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UNAM and Chicago to strengthen academic and professional ties

Updated: May 19, 2023

UNAM and Chicago to strengthen academic and professional ties and open window of opportunity for Mexican students

- The Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, visits Ciudad Universitaria, accompanied by Illinois entrepreneurs.

- UNAM hosts the University of Illinois (UIS), with a permanent campus in CU

- National University signs agreements of understanding with UIS and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

In the framework of the visit that the Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, made to Ciudad Universitaria, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México signed memorandums of understanding with the University of Illinois (UIS) and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), in order to strengthen academic and professional ties, as well as to promote academic and research exchanges.

Meanwhile, the UIS opened its first international academic headquarters outside of Illinois at UNAM.

In the words of Patricia Dávila Aranda, Secretary of Institutional Development, UNAM Rector Enrique Graue Wiechers, recalled that UNAM's presence in Chicago began in 2001, in a small office, and by 2004 it had its own building where activities related to mobility, international cooperation, promotion of Spanish teaching certification, in addition to offering events and cultural elements aimed at Mexican nationals living in the U.S. city are carried out.

Particularly UNAM-Chicago represents us with distinction, contributes to position our University and promotes scientific, academic and cultural activities, according to the intense collaboration between academic institutions and government representatives, therefore, today our university has an intense relationship with Chicago, its governors, institutions and communities, he said.

Graue Wiechers emphasized in his message that UNAM-Chicago has become a space for the exchange of ideas and is the basis for the establishment of bilateral agreements, with scientific and academic exchanges, as well as the promotion of artistic activities between the university community and society.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot recalled that Mexico City and Chicago have been partners since 1991 and promote best practices in education and professionalization, which is why she congratulated the University of Illinois for opening its first international office, which is located on the campus of Ciudad Universitaria, from where it will share with UNAM students part of its experiences and invite them to develop new projects.

Accompanied by Leonardo Lomelí Vanegas, Secretary General of UNAM, Lori Lightfoot emphasized that both schools share the prestige of being the best in their area and UIS is one of the most diverse in the United States, since 35 percent of the population it houses is Hispanic, making it one of the most important for the training of specialists among that population, as for example it is one of the most sought after by doctors in Latin America.

We need at this time, in our cities, countries and the world, greater understanding and to build bridges between us. I believe that education is a magnificent equalizer and this new alliance will allow us the opportunity to help in that mutual understanding. We come from different backgrounds and with the conviction to respect each other. This alliance offers a great opportunity for all of us, Lightfoot stressed.

Francisco José Trigo Tavera, head of the Coordination of Relations and International Affairs (CRAI), recalled that since 2002 UNAM has been present in the city of Chicago and thanks to the headquarters in that city, Mexico's presence has expanded with the diverse community that inhabits it and shares multiple activities related to the past, present and future of our country.

With the opening of the University of Illinois office at UNAM and the launching of an important research program on topics of common interest, financed by both institutions, together with the design of an agreement with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Chicago, generous scholarships will be offered for students from Mexico to carry out internships in companies in that city and will further strengthen the ties between all of us, said Trigo Tavera.

Timothy Killeen, president of UIS, said he has been delighted since 2016, when the first cooperation agreement was signed between the two institutions, which has generated an exchange rich in opportunities and today the new offices will deepen the ties between the two institutions for future students.

He said that since its founding in 1867, the University of Illinois has provided services to the people of Illinois and the challenges they face there are also found here, in one way or another, such as the need for more opportunities, clean air, sustainable energy, water, access to nutrition, health services, these services are universal and our universities -Illinois and UNAM- have the most brilliant researchers in the world to generate solutions to many of these challenges.

Under the signed document, both institutions will work to generate projects that contribute to the solution of problems related to poverty, environment and sustainable wellbeing, food, health, water and energy from a trans-disciplinary perspective.

Regarding the Memorandum of Understanding with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Jaime di Paulo, president of the IHCC, remarked that it will especially benefit students who will have the opportunity to spend time in the most important system of companies related to International Law, Business Administration, Applied Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence and Engineering.

"They will participate in business incubators and many companies that have been successful in helping business develop, and with this agreement UNAM and IHCC are leading the way to change the diaspora between both countries," he stated.

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