest and need for collaboration.”

Locke is one of three former U.S. ambassadors who are featured speakers during the two-day conference that opens Wednesday with a keynote address by former U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar. Lugar served in the Senate for six terms and is a past chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The annual conference, organized by The Domenici Institute at New Mexico State University, is celebrating its 10th year. The institute’s mission is to continue retired New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici’s legacy and “build understanding of regional and national public policy issues.”

Domenici, 85, is not expected to attend since he is recovering from a recent medical procedure. He’s expected to watch a webcast of the conference and send a message that will be read by a student.

Foreign policy was chosen as a topic for this year’s conference before the 2016 presidential election, and it was decided to focus on three countries – China, Mexico and Russia. All are now at the center of policy decisions, heated debate and global events.

The former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, is among the speakers of particular interest for New Mexico and other border states. The promise to build a wall and to end or renegotiate NAFTA are priorities for the Trump administration and a topic of interest in southern New Mexico.

“We’re very concerned in this part of the world about NAFTA,” said Garrey Carruthers, New Mexico State University chancellor and a former New Mexico governor. “It’s very timely and topical that we talk about the trade agreement.”

Carruthers said the conference will highlight another critical area for New Mexico, equity in education and preparing the future workforce.

Pedro Noguera, distinguished professor at the graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, will discuss the role of schools in teaching students of diverse backgrounds.

“We’ve become a society so divided based on income and race,” he said. “We have so many people now just barely making it.”

Noguera will focus on the need to improve the capacity of schools to teach all students.

“If you don’t have an educated populace, you’re not going to attract employers,” he said.

Other speakers include New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Celina Bussey, who will focus on workplace readiness, and Ken Eisner, a senior manager for Amazon Web Services who will talk about “Cloud Enabled Education for a 21st Century Workforce.”

Eisner said growth of the cloud is creating new employment opportunities.

“However, the skills and competencies required for these jobs require us to rethink education and industry’s collaborative role in preparing workers for this evolution. I’m looking forward to discussing these critical issues this week.”

An estimated 1,100 people are expected at the event held at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Nearly half are students from NMSU. A panel of 22 students nominated by public universities from across New Mexico will ask the speakers questions.

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