Bienvenidos and welcome to the 2020 Year of the Laredo Chapter of the International Good Neighbor Council. For over 50 years, IGNC has worked to promote goodwill and unity between the United States and Mexico.
IGNC is best known as the organization that partners with Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association for the Bridge Ceremony, which occurs in February.
This ceremony symbolizes the unity and goodwill that unite and are celebrated by our two countries. The mission of our agency is to promote the principle of Good Neighbor and friendship between countries of the Western Hemisphere. With 26 active Chapters in the United States and Mexico, we participate in activities that increase social, cultural, youth and educational exchanges, and support the principles of democracy.
We are blessed to work very closely with many incredible businesses, individuals, and dignitaries from our sister cities. It is this spirit of unity and goodwill that will help us get through this worldwide pandemic and civil unrest across the nation. The ideals of cooperation and understanding created by our founding fathers will help us overcome these difficult times. It is an honor to be serving as this year’s IGNC president, continuing the legacy created by our founding fathers in promoting unity between our two countries.
Like the sweet, supportive, and encouraging embrace of our two countries, Abrazo Children, we can work through these challenging times. This is the time in which we will all stand together to persevere, protect, honor, and invest our future to a brighter path. I promise you things will get better, and our two neighborhood cities will soon be meeting halfway to greet one another. We must care for our well-being and that of our families.
I would like to extend a personal invitation to you to join us at IGNC in our endeavors. Support our community by helping the International Good Neighbor Council. Together, we can invest in the future of our sister cities.
Lucy S. Hastings,
President, IGNC-Laredo Chapter
Those familiar with the International Good Neighbor Council (IGNC) probably know the organization is responsible for Laredo’s Abrazo Children ceremony, which symbolizes the deep ties that link the United States and Mexico. The IGNC, however, has a much more storied history that dates back more than half a century. It was in 1954 when two prominent businessmen, Jose F. Muguerza of Mexico and Glen Garret of the United States, founded the international organization. Their objective was to promote friendship between the countries of the Western Hemisphere, with a focus on the United States and Mexico.
The headquarters of the IGNC was in Monterrey, Mexico, but it wasn’t long before chapters started sprouting up all along the border in Mexico, including the Laredo chapter in 1961. The IGNC organizes numerous events aimed at increasing good relations between Mexico and the United States. Each fall, all the chapters in both countries join together in the U.S. for a convention. They meet in the same way in the Spring in Mexico. At each convention, the members who are everyday citizens of their respective countries, discuss important, relevant issues. Some of these include education, immigration and healthcare.
In the fall of 2015, the IGNC Laredo Chapter and the Consejo de Nuevo Laredo held a fundraising event at the Laredo Country Club to raise funds for club projects and scholarships. The event was a success with hundreds of supporters from both sides of the border attending.
Additionally, the different chapters of the IGNC present scholarships based on merit and need in the fall and spring. The Laredo Chapter established an endowed scholarship at Texas A&M International University in the name of Renato Zapata, Sr., one of the founders and strong advocate of the local chapter.
The most well-known IGNC event for Laredoans is the Bridge Ceremony, a tradition since the 1800’s. The council became involved in the ceremony in 1969 when Velia E. Uribe introduced the idea of the children exchanging an abrazo, or a warm embrace, along with the adult officials. Since then, there has been a ceremony featuring the children every year. Many of the children have gone on to become successful adults. Some of the Abrazo Children selected through the years are even second generation kids, who, as their parents did in their early years, are now representing either the U.S. or Mexico as an Abrazo Child.
IGNC-CIBV International Good Neighbor Council is a non-profit organization founded in 1954 by prominent Mexican and American businessmen. The head office is located in Monterrey, Mexico. The objective of the association is to promote the principle of Good Neighbor and friendship between countries of the Western Hemisphere. There are currently a total of 26 active Chapters in the United States and Mexico. The chapters cooperate in activities that increase social, cultural, youth and educational exchanges, and support the principles of democracy based on constitutional authority. Many friendships of ten, twenty, and more years standing have developed across the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande border between members of IGNC.