UC President Janet Napolitano and Provost Eduardo Barzana of UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) chaired the inaugural meeting of the UC-Mexico Initiative Advisory Board over two days in Ensenada, Mexico Feb. 26 and 27.

The 15-member board discussed ways to involve both the Mexican and American private sectors in the initiative, as well as the development of metrics to measure the success of student and faculty exchanges, research collaborations and scholarly activities.

Geoffrey Cowan, president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust and Advisory Board member, offered to convene a meeting of business, non-profit and governmental leaders to solicit ideas for what the initiative could do for them, and to help generate support.

Additional recommendations included the possibility of having the UC Press partner with UNAM’s press, among other Mexican publication houses, so faculty can publish simultaneously in Spanish and English.

“It was the opportunity for the Advisory Board to provide strategic direction  to the initiative,” said Veronique Rorive, assistant director for the project. She said this first advisory board meeting was also a chance for the advisory board members to meet and talk about shared interests. UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox is the executive sponsor of the initiative, which has been underway for more than a year.

As part of the initiative, for example, UC is collaborating with Mexico’s energy department, known by its Spanish acronym SENER, to develop certificate programs that will help train Mexican energy workers to meet the demands brought by the country’s recent reform of its energy sector. A two-year action plan for cross-border collaboration was also recently put into place with Mexico’s National Council for Arts and Culture, known by the acronym CONACULTA.

In addition to Napolitano, the other members of the advisory board include:

  • Rector Jose Narro, National Autonomous University of Mexico
  • UC Regent Monica Lozano, chair of the board of U.S. Hispanic Media, Inc.
  • UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox
  • UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland
  • UCLA Chancellor Gene Block
  • Geoffrey Cowan, president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust
  • Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities
  • Jamie P. Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation
  • Rector Juan Manuel Ocegueda of the Autonomous University of Baja California
  • Enrique Cabrero, director general of Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology, CONACYT
  • Salvador Alva, president of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, ITESM
  • Antonio López de Silanes, president of the Group for Birth Studies and chairman of the board of the pharmaceutical company Grupo Silanes
  • CONACULTA President Rafael Tovar y de Teresa
  • Secretary General Jaime Valls Esponda of ANUIES, which represents 180 higher education institutions throughout Mexico