Friday, May 1, 2015

23,000 Mexicans Take Part in Educational Exchanges with U.S.

MEXICO CITY – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a speech praising Mexican-U.S. educational exchange programs that last year brought some 23,000 students and teachers from Mexico to the United States.

“It is a good experience,” Blinken told Mexican students in a meeting organized by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. “When you talk with people who have done exchanges they will always emphasize that it helped them to develop abilities for leadership and teamwork.”

Presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto established in May 2013 a Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research, known as FOBES II, to “combine efforts and increase exchange opportunities,” in support of “economic and educational goals,” the embassy said in a statement.

Between January and June 2014, six bilateral working groups held meetings with the participation of 450 representatives of academia, civil society and the business sector to identify new fields for collaboration, the statement added.

The Bilateral Forum is part of Obama’s “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative aimed to increase academic mobility between the United States and the rest of the hemisphere.

Mexico, in turn, created the Proyecta 100 Mil program to send 100,000 students to the United States and to receive 50,000 students from north of the border by 2018.

During his visit, Blinken talked with a score of students in different programs sponsored by governments and the private sector that, over the past year, have served more than 8,000 university students and graduates.

One of those programs allowed Mariana Rojas, 18, to visit several U.S. sites as she designed a project seeking to reduce the dropout rate at her Mexico City school.

“We were able to implement the project and the dropout rate came down 10.2 percent in the last school year,” Rojas told Efe.

Blinken also talked with Francisco Javier Roman, 22, a student of Development Engineering and Business Innovation who spent four months in San Antonio, Texas.

“I learned many things, I learned to be more independent and to function in a country with a different language,” he said.

Last year, Proyecta 100 Mil sent 7,500 students to learn English in the United States.

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