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Education & Culture

Education and Culture

The Cultural Affairs Office of the Public Affairs Section offers a broad range of programming around strategic issues that expands and deepens mutual understanding and fosters closer ties between the U.S. and Mexico.  Education exchange efforts are at the heart of all of our bilateral policy efforts as we work to bring tomorrow’s leaders together today.  President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative and the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research are both focused on increasing the number of Mexican students in the United States and the number of U.S. students in Mexico.

Education

In May 2013, President Obama and President Pena Nieto announced the formation of a Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research to expand economic and educational opportunities for citizens of both countries and to develop a 21st century workforce for our mutual economic prosperity.  

The Forum complements our efforts through President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative to increase opportunities for academic exchange between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, as well as our economic goals under the High Level Economic Dialogue also announced during President Obama’s trip to Mexico. More than 14,000 Mexicans study in the United States and nearly 3,900 Americans study in Mexico annually.  Mexico is among the top 15 destination countries of U.S. students studying abroad and the fourth most popular destination in Latin America.  Mexico is in the top 10 of origin countries for international students in the United States.

The U.S. Mission in Mexico has several flagship programs aimed at increasing bilateral academic exchange between our countries.  They include:

Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship Program: The Mexico-U.S. Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (COMEXUS) oversees the Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship Program, a $7 million program jointly funded by the U.S. and Mexican governments to support U.S.-Mexico academic exchanges.  More than 4,000 Mexicans and Americans have participated in COMEXUS exchange programs at leading universities.  

Educational Advising: The U.S. Department of State supports 18 EducationUSA advising centers throughout Mexico that provide guidance to Mexican and American students and institutions about greater access to higher education in both countries, with three outreach offices focusing on advising to indigenous and marginalized communities.

Youth Empowerment:  Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action) is a joint U.S.-Mexican public-private partnership that has given 195 at-risk Mexican high school students the opportunity to build their leadership, English, and communication skills through educational exchange and community service.

The teams start with a four- to five-week exchange in the United States, where American counterparts help them polish community service projects to address issues facing their own communities, such as violence and substance abuse.  Upon return to Mexico, the participants carry out their projects with mentoring from Mexican and American government, business, and educational leaders.

English Language Teaching: Hundreds of high-potential, economically disadvantaged young Mexicans study English in their communities and learn about American culture and democratic values through the English Access Microscholarship Program, supported by the Department of State. Since its establishment in Mexico in 2009, more than 1,500 students have participated in the Program. The United States also provides training programs in English language instruction to Mexican teacher trainers and classroom teachers who work in the Mexican public education system to improve the quality of English-language instruction. In FY2014, there were three English Language Fellows in
Mexico who served an audience of 1,345 in 10 states plus D.F. and around 300 English teachers were reached through on-line courses and webinars.

Cultural Exchange and Strategic Programming

Through Strategic Programming on Policy Issues, the Embassy promotes an exchange of ideas and viewpoints on a variety of issues of mutual interest to both countries such as gender equality, economic empowerment, human rights, access to information technology, and countering drug abuse and trafficking in persons. The Embassy brings U.S. experts to Mexico to talk about these issues and engages in programs including conferences, roundtables, lectures and other public events often organized in cooperation with Mexican academic, cultural, and professional institutions.

The Embassy’s International Visitor Leadership Program sends an average of 50 current or potential leaders in government, politics, education, and other fields from Mexico to the U.S. each year to meet and confer with their counterparts and to experience the U.S. firsthand.  Among Mexico’s prominent participants are former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Emilio Zebadúa González, head of the Mexican Secretary of Social Development. Through the Voluntary Visitor Program, the U.S. State Department funds domestic travel for Mexican professionals to visit the U.S. on specific topics of bilateral interest.    

The Music Committee, comprised of representatives from agencies around the Mission, uses music as a tool to build bridges between our two nations and enhance Mexicans’ interest in and understanding of American culture. The committee brings youth from disadvantaged background and those studying music in contact with U.S. artists visiting Mexico through master classes, receptions with the Ambassador and concerts.

The Embassy also uses Sports Diplomacy as a way to build bridges and enhance people-to-people ties. Sports are a fun and effective way to reach strategic audiences such as at-risk youth and teach values including leadership, teamwork, nonviolence and community engagement. Activities include bringing U.S. sports experts to Mexico, planning programs with visiting U.S. athletes, and organizing game-watching events.  

In June 2009, the Association of Mexican Alumni was formed to reach out to the nearly 7,000 Mexican former participants in U.S. Government-sponsored programs.  Members are invited to join State Alumni, the global online community by and for alumni.

The Benjamin Franklin Library is the oldest public-access library supported by the United States government abroad.  With a lending library of 25,000 volumes; a large selection of American periodicals; and state- of-the-art Internet and electronic research facilities, the Benjamin Franklin Library continues to be a major source of information on contemporary American society.

Through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, the Embassy is helping to preserve and restore the Father Tembleque Aqueduct, the most important work of hydraulic engineering build in the 16th century in the Americas.

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