To start the day with a UNESCO World Heritage Site and end it with IU and IUPUI alumni: it doesn’t get much better than that. Add to this a series of very productive meetings, and the day was just about perfect.
Our group began the day at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with a special tour of facilities that included a tour of the Central University City Campus, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. The buildings and murals were breathtaking, not only in their size and symbolism but in their powerful presence as architectural expressions of Mexican culture and values. Wow!
IU’s relationship with UNAM dates back to 1999, when collaboration began between the university and the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at IU. The workshop was co-founded in 1973 by the late Nobel Prize-winning economist and IU Distinguished Professor Elinor Ostrom.
In our meeting with Dr. Enrique Graue Wiechers and his colleagues, we explored common interests in the areas of nursing, engineering and technology, public health, and dentistry with follow up meetings for further discussion about faculty and student exchanges and possible research collaborations, among other matters.
Special thanks go to Dr. E. Angeles Martinez-Mier of the IU School of Dentistry, who is an alumnus of UNAM and did a great deal to facilitate our visit to UNAM, which concluded—for some members of the delegation—with a visit to the UNAM School of Dentistry. The tour included impressive examples of 3-D digital visualization technology that allows students to explore anatomical structures without needing special physical models.
One of the highlights of the tour for me was seeing Chancellor Paydar sitting in the driver’s seat in a dental simulation lab. I’m not sure he has a future as a clinician, but he did demonstrate remarkable skills.
From this point, Chancellor Paydar, Dr. Martinez-Mier, Dr. Armando Soto, Dr. Gil Latz, and I travelled to Universidad Intercontinental (UIC) where we learned a powerful story about the history of our Dental School. Dr. Soto, who is on the faculty of the IU School of Dentistry, attended UIC as a student, and Dr. Martinez-Mier was on the faculty there for a period of time. According to her, the vast majority of the faculty who founded the UIC dental school were graduates of Indiana University. This is a remarkable legacy and partnership upon which we hope to continue building.
The evening brought with it great conversations, memories, and plans for the future. We welcomed around 30 alumni to the San Angel Inn about a block from the house where Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo lived. Giant bookmark there for my next trip to Mexico City.
After a lively reception, President of the IUAA Mexico Chapter Peter Tattersfield opened the program with a very warm welcome. His presentation of hand painted tiles to the entire delegation will live on in my memory. I saw the “Mi casa es tu casa,” but it took me a minute to see IUPUI and the date of our visit right there on the tile. I’m sure I speak for others as well as myself when I say I was touched by this hospitality.
I felt that same sense of Hoosier hospitality right there in the heart of Mexico City when everyone I spoke with helped me plan my next visit. A must see: the Palacio de Bellas Artes with its Tiffany glass and brass curtain. Also a must see: the IU and IUPUI alums I met this evening.
In store for us tomorrow: the Ministry of Health for Mexico City, the National Institute for Public Health, as well as a number of other visits. Then, we are on to Monterrey.
Thanks for visiting, and come back soon to learn more about the trip.