Last week, University of California President Janet Napolitano concluded a trip to Mexico City, during which she met with Mexican government officials, academics and researchers in an effort to strengthen ties between the UC and Mexico and to encourage collaboration between the parties in a project called the UC-Mexico Initiative.

According to a statement from the Office of the President, the two countries plan to exchange students, faculty and researchers from all academic backgrounds in order to encourage international research. While in Mexico, Napolitano signed a “memorandum of understanding” between the UC and the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology — known as CONACYT — which extends their Agreement of Cooperation in Higher Education and Research. First initiated in 1997, this agreement increases the number of students, researchers and faculty exchanged between the UC and Mexico.

During the trip, Napolitano also represented the UC at the official launch of the Bilateral Forum for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, known as FOBESII.

Announced last May, FOBESII is the product of a collaboration between President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto which sets goals for furthering educational opportunities for underrepresented students, increasing educational exchanges, increasing joint research on education and sharing practices in higher education and innovation. As part of FOBESII, the presidents said they plan to see 100,000 Latin American and Caribbean individuals study in the United States and 50,000 Americans study at locations in Mexico by 2018.

President Napolitano and UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox met with various Mexican institutions to organize the exchange of the first 1,000 of these students between the UC and Mexico. UC Riverside’s UC MEXUS, an organization dedicated to “developing and sustaining a coordinated, University-wide approach to Mexico-related studies,” will continue the initiative begun by Napolitano’s visit.


This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.