Bienvenido and welcome to the IU Goes to Mexico 2018 blog!
One of the hallmarks of any great university is its ability to recognize, respond to and help understand changes in the economic and cultural makeup of the communities it serves.
Recent years have seen a substantial growth in Indiana’s Latino population, which, according to IU’s own Public Policy Institute, represents the fastest-growing and youngest segment of the state’s total demographic. More than 429,000 Latinos live in Indiana, three-quarters of whom are of Mexican origin.
This growth mirrors what has transpired all across the nation. Since 1960, the U.S. Latino population has increased nearly ninefold, from 6.3 million then to 56.5 million by 2015, and it is projected to grow to 107 million by 2065.
Not surprisingly, Indiana’s ties to Mexico have expanded economically. Today, Mexico is the Hoosier state’s second-largest trading partner, and last year, we exported more than $5 billion in goods and products to Mexico.
It’s against this backdrop that Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie will lead, beginning tomorrow, a university delegation to Mexico City. While there, he will preside over the formal opening of a new global gateway office, which will provide the university with a physical presence in a major economic and cultural center in Latin America and a point of access to other countries within this dynamic and strategically important region of the world.
The IU Mexico Gateway is the university’s fourth such facility around the world, and it is located at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, the largest university in Latin America, the oldest in North America and a leading university of the Spanish-speaking world. Like IU’s other international offices in New Delhi, Beijing and Berlin, the IU Mexico Gateway is designed to strengthen IU’s global engagement by facilitating support for research and teaching; conferences and workshops; study abroad opportunities for students; and engagement with alumni, businesses and nongovernmental organizations. (Here’s a recent interview, courtesy of my IU Newsroom colleagues, with IU Mexico Gateway director Beth West, who discusses how the new office will support activities that advance IU’s mission in Mexico.)
While in Mexico City, McRobbie, IU Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret and their fellow delegation members will also attend several inaugural events in celebration of the office opening. Those events include a workshop on indigenous languages and literatures featuring a number of distinguished scholars, poets and cultural leaders from Mexico and the U.S., and a concert by the New Music Ensemble from IU’s world-renowned Jacobs School of Music, a result of longstanding ties between Jacobs faculty members and the UNAM Faculty of Music.
As part of the trip, delegation members will also meet with leaders in business, higher education, government and philanthropy to work on developing student and faculty exchanges, artistic and cultural programming, and other collaborative activities. Today, more than 350 IU students currently study abroad in Latin America, where IU’s successful overseas study programs originated.
The trip will also enable IU to deepen ties to its growing ranks of Latino alumni. The university currently has 10,000 Latino alumni, including nearly 550 who are affiliated with Mexico and are helping to build an active Mexico alumni chapter that President McRobbie helped inaugurate during his previous trip to the country in 2016. (Check out this story about the president of the IU Alumni Association’s Mexico Chapter, Peter Tattersfield.)
During that trip — the first by an IU president to Mexico since 1980 — IU also strengthened a nearly two-decades-long relationship with UNAM, one of only a few university campuses in the world designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. 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.
Recent IU-sponsored events have resulted in newer university and state connections with Mexico.
- In January, IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar led a delegation of campus officials to Mexico that worked to strengthen connections with Mexican universities and research partners, with a special focus on collaboration in the health sciences, law and engineering and technology. The chancellor’s visit was supported by the IU Mexico Gateway.
- In March, IU hosted Dr. Roberto Salinas-León, president of the Mexico Business Forum. Dr. Salinas-León delivered the annual Patrick O’Meara International Lecture, during which he shared his insights about the future of North American partnership.
- And in April, the IU men’s soccer team hosted an exciting and evenly contested match against the Mexico U-20 National Team, an annual event that has become a highlight of the spring sports season in Bloomington.
The next several days promise to add to this growing list of connections, as IU formally establishes a hub for its extensive research, scholarly and educational activities in Mexico and Latin America and strengthens its linkages with Mexico’s leading educational and cultural institutions.
As for me personally, I’ll have the pleasure of serving as your guide to our time in Mexico City, delivering daily summaries of the delegation’s activities and sharing some insights into IU’s increasing engagement in this important region of the world.
Thanks for joining me for this journey, and I hope you will check in regularly for the latest photos, stories and updates.
Please feel free to reach out to me directly with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming soon: the opening of the IU Mexico Gateway!