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A Conversation with Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho

September 30, 2021

Juan José Gómez-Camacho,
Mexico's ambassador to Canada
Kent E. Calder, Interim Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS

On September 30, 2021, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) hosted Juan José Gómez-Camacho, Mexico's ambassador to Canada, as part of the Dean's Forum. Johns Hopkins SAIS Interim Dean Kent E. Calder delivered opening remarks and moderated the conversation. Ambassador Gómez-Camacho started the session by recounting his time as Mexico’s ambassador to the United Nations, European Union in Brussels, and Singapore. Through these regionally diverse postings, he gained insight into how "humans are all similar, and the world is increasingly the same." The ambassador then offered tips that were useful for both diplomacy and human development at large. He explained that "building the capacity and sensibility to connect and respect with the world," would open the bridges of friendship, development, and peace.
Ambasador Gómez-Camacho continued the conversation by discussing the role of embassies in the 21st century, noting how "embassies are about transmitting values." He thus was optimistic that technology will not make in-person diplomacy redundant. He then spoke of some of his work, and how he often engages with grassroots organizations, business professionals, and universities to educate, inspire, and see how Mexico can further enhance its international image and trade relations. The ambassador added that "this was the real function of diplomacy." He also warned the audience not to fall into the trap of feeling "all-important," as much of modern humanity does, and how "international relations are illusive, history is not linear but abrupt."
Finally, the ambassador addressed what he believes are the most pressing issues facing humanity today: Inequality, climate change, and global health. Following the conversation with Interim Dean Calder, Ambassador Gómez-Camacho participated in a question-and-answer session with attendees in which he discussed the role of migration between Latin America and the United States and the influx of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico. He noted the difficulties in the "moving border" between the U.S. and Mexico, as the water flows of the Rio Grande shift things around, as well as U.S. – China relations. The ambassador concluded the event by mentioning the “importance of cultural diplomacy in mitigating differences around the world."