About the Center for North American Studies

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994 has accelerated the economic and social integration of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Today, North America has a larger market than the European Union, and more than half the trade of the three countries with the world is with each other. The two largest trading partners of the United States are its two North American neighbors. Yet, despite the significant and growing importance of North America as a regional entity, most people in the three countries do not view themselves as belonging to any entity larger than their country, and the three governments have not established a framework or structure for addressing regional issues.

North America is a unique region in that it seeks to integrate a middle-income developing country with two industrialized countries. However, setting up a smooth process of integration while reassuring those who feel threatened economically or culturally poses a difficult challenge, one not addressed either in NAFTA or since then.

The three goals of the Center are to:

  • provide an educational experiment to (1) teach students about Canada, Mexico, and the United States and (2) create a model for North American regional studies centers to be replicated throughout higher education;

  • leverage the resources of the Washington, D.C. community to provide policy engagement in the area of North American issues; and

  • contribute policy-oriented research and publications on North American issues by scholars and students in the three countries.

Robert A. PastorRobert A. Pastor is Co-Director of the Center for North American Studies and Professor of International Relations at American University. Dr. Pastor established the Center in 2002 and is dedicated to challenging students, faculty, and policy-makers to imagine a continental future. Full Bio | Curriculum Vitae




Amb. Anthony QuaintonAmb. Anthony Quainton is Co-Director of the Center for North American Studies and has been Diplomat in Residence at American University since the fall of 2003. Full Bio