UC Riverside Part of Effort to Further UC-Mexico Initiative

New ties to include research collaboration, student exchanges

University of California President Janet Napolitano,left, talks with Secretary of State John Kerry, center, accompanied by US Ambassador to Mexico, E. Anthony Wayne, right, and UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox before they join a bilateral forum on higher education, innovation and research, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City. Ministry of Foreign Affairs /AP Images for University of California, Riverside

University of California President Janet Napolitano and UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox are in the middle of a round of meetings in Mexico City with high-ranking Mexican government officials and distinguished academics and researchers as part of a broad UC-Mexico initiative aimed at strengthening ties between the university and Mexico.

The two days of scheduled meetings with officials from Mexico’s departments of Education and Foreign Affairs — as well as Mexican university presidents and the heads of scientific research and cultural organizations — grew from Napolitano’s wish to unite and build upon existing collaborations between the University of California and institutions in Mexico. The goal of the UC-Mexico Initiative is to create a sustained, strategic and equal partnership with Mexico that addresses common issues and nurtures the next generation of leaders in both countries. She asked UC Riverside to help lead the effort.

University of California President Janet Napolitano speaks during meeting with  National Council for Science and Technology  in Mexico City.  At her left is UC MEXUS director Exequiel Ezcurra and at her right is UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox.  Marco Ugarte/AP Images for University of California, Riverside

University of California President Janet Napolitano speaks during meeting with
National Council for Science and Technology in Mexico City. At her left is UC MEXUS director Exequiel Ezcurra and at her right is UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox.
Marco Ugarte/AP Images for University of California, Riverside

Their first stop was at the launch of the bilateral forum for higher education, research and innovation, known as FOBESII, in which visiting U.S. Secretary of Sate John Kerry finalized the pact announced last year by President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

“UC’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border,” Napolitano said. “This trip is a testament to the strength of our relationship with Mexico. I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

One immediate outcome of Napolitano’s visit was a signing of a memorandum of understanding between UC and the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology, known as CONACYT, that extends their Agreement of Cooperation in Higher Education and Research.

The agreement notes the “long and successful history of collaboration, involving bi-national research and the training and exchange of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty,” and references the spirit of FOBESII. The pact, signed by Napolitano and CONACYT Director General Enrique Cabrero Mendoza, establishes a working group between CONACYT and UC MEXUS, based at UC Riverside, to explore new and enhanced collaborative goals. Both sides agreed to develop a program for student, faculty and researcher exchanges between UC and Mexican universities and research centers.

 

University of California President Janet Napolitano celebrates a freshly signed accord document with National Council for Science and Technology Director General Enrique Cabrero Mendoza in Mexico City. Marco Ugarte/AP Images for University of California, Riverside

University of California President Janet Napolitano celebrates a freshly signed accord document with National Council for Science and Technology Director General Enrique Cabrero Mendoza in Mexico City.
Marco Ugarte/AP Images for University of California, Riverside

Napolitano’s vision challenged academicians from all 10 UC campuses to build upon the numerous research, teaching, and public outreach collaborations already underway to identify high-impact activities that could strengthen engagement with Mexico, and develop the next generation of leaders.

Exequiel Ezcurra, director of UC MEXUS, is also traveling with the UC contingent.

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