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In light of recent concerns about desperate measures taken by vigilantes and armed self-defense groups in rural Mexico, a new book, Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, provides a timely effort to evaluate the constructive responses of Mexican society in the face of years of crime and violence.

We spoke with two of the book’s contributors during their recent visit to the Wilson Center. The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico Project jointly produced the book.


Emily Edmonds-Poli is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of San Diego. She earned her PhD in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. She was awarded a Fulbright-Garcia Robles fellowship in 1998-1999 and a Ford Foundation fellowship in 1999-2000. During the 2000-2001 academic year she was a fellow at UCSD’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies. Edmonds-Poli’s research focuses on decentralization and democratization in Mexico and the ability of local governments to exercise fiscal autonomy from state and federal authorities. Her recent book Contemporary Mexican Politics (co-authored with David Shirk) provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview and analysis of the Mexican political system (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012).

Matthew C. Ingram is an Assistant Professor, University of Albany, SUNY. His research examines legal and justice sector reforms in Latin America, primarily in Brazil and Mexico.  He holds a law degree (J.D. 2006) and a Ph.D. in political science (2009), both from the University of New Mexico. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Albany, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He was born and raised in Mexico and speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more