Carlos Mesa Baron ’19 is a young man with an expansive view of the world. “My greatest interest is in helping our hemisphere — the Western Hemisphere — so we can have a more stable region,” he says. “I believe in a more prosperous North and South America.”
Currently a Fulbright fellow in Mexico City, Mesa Baron studied international relations and economics in the LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, completed a junior year abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and then spent a month in Seoul, South Korea, learning about East Asian issues.
Mesa Baron has been an internationalist since his very earliest years: Born in Colombia, he came to the United States as a child, growing up mostly in and around Boston. Visits back to Latin America showed him “stark differences in the quality of life there versus the quality of life here.” He began to wonder why.
LMU drew him partly because of values that resembled his own. “Being a man of faith gives me my moral compass,” he says. “I think the mission statement of LMU is quite profound.” The fact that he’s not Catholic wasn’t a problem: “I realized this is where I fit.”
Between studying at the university —what he calls “the proudest days of my life”— and his various educational excursions, Mesa Baron got to see the big picture, the forces at work in the Americas, and how the continents connected. “Much of Latin America,” he says, “is dominated by market failure, vote-buying, and political corruption. This creates problems within the region and internationally, as people flee for better opportunities. I want to help those countries improve their living standards so we don’t have a migrant crisis.”
He hopes to someday work for an international entity like the World Bank or U.S. State Department: He wants to help bring electric grids, infrastructure, hospitals, and transparent government to countries that need them. “If South America had stability and functioning markets instead of massive unemployment and violence, it would foster greater cooperation and diplomacy.”
LMU helped focus an interest in giving back, and Mesa Baron thinks he can make a special contribution because of his life story. “I want to show that immigrants can contribute to life in the United States,” he says. “We need more role models, more leaders, so the youth can learn from them.”
Each of his international relations courses inspired him, he says. “When you study international relations at LMU, each class reminds you that you can be a soldier fighting for a better world.”