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Educational Exchanges Are In Our Mutual Interest

Mexico City, June 13, 2008

Statement by Ambassador Antonio O. Garza

“Education is in the forefront of our mutual interests – a direct and crucial link to the future of both nations through the children and youth who will be our next generations of leaders. Today I was pleased to accompany Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on visits to an elementary school and to meetings with Mexican government education officials.

“At the Estados Unidos de America school, dedicated in 1964 by Mexican President Adolfo Lopez-Mateos and Senator Robert F. Kennedy to the memory of the late President John F. Kennedy, Secretary Spellings met with students and teachers, and witnessed 5th and 6th grade classroom teaching. She also met with Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs for North American Affairs, Carlos Rico Ferrat, Director General of International Relations at the Secretariat of Education, Carlos Garcia de Alba, Assistant Secretary of Education for Basic Education, Fernando Gonzalez Sanchez, and other key members of Mexico’s educational institutions at the Mexican Secretariat of Education to discuss issues of mutual interest.

“There are active educational exchange programs at many levels between the United States and Mexico, with approximately 14,000 Mexican students in U.S. universities, and over 10,000 U.S. university students here. A number of U.S. universities and colleges already participate in exchange programs or are working to recruit Mexican students to their campuses.

“I am proud that the U.S. government promotes vitally important educational exchanges between students in our two nations. For example, we work through the Institute of International Education (IIE) to maintain educational advising centers, open to the public throughout Mexico, to orient potential students interested in study in the U.S.

“Our USAID office has provided scholarships to almost 1,000 students from Mexico under its TIES (Training, Internships, Exchanges and Scholarship) programs through 60 university partnerships. USAID also funds one and two year technical training programs in the U.S. for rural indigenous teachers and youth.

Approximately 2,500 Mexican and American students and academics have studied in the other country, funded by Fulbright-Garcia Robles scholarships under the auspices of the binational COMEXUS Foundation --300 this year alone. And since last October, the State Department has provided professional English teaching training to 1,000 Mexican teachers.

“We must continue to work together for the benefit of future generations, bringing our two nations even closer through educational exchanges.”

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