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Global Migration Education Initiative (GMEI)

This collaborative project between San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of Michigan (U-M) aims to provide innovative professional development opportunities for K-12 and Community College Educators in California and Michigan. It is supported by a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the US Department of Education.

“Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy” Workshop Series

The Global Migration and Inclusive Pedagogy (GMIP) Workshops bring K-12 and Community College educators and school administrators to the US-Mexico border at the San Diego-Tijuana artery in order to better understand global migration flows as well as inclusive strategies for teaching in increasingly diverse classrooms.

Tijuana and the San Diego/Tijuana region (SANTI) serve as a microcosm of global migration flows, a place where people of exceptionally varied backgrounds unite in one space and collectively exemplify the economic and political push and pull factors that drive global migration. Who are the people arriving to the U.S./Mexico border via Tijuana, who is passing through, and who stays? Why do they make the migratory choices that they do? And what are the effects on the various sending, receiving, and migrant communities on both sides of the US/Mexico border? Our programming seeks to address these and other questions as it brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts on the cultures, histories, and societies of the global populations who journey to Tijuana and, in the process, transform the city in multiple ways.

Our workshops draw on the area studies expertise of faculty and staff at SDSU, U-M, and partner institutions in Tijuana to teach about the many people who migrate through or to Tijuana from various locations around the world, while expanding understandings of how to teach area studies itself. We offer content lectures, interactive panels, workshops, and experiential components on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border that provide insight into the many points of origin of migrants to Tijuana, seeking to explain the histories and cultures of sending communities.

*Programming is currently on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We intend to host an in-person workshop in the Summer of 2022*

U-M’s area studies centers have strong, deep relationships with social science, history, foreign language and ESL teachers in the Ann Arbor Public School district as well as with some from other local districts and community college faculty. In recent years, many of these Michigan K-12 teachers and community college faculty have expressed an urgent need to be better able to integrate students of extremely diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds into Michigan life, and to respond to students’ own awareness of migration to Michigan. We seek to prepare teachers to understand global migration flows, well-established and newly-established diasporas, and implications for the future in order to create area and global studies curriculum that is important to US teachers and students.

SDSU has a strong presence in K-12 education and among migrant and refugee populations in the border region. The College of Education (CoE) assumed oversight of Herbert Hoover High School in 1998 as part of the City Heights Educational Initiative. Under the guidance of the CoE of SDSU, the high school was able to meet its California state accountability target in 2000, the first time it had done so in more than 15 years. SDSU remains an active collaborator and sponsors the SDSU Talent Search program. The Program, funded by the U. S. Dept. of Education, encourages and assists middle and high school students to pursue post-secondary educational programs. SDSU produces the greatest number of teachers in the region including many local, state, and national teachers of the year, as well as several school district superintendents and community college presidents. In addition, SDSU has produced the most diverse array of counselors, therapists, and school psychologists of any university in the nation. The teacher education program is renowned for its focus on special education, bilingual education, math and science. Participation in this program will round out these areas of specialization by providing much needed professional learning opportunities on area studies and in creating opportunities to understand the diversity of the border region as reflective of global migration patterns. 

Through the professional networks of the staff and faculty at both institutions, SDSU’s Center for Latin American Studies and U-M’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies have collaborated on outreach programming since 2017. With the partnership of SDSU’s College of Education, International Affairs, and Center for Equity & Biliteracy Education Research (CEBER), and the affiliation of UM's Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and San Diego County Office of Education the Global Migration Education Initiative is the formalization of our strong partnership and commitment to creating innovative learning opportunities for educators at multiple levels. 

Alana Rodriguez

Alana Rodriguez is the Academic Program Manager for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan. She joined the University of Michigan in January 2017, bringing administrative and area studies experience from her previous position as the Administrative Coordinator of the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU). She received an M.A. in Latin American Studies and an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from SDSU. Her research interests focus on Cuban reproductive health care policy and practice. Her thesis research was compiled over two summers in Havana, Cuba and explored  declining fertility rates in Cuba and in particular the impact of Cuba’s socialist policies on reproductive choice and family planning. She received a B.A. in International Business at San Diego State University and a Licenciatura en Negocios Internacionales from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara.

Victoria Langland

Victoria Langland holds a joint position in History and Romance Languages and Literatures and is currently serving as the Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Brazil Initiative at the University of Michigan.  She specializes in twentieth-century Latin American history, especially Brazil and the Southern Cone, and writes about gender, dictatorship, the uses of memory, student and other social movements, and, more generally, the intersections of culture and power. She is the author of Speaking of Flowers: Student Movements and the Making and Remembering of 1968 in Military Brazil (Duke University Press, 2013) and the co-editor of The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics, 2nd edition, (Duke University Press, 2019), and Monumentos, Memoriales y Marcas Territoriales (Siglo XXI, 2003). Langland's current research project is a history of breastfeeding in Brazil that looks at how cultural understandings, public policies, formula marketing and other factors have transformed popular beliefs and practices about infant nutrition and women’s bodies over time.  Before coming to the University of Michigan, she was on the faculty at the University of California, Davis and at Lafayette College.

Dr. Ramona Perez

Ramona L. Pérez is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University. She also is graduate faculty in the joint doctoral program in Global Health and for the Department of Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on food, nutrition, and health among marginalized populations; adolescent and youth identity and empowerment among transnational, Mexican and Central American migrant youth; gendered and ethnic marginalization and the state; rural to urban community growth; the political economy of tourism in Oaxaca; and the gendered and moral nature of community economies in Mexico. Her current work spans the US/Mexico border, southern Mexico, Nicaragua, and Brazil. She conducts a summer qualitative research field school, directs internship opportunities for graduate students in the border region and throughout Latin America, and coordinates the Mixtec and Zapotec language programs at SDSU.  A few of her recent publications include: If you don’t use chiles from Oaxaca is it still Mole Negro? Shifts in Traditional Practices, Techniques and Ingredients of Cuisine Among Oaxacan Migrants (2015), TecnoEstética Translocal y Alimento en MexAmérica (Translocal Technoaesthetics and Food in MexAmerica) 2014; Crossing the Border From Boyhood to Manhood: Male Youth Experiences of Crossing, Loss, and Structural Violence as Unaccompanied Minors (2012); Good and Bad Death: Perspectives of Mexican American Older Adults [with E. Ko] (2012); Navigating the Slipstream of Changing Food Environments: Transnational Perspectives on Dietary Behaviors and Implications for Nutrition Counseling” [with M. Handley] (2012); and Savoring the Taste of Home: The pervasiveness of lead poisoning from ceramic and its implications in transnational care packages (2010). She received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside in 1997.

Cristina Alfaro

Cristina Alfaro is a professor in the College of Education at San Diego State University (SDSU). She also serves as Associate Vice President for International Affairs. She earned her doctorate degree, in Teacher Preparation for Multilingual Learners, from the Claremont and San Diego State University joint graduate program. Dr. Alfaro teaches credential and graduate level courses where her work focuses on preparing teachers in the area of English language and Biliteracy development with a global perspective. She has two decades of experience in directing both local and international teacher education programs in California, Mexico, and Europe. Dr. Alfaro is the recipient of the College of Education 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award. Her background as an elementary biliteracy teacher in ethno and linguistically diverse communities, has served her well in preparing teachers to teach students how to critically read the word and the world.

Alex Fox

Alexandra Fox recently graduated from the Master of Public Health in Environmental Health and the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies program at San Diego State University. Her thesis research focused on assessing bacterial contamination in the U.S. Tijuana River and the Tijuana River Estuary. She received a B.S. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis in 2016. She has previous work experience in the Office of International Affairs at SDSU, responsible for the annual binational RE:BORDER Conference with over 1200 attendees. She was hired in May 2021 by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan to serve as the U-M/SDSU Outreach Collaboration Program Coordinator.


Mordechay, K. & Alfaro , C. (2019). The Binational Context of the Students We Share: What Do Educators on Both Sides of the Border Need to Know? Kappa Delta Pi Record 55:1, 30-35, DOI: 10.1080/00228958.2019.1549438

Alfaro, C., Hernandez, S., Maldonado, S.I., Hopkins, M., & Forbes, C. (2019). Formadores de docentes binacionales y bilingües: A focused teacher preparation program for students we share. California Department of Education. Report Here

Alana Rodriguez, Academic Program Manager for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan
[email protected] 

Alexandra Fox, U-M/SDSU Outreach Collaboration Program Coordinator
[email protected]