Innovative plans to expand international student mobility by ten universities across Latin America were recognized with $25,000 capacity-building grants as part of President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative. Four of the ten winning universities were from Mexico, a clear sign of the U.S. government’s engagement and support for increasing bilateral higher education exchange as envisioned under the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research and the 100,000 Strong Initiative.
This first round of competitively-awarded capacity building grants provides seed funding to strengthen universities’ ability to administer study abroad programs. The grants were awarded to the Mexican universities: Universidad de Guanajuato, Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo, Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Universidad Autónoma de Queretaro. In addition, FAE Centro Universitario (Brazil), Instituto Federal Educação Ciência e Tecnologia Sudeste de Minas Gerais (Brazil), Universidad EAFIT (Colombia), Universidade Federal de Vicosa (Brazil), Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), and Universidad Santa Maria la Antigua (Panama) also were selected.
As part of the winning grants, the Universidad de Guanajuato will expand student exchange through the internationalization of its Summer Research program in partnership with the University of Arizona. The Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo will sign 10 cooperative agreements with U.S. universities creating study abroad programs, with an additional project focused on engagement with Mayan communities and economic development of the Mayan region in Mexico. The Tecnológico de Monterrey will work in partnership with George Mason University (Virginia) to develop an innovative capacity-building program entitled Global Entrepreneurship and Social Change. And the Universidad Autónoma de Queretaro will strengthen its lonstanding research and student exchange program with West Virginia University through an assessment and evaluation project.
Each $25,000 award leverages commitments by the Mexican universities to build capacity that increases study abroad to the United States and toward receiving students from the United States. These grants are one component of efforts by the Department of State and the initiative’s two key partner organizations, Partners of the Americas and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, to help educational institutions in the U.S and across the Americas develop and strengthen their programs that offer students expanded study abroad opportunities.
100,000 Strong in the Americas seeks to unify the investments of students, universities, governments, and the private sector toward a common goal. The initiative is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the hemisphere and the prosperity that it can generate. The 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative is a perfect complement to the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research announced by President Obama and President Peña- Nieto in May 2013.