Phoenix, Arizona - The Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC), founded in 1959, celebrates its 60th anniversary this week at the Arizona-Mexico Commission 2019 Summit in Phoenix. Throughout the past sixty years, the commission has focused on strengthening Arizona’s relationship with Mexico.
Here are six lesser known facts about the history of the Arizona-Mexico Commission:
- Cross-Border Inspiration. Former Arizona Governor Paul Fannin founded the Arizona-Mexico Commission in 1959. Governor Fannin and the Governor of Sonora at the time, Álvaro Obregón, were inspired to create a permanent committee after attending an Arizona-Sonora International Conference hosted by the University of Arizona and the University of Sonora.
- A New Name. The Arizona-Mexico Commission originally went by the name, “Arizona-Mexico West Coast Trade Commission.” It was not until 1967, eight years after its founding, that former Arizona Governor Jack Williams changed the commission’s name to the “Arizona-Mexico Commission.”
- Establishing Bi-National Committees. In 1972, the Arizona-Mexico Commission welcomed its first female board member, Magaret Lougee. That year, the commission also established formal committees to discuss trade, banking, agriculture, tourism and more. Today, AMC boasts 16 different committees focused on cross-border collaboration.
- Promoting Goodwill. To promote goodwill and trade, the Arizona-Mexico Commission sponsored the air-drop of 5,000 ping pong balls over Hermosillo, Sonora in 1975. Inscribed on the outside of each ball was a message from then Arizona Governor Raúl Castro: “Para Sonora, Con Saludos.” One thousand of those balls contained $12,000 worth of gift certificates for Arizona businesses.
- Playing In The Arizona-Sonora Bowl. Arizona and Sonora high schools competed in the first Arizona-Sonora Bowl Football Game in conjunction with Super Bowl XXX in 1996. Sonora beat Arizona. In 2008, Arizona and Sonora high school students competed again, this time in the Arizona-Sonora Bowl II which lined up with Super Bowl XLII. The tables turned, and Arizona beat Sonora.
- Cross-Border Representation. In 1998, the Arizona-Mexico Commission advocated for the U.S. Consulate in Hermosillo to be designated as a U.S. Consulate General and for the establishment of a U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Sonora. The move made Sonora the only state in all of Mexico with two U.S. consulates.