NPT DC: Reyes fetes Cook, Reyes, Sarukhan at Border Issues Conference
A news release from Wednesday (March 18, 2009) from the office of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, with his prepared remarks introducing Mexico Ambassador Arturo Saruhkan, El Paso Mayor John Cook, and Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz at 13th Annual Border Issues Conference in Washington, D.C.:
“Good Evening. I’d like to welcome you to the 13th Annual Border Issues Conference reception. For the past 13 years, the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, and my office have organized this event to bring together scholars, business leaders, advocacy groups, and legislators to address some of the most pressing issues on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I thank my good friend, Al Zapanta and his staff for their hard work in putting together this event. I also want to thank Congressman Michael McCaul who is the Co-Chair of this year’s border conference, and all of the panelists who are giving their time and effort to participate in our roundtables and forum.
“I also want to acknowledge my congressional colleagues who were able to attend tonight’s event.
“We are here to celebrate the hard work and dedication of three great individuals. I am pleased to announce that we are honored to have the Mexican Ambassador to the United States Arturo Saruhkan, El Paso Mayor John Cook, and Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz. Welcome and thank you for being with us this evening.
“I have the pleasure of working with these three men on a regular basis. They are critical to our work on border issues and tonight we will honor them for all their efforts.
“Before we get underway though, I’d like to give Congressman McCaul an opportunity to provide some openings remarks. Congressman McCaul is a member of the House’s Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Science and Technology Committees. I am grateful that he was able to serve as Co-Chairman of this year’s border conference.
Ambassador Arturo Saruhkan
“I would now like to take some time to introduce our first honored guest for this evening, the Honorable Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the United States.
“I have had the privilege of working closely with Ambassador Sarukhan for a couple of years now. He has been a key figure in strengthening the U.S.-Mexico relationship and brings the kind of leadership and vision that is necessary to address the longstanding issues affecting both our countries.
“Ambassador of Mexico to the United States since January 2007, Mr. Sarukhan was previously foreign policy coordinator for then presidential candidate Felipe Calderón, elected President of Mexico in 2006.
“Since 1994, Mr. Sarukhan’s diplomatic career included postings as Mexico’s Consul-General in New York City, with the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs and as Mexico’s representative at the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“He is also a professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), and has taught at the Mexican National Defense College, the Inter-American Defense College and the U.S. National Defense University.
“Mr. Sarukhan has a bachelor’s degree from El Colegio de México (1988) and, as Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow, he earned his master’s degree in U.S. Foreign Policy from Washington’s Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (1991).
“He shares an appreciation for the cultural and social ties of our border communities and is 100% invested in improving U.S.-Mexico cooperation.
“Please join me in welcoming my good friend, the Honorable Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the United States.
El Paso Mayor John Cook
“Our second honored guest this evening is the Honorable John Cook, Mayor of the great City of El Paso, Texas.
“A teacher, businessman, veteran, civic leader, and close friend, Mayor Cook is no stranger to any of us in this room. He is the type of person we need at the head of any government, and I’ve had the privilege of working beside him for many years now.
“Having been elected the 48th mayor of El Paso in 2005, Mayor Cook has taken a critical role working with state and federal officials to address the ongoing violence on the border. Prior to serving as Mayor, John served as a member of the El Paso City Council. He was also a proud member of the United States Army serving as a special agent in military intelligence in Vietnam.
“Mayor Cook is a proud alumnus of the University of Texas at El Paso. He is married to his beautiful wife Tram Cook and has six children and seven grandchildren.
“Please join me in welcoming my good friend, the Honorable John Cook, Mayor of the great City of El Paso.
Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz
“Our third honored guest this evening is the Honorable Jose Reyes Ferriz, Mayor of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
“Elected as Mayor of Ciudad Juarez in 2007, Mayor Ferriz has shown great determination, leadership, and perseverance in dealing with the spiraling violence across the border. Mayor Reyes Ferriz comes from a family that values public service. His father also served as Mayor of Ciudad Juarez in the 1980s. In this way, Mayor Reyes Ferriz continues this family tradition of public service.
“With daily headlines focusing on the negative aspects of Ciudad Juarez, Mayor Ferriz serves as a welcome reminder of the strong and enduring relationship we have with our neighbor and ally, Mexico.
“We are grateful that Mayor Ferriz is able to join us this evening as we acknowledge the incredible difficulties for the people of his city.
“We honor him tonight for his steadfast commitment to persevere and the courage he has shown to lead his people.
“Please join me in welcoming, the Honorable Jose Reyes Ferriz, Mayor of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.”