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Latin American Expert Shannon O'Neil to Speak at Doane

The Hansen Speakers Series will start out strong with its first guest Shannon O’Neil at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 in Heckman Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.

O’Neil is a Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank and publisher.

“She is incredibly engaging,” said Sam Ritchie ’14, chair of the Hansen Leadership Advisory Board. “When she speaks, she commands attention.”

The advisory board helps select the speakers in the series every year. The group thought O’Neil was a good choice because she would appeal to students from a variety of majors, including political science, business, sociology and psychology, given the work she has done.

O’Neil has expertise in U.S.-Latin America relations, trade, energy and immigration. She is also the author of “Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States and the Road Ahead.” The book analyzes the political, economic and social transformations Mexico has undergone over the last three decades and why these changes matter for the United States.

Ritchie said she hoped students get a better understanding about relations between Mexico and the U.S. from O’Neil. “I think a lot of people have a misunderstanding about the relations between the two countries,” she said. “I think (O’Neil) will enlighten a lot of people.”

O’Neil is an incredible leader. She has testified before Congress on U.S. policy toward Mexico, is a frequent commentator on major television and radio programs, as well as had her work published in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and USA Today, among others.

O’Neil’s other achievements include being a Fulbright scholar; a Justice, Welfare and Economics fellow at Harvard University; and a professor of Latin American politics at Columbia University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, a Master of Arts in international relations from Yale University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University.

O’Neil will talk about US-Mexican relations as well as her own experiences.