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Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations gives high award to two UT Austin scholars

The “Ohtli” Medal, the highest award granted the Mexican government outside of that country, has been awarded jointly to Professors Victoria Rodríguez and Peter Ward of The University of Texas at Austin. The award was presented to the professors Wednesday (Jan. 17) by Mexican Consul General Rogelio Gasca Neri.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The “Ohtli” Medal, the highest award granted the Mexican government outside of that country, has been awarded jointly to Professors Victoria Rodríguez and Peter Ward of The University of Texas at Austin. The award was presented to the professors Wednesday (Jan. 17) by Mexican Consul General Rogelio Gasca Neri.

Gasca said the “Ohtli” Medal is awarded by Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations to those whose work, research and academic or cultural services are deemed to have contributed significantly to the furtherance of U.S.-Mexico relations. Rodriguez and Ward are professors in the University’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and Rodriguez also is a vice-provost at UT Austin.

He said Ward and Rodriguez, who are husband and wife, have worked together on many academic projects through the years focusing on Mexico’s social problems and solutions, its history and its politics. The Mexican government wanted to give recognition to the work they have accomplished and published.

Gasca said the joint award to the UT Austin professors is the fourth such award presented in Austin since the ministry began the award program about 20 years ago. The previous recipients from Austin were former Austin City Councilman Gus Garcia, Texas Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin, and Victor Niemeyer, whose scholarly works have included reviewing the history and constitutional founders of Mexico.

Gasca said the UT Austin professors were nominated by and chosen for the award by a selection committee in Mexico City, which considered numerous candidates from throughout the world. He said only about five such awards are presented annually by the ministry.

Ward said, “What makes this award particularly special is that it is made in recognition of our joint work. We teach together, we’ve done a lot of research together, we publish together. Of course, we also do a lot of work independently.”

Rodriguez said she and Ward “feel deeply honored” and consider the award a great recognition of their scholarly work.”