Fletcher Features

Finding Common Ground in International Law: Mariana Benitez Tiburcio (F12)

Mariana Benitez Tiburcio MALD F12

Mariana Benitez Tiburcio (F '12) is now a Federal Representative for the Institutional Revolution Party in the Mexican Congress. Prior to her appointment, the Oaxaca native served as Mexico’s deputy attorney general for legal and international affairs where she provided legal advice on criminal matters, reviewed regulations and helped develop legislation. She also assisted the attorney general on international criminal matters, such as the extradition of fugitives and the negotiation of new treaties and conventions on international criminal matters.

This work requires a high level of diplomacy and a strong understanding of the perspectives of foreign officials. The education Benitez Tiburcio received from The Fletcher School, where she earned her LL.M. in international law, has been indispensable in her interactions with her counterparts in other nations.

“Exchanging different ideas with colleagues at Fletcher has helped me understand the dynamics that countries face in the real world,” says the 34-year-old Benitez Tiburcio, who served for six years as the chief of staff of the Domestic Affairs Committee in the Mexican Senate before attending Fletcher. “Fletcher first of all helped provide me with a broad perspective of how international actors interact in a very complicated environment, but also how to be a diplomat. Fletcher is undoubtedly an emblem as a cradle of leadership in the international law arena.”

Benitez Tiburcio hasn’t been on the job for long—she was appointed in December 2012—but she’s already met with American officials to discuss extradition proceedings and legal assistance requests between both countries. She points to an international relations course she took with Professor Ian Johnstone as especially helpful in situations such as these. He emphasizes considering the different interests of nations and then finding areas of common ground. Once that happens, it becomes much easier to work together.

“In the case of Mexico and the United States, we have a strong relationship that involves respect and balance,” Benitez Tiburcio says. “We are facing important issues in our countries. We need each other.”

--Dan Eisner
(Reprinted from Fletcher News)