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Top photo (from left): Harriett Romo, director of UTSA Mexico Center;
Raul Arias Lovillo, rector, Universidad Veracruzana; Fidel Herrera
Beltran, governor of Veracruz; UTSA President Ricardo Romo and
Ricardo Corvo, provost of Universidad Veracruzana.
Bottom photo: Romo greets Don Juan Simbron, supreme leader of
the Totonaca people

UTSA reps visit Veracruz, Puebla university partners

By Robert McKinley
Associate Vice President for Economic Development

(July 7, 2008)--UTSA President Ricardo Romo and representatives of the UTSA faculty and staff visited Xalapa in Veracruz, Mexico, last week to discuss expanding collaboration between UTSA, Universidad Veracruzana (UV) and Benemérita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla (BUAP).

The UTSA Institute for Economic Development has built relationships with these universities by establishing small business development centers there. The university is considering expanding on these existing relationships to incorporate student and faculty exchanges, research collaborations and academic leadership in dialogues between the United States and Mexico.

"We are continuously seeking ways we can prepare our students as future leaders with global perspective and skills," said Romo. "Such collaborations in academic exchange, research and social policy offer tremendous opportunities for transformative leadership by UTSA."

Meetings with top researchers explored potential collaborations in health and infectious diseases, neuroscience, information-technology security, water conservation and climate change, anthropology and archeology, architecture, nano-technology and environmental science.

Both Xalapa and Puebla are optimal environments for faculty and student exchanges to enrich mutual understanding of cultures, arts, language, history and bi-national issues that will benefit graduates in their future careers by creating a broader global perspective and skill set.

The trip included a meeting with Don Juan Simbrón, the supreme leader of the Totonaca People, who is an elected representative for all indigenous tribes to the Mexican federal government. Under his leadership, the Totonaca tribe of Papantla strives to maintain traditions and develop their society in synch with the modern world. The UTSA International Trade Center was asked to assist in marketing some of their local products in the United States, such as premium organic vanilla beans and coffee. Economic development to create jobs in rural Mexico is essential to reverse migration losses and improve Mexican communities.

Follow-up visits to UTSA by the Universidad Veracruzana are planned for late September and by the Benemérita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in October. Both will bring a contingent of researchers and scholars to meet with UTSA faculty and pursue specific research and exchange agreements.

"Relationships with prestigious Mexican University partners are important steps toward fulfilling UTSA's global aspirations expressed in our 2016 Strategic Plan and contribute toward a healthy bi-national relationship," summarized Mexico Center Director Harriett Romo.

The UTSA delegation included President Ricardo Romo, Vice President for Research Robert Gracy, Vice President of Community Services Jude Valdez, Director of the UTSA Mexico Center Harriett Romo, College of Sciences Dean George Perry, Associate Vice President for Economic Development Robert McKinley, Associate Dean of Engineering Mehdi Shadaram and International Trade Center Director Cliff Paredes.

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