Trouble in the Borderlands

Two Tuesdays, September 27 and October 4, 12 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. | St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, The Parlor, 3471 Westheimer. You are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch; we will provide bottled water and cookies.

Some 285 miles from Houston is one of the world’s most challenging and volatile troublespots:  the border between Texas and Mexico.  Two scholars will tell us about the mysterious and treacherous border area - its smuggling history, current violence, and future.

September 27: George T. Diaz 

"Smuggling, Violence, and Business on the U.S.-Mexico Border: Past and Present"

Smuggling-related violence along the border dominates the news, but investigators often fail to mention that smuggling, trade, and business often blur at the border.  Dr. Diaz will discuss the complexities of smuggling along the border from petty smuggling to the drug war zone of today.

Dr .Diaz is the Visiting Scholar for the 2011-12 academic year and an adjunct assistant professor in the department of history, University of  Houston.  Dr. Diaz, a native of Laredo, where some of his high school classmates are now involved in the drug trade, has a doctorate in history from Southern Methodist University.  He recently served on the faculty in history and American studies at South Texas College in McAllen.

October 4: Joan Neuhaus Schaan 

"Security in the Borderlands: Understanding the Carnage"

Mexico's wave of drug trafficking, murders and corruption poses actual and potential problems for Texas and other border states. Ms. Schaan, who is actively involved in formulating responses to the danger, will discuss the historic evolution of Mexico's problems, the current situation and what policies she believes we need long-term to protect the United States.

Ms. Schaan’s two recent publications, “Intimidation Is Spilling over the Border with Mexico” and “Mexico Violence Moving Close to the Tipping Point” emphasize her expertise on homeland security and terrorism. She is a fellow in homeland security and terrorism at the Baker Institute, Rice University, and serves as director of the Houston-Harris County Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council, a joint effort of Houston, Harris County, and Rice University.  As an officer with the U.S. Naval Reserve, she became an anti-terrorism training officer for her squadron and was responsible for the force protection briefings for deployments to the Americas and Pacific.



Finishing up Spring 2018! 

Mexico City: Past, Present, Future
April 3-9
And our travelers are there in the present!


Gorbachev: His Life and Times
Monday, April 16, 6:30-8:00 P.M. | The Junior League, 1811 Briar Oaks Ln, 77027
Co-sponsored with World Affairs Council of Houston


Behind the Pages: A Conversation with William Middleton 
Tuesday, April 24, 6:30-8:00 P.M.


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.