December 9, 2005

UCSD-Mexico partnership initiative

By Luis Alonso Pérez

The future of the Mexico-United States border region is facing mayor challenges that will have to be faced by both governments in an integral and cooperatively way.

For this reason the University of California, San Diego UCSD has created a cooperation initiative with Mexico that will stimulate the development of solutions to economic, political, social and environmental problems in the Baja California – Southern California region, through investigation and policy making, developed by UCSD in collaboration with Mexican academics, investigators, businessmen and government agencies in all levels.

The UCSD – Mexico collaboration agenda was presented on November 30 in Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT), in a visit to the neighboring city by UCSD chancellor Marye Anne Fox and a group university of academics. During their visit, the group attended press conferences, meetings and discussions with Baja California decision-makers.

The cooperation initiative will focus in specific projects that will begin a long term collaboration process following four main priorities: Improving air quality in the Baja California - southern California region; Building a technological corridor on both sides of the US-Mexico border; Improving prospects for all members of the Mexican society through innovative economic policies; Deepening understanding and identifying additional partnership programs in Mexico.

“Our approach on these four initiatives is to focus on projects that we can make substantial progress on a short period” said Marye Anne Fox.

Air quality has been considered the highest priority among all four projects in the collaboration plan. Mario Molina, a Nobel Prize winning chemist is in charge of leading an investigation that can point out the causes of fine particles contaminating the air in the Imperial Valley – Mexicali region, in order to create new policies and regulations on both sides of the border that could lead to a decrease in contaminating emissions.

“We must have a well established scientific and technological database. But we can’t have only statistics; we must take an additional step and establish an agreement between decision makers in both countries” said Molina.

A second priority in the cooperation initiative is to upgrade the binational production community, through a program that promotes scientific and technological development, like production and manufacturing plants in Baja California, and the biological and technological industry in San Diego, creating a “technology corridor”.

The third initiative consists in improving Mexican economy through the development of new politics that can lead to an economic restructuring that can focus on elevating their competitiveness in the global market. The fourth and last project consists in deepening the understanding and identifying additional partnership programs in Mexico, beginning with a full time UCSD representative in Mexico, to enhance these interactions.

UCSD has had a long fruitful collaboration with Mexican universities, the private sector and government agencies. They are fully committed to bring those intellectual and policy resources to bear the problems that affect both sides of the border, and to work side by side with their Mexican partners to investigate on the issues of mutual importance.

The idea is not to make an investigation and present the results to the authorities. They plan on offering alternatives that can be developed with their full cooperation in every step of the project. This is an open collaboration process and any institution who wishes to do so, can cooperate with the scientists, academics, economists and politicians in this interdisciplinary project.

“Globalization is a fact, and it has modified our world in way that we can’t even predict or describe effectively. We must learn to live with other cultures. We must solve problems together for the benefit of society” said chancellor Fox.

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