by Joel Reyes
“The best way to understand the world is to really know what’s going on beyond your borders.”
– Alice Kerber Palma
Following the ferocious and exponential rise of the coronavirus epidemic on the world, Consul General Alicia Kerber Palma has seen her and her team working overtime to deal with the issues surrounding COVID-19 between the United States and Mexican borders. The World Affairs Council of Houston had the opportunity to interview General Kerber Palma to talk about the range of initiatives and foreign policies she has been working on between these continental neighbors.
In the beginning of the interview, we get a firmer grasp on how many individuals are truly impacted by the consulate Palma runs. Having jurisdiction in 37 countries, Palma’s consulate works tirelessly to serve the 2 million Mexician-Americans living in these counties. From the hard working individuals in the service industry to those health services and business, the consulate is a place full of resources and call centers to help those who may need it.
Furthermore, Palma gives the WACH and audience a glimpse of all of the issues she is tackling within Houston. For instance, human trafficking is an ongoing issue within the United States, and most especially within Texas. Certain continental routes from Mexico to the United States to Canada are often used by migrants to move from one country to another.
Unfortunately, these routes are perfect opportunities for traffickers to catch these migrants. Palma has been working on strategic operation mechanisms to face these dangerous situations. Another issue she is working on concerns gun safety. Of the 70% of guns entering Mexico, the majority of them are coming from Texas. These guns are entering areas prone to
high violence. Lastly, Palma has also taken a special focus on mental health and domestic violence, two situations that have seen a rise following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arguably, one of the biggest issues Palma has taken into her own hands during her time in diplomacy concerns gender equality. Since the beginning of her career, Palma has made great strides in the journey of attaining equality, especially in diplomatic relations. Firstly, Palma was the first general consul between Houston and Mexico!
As of right now, only 15% of Consul generals are women. She hopes that during and after her time as a general consul, she can continue to inspire other women to take high diplomatic positions, and to increase that percentage. In addition, she helped to enact the first window for the Integral Attention of Women, an organization that specifically caters to the needs of women who may be in dangerous situations or who need resources to become more independent.
From working towards gender inclusivity in government to finding ways to help in serious issues, it is clear that General Consul Palma has an extreme dedication to her job and a passionate desire to help those from all walks of life.
To learn more about General Consul Palma and to see the interview with the World Affairs Council, visit the WACH’s Youtube channel using this link: