The Irish-Mexican Connection: A Model for Coalition Building

Alison Joy Harrington :

Mentor: Carlos Munoz, Jr., Professor of Ethnic Studies

Alison's Peace and Conflict Studies Senior Honors Thesis will examine the specific coalition-building efforts that have taken place historically and in the present between Irish and Mexican peoples. Alison will travel this summer both to Mexico and to Northern Ireland in order to meet with Irish nationals who are involved in the struggle for indigenous people's rights in Chiapas. In addition, she will be researching coalition work in the United States between Irish Americans and Mexican Americans, looking particularly at the San Patricios, an organization that commemorates Saint Patrick's (San Patricios) Brigade, an Irish-American regiment in the American-Mexican War who deserted the U.S. Army to fight on the side of the Mexicans. Through this specific case of interethnic coalition-building, Alison hopes to uncover a useful paradigm for understanding how people of differing ethnic and racial backgrounds can find common ground through a strong civil society based on non-governmental organizations.