2018 Alumni Service Award: Andrés Webster-Henestrosa
Global Development Through the Arts and Culture
Andrés Webster Henestrosa (HNZ/A 1997, HNZ 1997) uses the arts and culture as an economic catalyst for improving people’s lives.
As the consul for cultural affairs for the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, Webster Henestrosa interacts with the creators, analysts, entrepreneurs and promoters within the largest Mexican community outside of Mexico.
“In my current role, I have the opportunity to offer different initiatives that help the Mexican community in Los Angeles access education and cultural programs,” Webster Henestrosa said. “When people have the means to have a better life with pride and dignity, changes come.”
He sees his service to Heinz College as integral to the work that he is doing. Webster Henestrosa leads recruitment efforts from undergraduate institutions in Mexico for the joint Heinz College and College of Fine Arts Master of Arts Management (MAM) program and has been assessing possibilities for scholarships for Mexican and Mexican-American students. In addition to speaking on cultural diplomacy and policy at the Pittsburgh campus, he participates at the students’ capstone presentations at CMU’s Master of Entertainment Industry Management instructional site in Los Angeles. He also acts as an ambassador for prospective students and alumni, and as a trusted mentor for Mexican-American students.
The arts have filled Webster Henestrosa’s life since his boyhood through his grandfather, a prestigious writer. When he was young, he was interested in cultural policies in Mexico, and he saw that programs designed for the arts required better methods for measuring results to be impactful. Also, he thought that culture could be used a tool of development for his country. After graduating from law school, he decided to combine his love of the arts with a strong public policy education.
Webster Henestrosa chose Heinz College for its quantitative training and remained there for almost three years to earn a Master of Arts Management degree and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) degree. Upon returning home, he progressed through cultural positions as Secretary of Culture of Oaxaca, a local state in Mexico that is economically poor, but paradoxically culturally wealthy. After eight years, he was promoted to his current role.
Reflecting on his career, Webster Henestrosa marvels at how forward-thinking the MAM and MSPPM programs were. Through his service to CMU, he has played a role in the university’s vision of improving society through transformative education.
“In the 20 years since I graduated, I see the direct impact of my education. It surprises me how advanced the programs were and how developed Heinz College was in terms of anticipating the future,” he said. “Now, I can help second- and third-generation Mexicans in Los Angeles gain confidence by feeling proud of their culture, and also help students to develop their talents at one of the United States’ best universities, Carnegie Mellon.”