April 7, 2014
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Lauds Bilateral Education and Research
Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne
Dear friends and partners
in the field of educational exchange,
It is an honor to welcome all of you here tonight to celebrate the second year of the FOCUS
partnership and what it represents in the broader spectrum of ongoing bilateral collaboration and success in the area of academic
exchange and joint research and innovation.
President Peña-Nieto and President Obama’s May 2013 announcement of the
Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research launched a partnership that is unequalled in its scope and energy.
Over the past ten months, Undersecretary Alcocer and I have been busy on the speaking circuit, engaging audiences throughout
the United States and Mexico on how we can increase educational exchange and joint research as the foundation of our future
regional prosperity. I couldn’t have a better partner in this effort. Thank you, Sergio, for your
untiring commitment to this cause and for being such a great partner and friend.
Sergio, I think you will agree that our speeches usually
tend to focus on the real challenges that we have set for ourselves in increasing the numbers of Mexican and U.S. students
studying across the border. But tonight I’d like to celebrate our successes and thank all of you,
our invaluable partners in academia, civil society, and the private sector, for your innovation and engagement in the future
leaders of our region.
So what have we accomplished since May of last year?
On the part of the governments, we have placed education at the
top of our bilateral priorities. We have worked closely together to encourage key sectors to reexamine
what is possible in the areas of academic exchange and joint research and innovation. As many of you know,
we have hosted three working groups, one here in Mexico, and two in the United States, to focus on the specific issues of
promoting student exchange, workforce development, and the special potential of the border.
And we are planning three more to review
language acquisition, student mobility, and joint research and innovation.
Most importantly, we have worked diligently to move beyond
rhetoric to concrete action, with defined steps that we can take to work with key partners like you to increase academic partnership
In doing so, we have created an environment where education is a priority and exchange is a given. Over
the past weeks, we have welcomed delegations from Los Angeles, Massachusetts, and Arizona – all of which featured discussion
of academic exchange as the foundation for our future shared regional prosperity. University of California
President Janet Napolitano has made academic exchange with Mexico a priority issue and great ideas and initiatives are benefitting
from her leadership.
Similar efforts are underway with the University of Texas system, which continues to be a model in providing in-state
tuition to Mexican students.
Last week, Mexico City hosted the President of MIT for the first time in 29 years.
Rectors of La Salle universities from both sides of the border met for the first time last week in Cuernavaca.
In February, Arkansas State University broke ground on the first U.S. public university campus in Mexico.
Organizations like Televisa
and Universia are committing money, energy, and creativity to new and renewed partnerships with U.S. counterparts that will
send hundreds of Mexican students to the United States on summer programs. Meanwhile, the city of Puebla
and members of its private universities’ consortium are planning an innovative program to bring U.S. students to Mexico
for short-term, low-cost summer programs.
And that is just the tip of the “iceberg.” New,
exciting partnerships are developing faster than either of our governments can keep track of.
Whether as representatives
of U.S. universities, presidents of alumni associations, leaders at Mexican institutes of higher learning, or partners from
the private sector and civil society, I know that many of you in this room are the driving force behind these new initiatives.
Thank you for all that you are doing to ensure that our future generations speak each other’s languages, know
each other’s cultures, and understand how to work effectively together. I would ask that you keep
us abreast of all of your accomplishments as we want to continue to highlight your efforts in the context of the Bilateral
As the months roll on,
some of our new partnerships are turning into lasting partnerships. This is the case for the Forum for
Cooperation, Understanding and Solidarity (or FOCUS in English), a program started by students at ITAM and Stanford to create
a network of young leaders who could work together to address bilateral political, economic, and technological issues in an
innovative way. This year, the program has grown significantly to include partners at other U.S.
and Mexican universities. In doing so, it serves as a model of how a strong partnership cannot help but
grow, and how visionary leadership cannot be contained within a limited space. The FOCUS students here
represent the very best of our next generation.
It is an honor to have you here tonight, and I look forward to hearing more about
the success of this program in 2014.
I will stop here, as I wanted to let Sergio say a few words before passing the microphone to our role
models of bilateral cooperation, our FOCUS students.
Thank you again for being here tonight and for all that each of you does to bring
Mexico and the United States closer together in the most important sector of all – education.
Press release, remarks
by U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne at the Education Reception with FoCUS Students (Forum for Cooperation, Understanding and
Solidarity), Apr. 1, 2014; Embassy of the United States, Mexico City