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Interhemispheric Resource Center Records

Identifier: MSS-877-BC

Scope and Content

The collection consists of IRC publications, administrative documents, funding proposals, correspondence, news clippings and other secondary source research material, photographs, slide shows, and video and audio recordings. It features correspondence with civil society groups, government agencies (including many Freedom of Information Act requests and responses), and experts and activists who collaborated with the IRC. The collection is a useful repository of material on US foreign policy--especially on so-called democratization efforts--US trade and industrial policies, Mexico, Central America and the social and environmental issues of the US-Mexico border region.

The collection is divided into five series: Administrative, Issues, Publications, Slides, and Audio and Video Recordings.

The Administrative series contains material representing the inner workings of the IRC. It includes board of directors documents, by-laws and mission statements, budgets and financial statements, correspondence (with noteworthy individuals such as Medea Benjamin, IRC-board member Noam Chomsky, and Margaret Randall), staff and intern files, clippings of IRC articles, funding proposals, promotional material, event paraphernalia, travel summaries, as well as material reflecting the communication and administration involved in the creation of IRC publication. While final published drafts can be found in the publications series, the material in the administrative series listed under publication titles encompasses much of the background work that went into creating the IRC's various newsletters, reports and books.

The Issues series contains reference material that the IRC kept on issues and organizations important to their research and publications. Major subjects include US-Mexico border issues, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and the North American Development Bank, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the National Endowment for Democracy (especially in regards to its work in Nicaragua and Haiti), US labor and unions (particularly their activity abroad), right wing groups and individuals, mining in New Mexico (including material and reports on Phelps Dodge), food policy, deindustrialization, and US government agencies. The issues series also contains reference material on a number of Latin American countries; within each country the material is subdivided into specific categories (e.g. Mexico – Industry). The Issues series contains correspondence, news clippings, photographs, and outside publications that informed IRC's research agenda. A number of the folders contain IRC notes on the respective subjects. This series will be useful to people researching the states and societies of Latin America and US intervention (public and private) in those countries. [Warning: This series contains graphic violent images from the El Salvador Human Rights Commission.]

The Publications series contains the newsletters, articles, book chapters, and reports that the IRC published and distributed. It includes serial newsletters such as the Americas Program, Border Briefings, Border Information and Outreach Service (BIOS), Borderlines, the IRC Bulletin Democracy Backgrounder, Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF), Group Watch, The NED Backgrounder, and Right Web. The Publications series also includes single issue reports, guides for activists and immigrants, as well as scripts to some IRC slide shows. Also contained in this series are earlier publications from New Mexico People and Energy. The Publications series represents the length and breadth of the IRC's oeuvre. However, books published by the IRC are housed individually in the CSWR and University Libraries, and are not part of this manuscript collection.

The Slides series contains slide shows that IRC produced and distributed. Mostly on Central America and the Caribbean (and US intervention there), the slide shows were activist tools meant to allow people to raise awareness among their friends, neighbors and colleagues. Each slide show was to be shown in combination with an IRC-produced audio recording (see below), creating an audio-visual educational experience. Also, in the slides series are miscellaneous photographs from IRC staff member's travels around Central America, the Caribbean and New Mexico. Of interest to researchers are images of propaganda signs from Nicaragua and Grenada.

The Audio and Video Recordings series contains IRC recordings. It includes the audio component of IRC slide shows (see above). This series contains radio spots from the IRC's Global Good Neighbor Initiative. Also in this series are recordings of IRC-sponsored lectures by IRC-board member Noam Chomsky.


  • 1966-2008

Language of Materials

English, Spanish

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Organizational Information

The Interhemispheric Resource Center (hereinafter IRC) was a progressive think tank that researched and published on US foreign policy, Latin America and the US-Mexico border region. It was founded in 1979 in Albuquerque, NM, by Debra Preusch, Tom Barry, and Beth Wood. The IRC's name changed several times, largely reflecting changes in its scope of focus; a first iteration was New Mexico People and Energy and the final title was International Relations Center. The IRC's research, analyses, and publications sought to bridge the gap between academic research and popular education. The IRC aimed to inform policymaking circles with their progressive agenda, to contribute to an informed citizenry, and to provide activists with analytical tools to influence policy and create social change.

The IRC relied heavily on its three founders during its early years. However, in 1988 it underwent a major transition when the Board of Directors was expanded and began to meet annually. In 1991 the Executive Committee was established as a personnel committee advising the Executive Director on staff communication and evaluations, proposing candidates for the Board of Directors, and informing organizational decisions between annual board meetings. In 1996 founders Debra Preusch and Tom Barry as well as full-time staff member Harry Browne moved to Pinos Altos, near Silver City, New Mexico.

The IRC distributed its books and reports to academics, community activists, religious workers, journalists, students, and policy makers. Their most prominent publications include newsletters such as the Americas Program, BIOS, Borderlines, Democracy Backgrounder, Foreign Policy in Focus, Group Watch, websites such as Right Web, and books on U.S. foreign policy, Mexico and Central America.

In 2007, the IRC transferred the Americas Program and the Global Good Neighbor Initiative to the Center for International Policy. In 2008, the IRC transferred Right Web and Foreign Policy in Focus to the Institute for Policy Studies. While its staff and writers remained involved in some of these projects, IRC closed its doors.


54 boxes (54 cu. ft.)


The collection contains the publications, administrative records, and research materials of the Interhemispheric Resource Center, a progressive think tank that published on US foreign policy, Latin America, and US-Mexico border issues.


5 series:
  1. Administrative, 1982-2007
  2. Issues, 1966-2005
  3. Publications, 1980-2008
  4. Audio and Video Recordings, 2000-2005
  5. Slides, Undated

Separated Material

Books published by IRC have been catalogued into the CSWR book collection. Search the online catalogue by author: "Interhemispheric Resource Center."
Finding Aid of the Interhemispheric Resource Center Records
Ashley Sherry, Max Fitzpatrick
© 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding provided by University of New Mexico Center for Regional Studies

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131