UCLA Celebration in Mexico City Speakers

During the second half of UCLA’s Centennial Celebration, rising COVID concerns caused the postponement of Chancellor Gene Block’s trip to Mexico City. However, the pause came with a promise — that our university would host the event when it was safe to do so.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
6:30–8:30 p.m.

Sofitel Mexico City Reforma
Av. Paseo de la Reforma 297
Mexico City, Mexico 06500

Chancellor Gene Block

A champion of high-quality, accessible public higher education, Gene Block has served as chancellor of UCLA since 2007. Under Chancellor Block’s leadership, UCLA has greatly enhanced its position as a national leader in enrolling undergraduates from low-income backgrounds, traditionally underrepresented in higher education, or among the first in their families to attend college. During his tenure, UCLA has also become the most applied-to university in the nation, has advanced in rankings in nearly every discipline, has significantly deepened its international partnerships and engagement with alumni, and now receives more than $1.6 billion annually in research grants. An expert in neuroscience, Chancellor Block’s current research focuses on the effects of aging on the nervous system and how it impacts biological timing in mammals, including humans. In addition, Chancellor Block holds faculty appointments in psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCLA College.

Jorge E. Ancona ’93
Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director
Office of Alumni Engagement
University of California, Riverside

Jorge Ancona joined the University of California, Riverside as assistant vice chancellor and executive director in 2013. Ancona provides executive leadership to the UCR Alumni Association and its board of directors and is responsible for stewardship of the Alumni Association’s endowment funds and for developing fundraising initiatives for the alumni association and alumni engagement programs to engage its more than 136,000 alumni world-wide.

Ancona joined UC Riverside after more than a decade at the University of California, Irvine where he grew the association’s scholarship endowments from $1.5 million to $4 million; increased the association’s assets from $3.4 million to $8 million; and increased the homecoming program attendance from 150 participants to more than 4,000. He also led the development of the $8 million Newkirk Alumni Center. Prior to his appointment at UC Irvine, Ancona spent eight years in alumni relations at UCLA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and Latin American studies.

Ancona served on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s (CASE) Commission on Alumni Relations from 2013 - 2016 and as a co-chair for CASE’s 2015 and 2016 Senior Alumni Relations Professionals Institutes. He has presented for CASE’s Latin America in 2015, 2017, and 2019, and was a faculty member for two Minority Advancement Institutes in Washington, D.C. He served on the Advisory Committee for CASE’s 2017 Global Summit and as one of two co-chairs leading an advisory group to establish CASE’s Opportunity and Inclusion Center. Additionally, he has been an active member of the Council of Alumni Association Executives (CAAE) from 2004 - 2013 and 2016 - Present. In 2018, Ancona was elected to serve on the CAAE Board of Directors. And was re-elected in 2022 to the CAAE Board of Directors as an Officer of the organization.

Ariadna Guerrero exp. ’23
Current UCLA Student
Geography Major, Community Engagement and Social Change Minor

Ariadna Guerrero is a fourth-year geography major and community engagement and social change minor. A transfer student, she has immersed herself in responsibility at UCLA as a community development intern and residential assistant for the Chicanx/Latinx Living Learning Community for Residential Life. Guerrero’s parents emigrated from Mexico at a young age, and their sacrifices have brought her many eye-opening and rich opportunities as a young adult in America. Her geography major highlights how her environment and cultural roots influence her experience as a Mexican American.

Guerrero has brought awareness and representation to the Chicanx/Latinx community through events such as Noche de Cultura, which is an event that brings together staff and students to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Latin American culture. She has also dedicated herself to supporting the Latinx community in the L.A. area through service learning in CESC (Community Engagement and Social Change), where she worked as an intern for Latino Equality Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the LBGTQ+ youth in Boyle Heights. Guerrero wants to dedicate her career to carving a space for underserved communities and bringing awareness to how “our surroundings and upbringing make us who we are.”

Abel Valenzuela Jr.
Interim Dean
Division of Social Sciences

Abel Valenzuela Jr. was appointed interim dean of UCLA’s social sciences division effective Sept.1, 2022, as the university searches for the division’s next permanent dean. A faculty member since 1994, Valenzuela holds appointments in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies and the labor studies program in the UCLA College division of social sciences, as well as in the department of urban planning in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

He has held several administrative leadership positions, including chairing Chicana/o and Central American studies for six years and directing the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty. He recently stepped down as special advisor to the chancellor on immigration policy after working with the chancellor and an advisory council to safeguard and enhance student success among immigrant, undocumented and international students.

As director of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) for the past six years, he oversaw multiple units: labor studies, the Labor Center, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH), and the Human Resources Round Table (HARRT), which are dedicated to advancing research, teaching, and service on labor and employment issues in Los Angeles and beyond. Under his leadership, the Labor Center and LOSH have generated millions in extramural research grants and contracts. In the fall of 2019, the IRLE also launched the labor studies major for undergraduates — the first of its kind at the University of California — which continues to surpass yearly enrollment goals.

As a leading national expert, Valenzuela continues to frame public and policy conversations on immigrant and low-wage workers. He has published numerous articles and reports on immigrant settlement, labor market outcomes, urban poverty, and inequality. He earned his B.A. from UC Berkeley and his master’s and Ph.D. in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cindy Fan
Vice Provost
International Studies and Global Engagement

C. Cindy Fan is UCLA’s Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement, and is
the first woman and Asian American to hold that position. She is also professor of geography
and formerly associate dean of Social Sciences. As senior international officer (SIO), she
connects the world to UCLA and UCLA to the world, manages the University’s international
partnerships and agreements, represents UCLA globally, promotes international education and
research, and oversees the 27 interdisciplinary research centers and eight degree programs within
the International Institute. She also leads the Global Goal of UCLA’s Strategic Plan.
Dr. Fan was born in Hong Kong and received her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. Her
research focuses on migration and split households, gender, and regional development, and she
has numerous publications including the pioneering book "China on the Move." She is formerly
co-editor of the journals Regional Studies and Eurasian Geography and Economics. Dr. Fan has
received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Scholar Awards from the
Asian Specialty Group and China Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers,
an American Council on Education Fellowship, major grants from the Mellon Foundation, Henry
Luce Foundation and National Science Foundation, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the
University of Bristol.

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