The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute
Message from the Executive Director
Chris Toth, NAAG Executive Director
In 2020, NAGTRI will host the tenth annual class of NAGTRI International Fellows. Some may wonder why state attorneys general need to partner with our international colleagues. But this partnership is an important effort for NAAG. To explain why, I will start with some NAAG history.
NAAG was created in 1907. The catalyst for its creation was the response of state attorneys general to the Standard Oil monopoly, which was unfairly crushing competition and causing huge market inefficiencies. Of course, the people who ultimately bore the brunt of this monopoly were consumers and businesses across the United States who paid much higher prices than they should have for oil and oil products.
So, in 1907 the state AGs from across the U.S. scheduled a meeting in St. Louis and founded NAAG. At the time, it was a serious and unusual thing for an AG to travel outside their state. Many of their constituents questioned why their AG should need to travel outside the state borders: how was that relevant to the problems being faced within their own state? Moreover, in those days, it took longer to get from Vermont or California to St. Louis then it now takes to travel from the United States to Singapore. But the United States, figuratively speaking, had shrunk, and what was going on in any one state was beginning to have a direct impact in others. State attorneys general could no longer operate in a vacuum. They needed to cooperate with each other across borders to face the new problems of their age.
Technological advances over the past several decades have now made the world a much smaller place. As the world shrinks, criminals have increasingly taken great advantage of the ability to easily commit crimes across borders. And even when crimes do not cross borders, the interconnections facilitated by the internet age have resulted in many similarities in the crimes committed wholly within individual nations. Like the attorneys general at the beginning of the 20th century, prosecutors and other government attorneys around the world in the 21st century have increasingly found that they do not exist within a vacuum in their own countries. As in 1907, when the AGs crossed new borders to come together and solve national problems that affected all of them, state attorneys general, through NAAG, are now stepping up to form international partnerships to help solve international problems that affect the citizens of their states. Working with our international partners makes both them and us better, helps keep us as Americans safe within our own borders, and is simply the right thing to do.
This issue of the NAGTRI Journal highlights the international work that NAAG is doing through the International Fellows program and through the NAGTRI Center for International Partnerships and Strategic Collaboration (CIPS-C). CIPS-C's mission is to grow NAAG's and NAGTRI's international presence, build strategic partnerships in the global sphere, and provide training, technical, and research assistance to domestic and international government attorneys, prosecutors, and representatives to promote security and enhance capacity. The articles in this issue reflect the work of NAGTRI'S 2019 International Fellows and Gina Cabrejo, CIPS-C's NAGTRI criminal justice instructor for Latin American programs. We hope you will find NAGTRI's international efforts of interest.