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Governor Richardson to join Baker Institute as senior fellow for Latin America

Richardson to join Baker Institute as senior fellow for Latin America

HOUSTON — (September 28, 2011) – Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has been named the senior fellow for Latin America at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. In this role, Richardson will provide substantive direction to the Baker Institute Latin America Initiative by enhancing the program’s policy focus on crucial issues, including immigration, natural resources and energy, as well as the emerging roles of key countries such as Brazil.

“The Honorary Chair of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, James A. Baker, III and I are particularly pleased with Governor Richardson’s appointment. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Bill Richardson distinguished himself on the world stage as a leader, policymaker, governor, and diplomat. His expertise will take the institute’s Latin America program to a new level of accomplishment by incorporating his background in diplomacy and public policy,” said Edward P. Djerejian, the Founding Director of the Baker Institute.

Most recently, Richardson served as the 30th governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. He is currently a special envoy for the Organization of American States focusing on immigration and economic development in the Western Hemisphere. He is currently chairman of APCO Worldwide’s executive advisory service Global Political Strategies (GPS).

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, Richardson represented New Mexico’s third congressional district until 1997. He then became the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In 1998, he was confirmed as secretary of energy in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet. Throughout his career in public office, Richardson has been tasked with negotiating for the release of U.S. citizens held in countries with which the United States had difficult relations, including Iraq, North Korea and Sudan. Richardson grew up in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish.

“I have long been interested and involved in issues pertaining to Latin America. I am looking forward to collaborating closely with the Baker Institute to improve and expand public policy on hemispheric concerns of mutual interest to the United States and the countries of Latin America. The Baker Institute’s affiliation with Rice University, combined with its location in Houston and that city’s close ties to Latin America, make it a natural to lead this effort” Richardson said.

The Baker Institute Latin America Initiative brings together leading stakeholders from government, the private sector, academia and civil society to exchange views on pressing issues of importance to the region. The program also sponsors research, publications and regular forums addressing social, political and economic issues affecting the entire hemisphere, as well as the relationship between the United States and Latin American countries. Through the Americas Project, it brings together the next generation of Latin American leaders. Recent studies include “The Future of Oil in Mexico” and an in-depth look at U.S.-Mexico border economies.

As the institute’s senior fellow for Latin America, Governor Richardson will work with Baker Institute fellow in political science Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies at Rice University; Nicolas Shumway, Rice University dean of humanities and Baker Institute Rice scholar; and program director Erika de la Garza.

Richardson’s appointment as a senior fellow was effective July 1.


Since its inception in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy has established itself as one of the leading nonpartisan public policy think tanks in the country. With a strong track record of achievement based on the work of Rice University faculty and the institute’s endowed

fellows and scholars, the institute conducts important research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

Located on a 285-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its “unconventional wisdom.” With 3,485 undergraduates and 2,275 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is less than 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to

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