Mexico City's Secretary of Economic Development Visits Chicago to Strengthen Relations

May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013
CHICAGO - The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is pleased to bring Salomón Chertorivski Woldenberg, secretary of economic development for Mexico City and Mexico’s former minister of health, to Chicago the week of May 13 to 17. He will meet with Chicago’s civic, business and government leaders to strengthen relations with Mexico.

The Chicago Council is honoring Chertorivski with its 2013 Gus Hart Visiting Fellowship, which recognizes emerging leaders in Latin America who are making outstanding contributions to the economic and social advancement of their countries and brings them to Chicago each year to foster relationships with the city’s leaders.

As secretary of economic development for Mexico City, Chertorivski manages many issues related to trade, investment and urban planning. He is responsible for increasing foreign direct investment opportunities to the city, meeting with city leaders to explore partnerships, creating a healthier and more equal society for residents and better connecting Mexico to the world physically and digitally.

When U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Mexico last week, trade and economic integration were at the top of his agenda. Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner, and as the recipient of over 80 percent of Mexican exports, the United States is Mexico’s largest trading partner. Illinois Governor Quinn also traveled to Mexico last month to promote collaborations in manufacturing, water projects and other trade missions. Mexico is Illinois’ second-largest export market and trade between Illinois and Mexico totaled $15.5 billion in 2012.

Chertorivski is a successful and experienced policymaker with an extensive track record in public service. He most recently served as Mexico’s youngest minister of health. Overseeing an annual budget of $18 billion and 382,000 public employees, he implemented Mexico’s acclaimed universal healthcare coverage program, Seguro Popular, and enrolled more than 52 million Mexican citizens into the program.

This process brought him to Chicago several times as he worked closely with opening health windows at the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago, which supports the nearly 2.5 million persons of Mexican origin living in the 128 counties in three states of the consulate’s jurisdiction. The Chicagoland area alone is home to approximately 1.5 million people of Mexican origin.

Chicago and Mexico City have had Sister City relations since 1991 and face similar challenges as they compete in the global economy. Much like Chicago, Mexico City is a regional hub of commerce, urban vitality, higher education and transportation. With Mexico’s projected economic growth rate of nearly 4 percent annually, the country has emerged as one of the world’s most promising economies. Just as the United States will benefit from stronger relations with its southern neighbor, Chicago has much to gain from stronger relations with Mexico City.

Chertorivski will spend the full week in Chicago meeting with a range of Chicago-based business, civic, government, and media professionals to exchange views between Chicago and Mexico and explore opportunities to strengthen relations on issues of trade, investment, urban planning, education, immigration and technology. He will deliver a public address on “Mexico Rising?” at the 12th Annual Gus Hart Lecture on May 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the Chicago Club, 81 East Van Buren Street.

“The fellowship is an enormous privilege for me personally and a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Chicago and Mexico City,” said Chertorivski. “I really believe that we will construct something that will last for the rest of our lives.”

The Gus Hart Visiting Fellowship, named after Augustin S. Hart, former chairman of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, is endowed by the Hart family to honor Gus Hart’s lifelong interest in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each year the Council awards the fellowship to an emerging Latin American leader who is contributing to the advancement of society through economic, political, and social reform.

“The Chicago Council and the Hart Family are delighted to welcome Salomón to Chicago as our Gus Hart Visiting Fellow,” said Marshall M. Bouton, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “We look forward to further strengthening relations between our two cities.”