Visiting Scholar Named to Mexico City Mayoral Council

OscarMartinezProfessor Oscar Martinez, who spent the last year as a visiting scholar at the Boston College School of Social Work, has been named by the mayor of Mexico City to an important council of six scholars convened to advise the city’s top office on social development. Martinez was appointed counselor on social policy and poverty; his tenure will last until 2017.

Responsibilities in his new role will include: defining and measuring inequality and poverty in Mexico City, classifying the degree of social development in various sectors of the city, and measuring the city’s progress with regards to social rights.

A key project will be to improve upon existing methodology to better serve the greater Mexico City metropolitan area on the whole. Currently, many of the 10 million people living in the surrounding areas to the Federal District (the city’s official borders) are underserved and under-represented. Martinez hopes to find new ways to reach these populations, who are living at the margins of one of our world’s megacities.

“I hope to be able to contribute to the improvement of welfare and poverty, and propose new programs that will improve people’s lives,” Martinez tells BC Social Work.

Martinez visited BC from the Universidad Iberoamericana (UI) in Mexico City, where he is a professor in the Department of Political and Social Sciences. During his time in Chestnut Hill, Martinez worked closely with Professor Margaret Lombe to secure funding for a research project entitled The Measurement of Social Welfare in Mexico: A Proposal for Analysis of Mexico’s Regions.

“The sabbatical at Boston College was an extraordinary experience,” explains Martinez, “not only for access to the great infrastructure and databases that can be accessed at BC, but also for the ability to interact with various social welfare specialists, whose feedback has been extremely valuable in a project on measuring social welfare in Mexico that I proposed as part of my sabbatical.

“It has been a time of academic growth, and has provided me with ideas for my courses, directions for my future research, and actions to propose within the council that I now belong to. I am thankful for the support I received at BC, and for a great year of learning.”

BC maintains a relationship with the Universidad Iberoamericana as a partner in its International Doctoral Program in Social Welfare, where Martinez is on the Technical Advisory Board, evaluating potential PhD candidates. He also teaches a course in Mexico City that the UI students take prior to coming to Boston to spend a year in residence at BC. Learn more about this unique partnership program that is cultivating scholars of social welfare in Latin America.

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