Editors: A Spanish version of this news release is also available.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – As Indiana continues to see substantial growth in its Latino population and experience major economic and cultural impacts from its increasing ties to Latino-owned businesses, the state’s flagship university will embark upon its latest effort to strengthen its engagement with Mexico.
Beginning Saturday, May 26, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie will lead a university delegation to Mexico City, where, among other key events and activities, IU will formally open a new global gateway office, which will provide the university with a physical presence in a major Latin American economic and cultural center and a point of access to other countries within the region.
The IU Mexico Gateway, the university’s fourth such facility around the world, is located at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, the largest university in Latin America, the oldest in North America and a leading university of the Spanish-speaking world.
Like IU’s other international offices in New Delhi, Beijing and Berlin, the IU Mexico Gateway is designed to strengthen and broaden IU’s global engagement by facilitating support for research and teaching; conferences and workshops; study abroad opportunities for students; and engagement with alumni, businesses and nongovernmental organizations.
While in Mexico City, McRobbie and his fellow delegation members will also attend several inaugural events in celebration of the office’s opening. They will include a workshop on indigenous languages and literature featuring a number of distinguished scholars, poets and cultural leaders from Mexico and the U.S. and a concert by the New Music Ensemble from IU’s world-renowned Jacobs School of Music, a result of long-standing ties between Jacobs faculty members and the UNAM Faculty of Music.
As part of the trip, which was organized by the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret, delegation members will also meet with leaders in business, higher education, government and philanthropy to work on developing student and faculty exchanges, artistic and cultural programming, and other collaborative activities. Additionally, IU first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie will lead a Women’s Philanthropy roundtable discussion exploring the impact of international philanthropy.
“Indiana University is committed to deepening its ties to this dynamic and important part of the world at a time when we are also seeing our country’s rapidly growing Latino population making increasingly important contributions to economic growth, educational development, cultural diversity and the quality of life in communities in Indiana and across the nation,” McRobbie said.
“By establishing a hub for the university’s wide-ranging research, scholarly and educational activities in Mexico and Latin America, strengthening our partnerships with a number of Mexico’s finest educational and cultural institutions, and deepening ties with our growing ranks of IU alumni in the region, we hope to further broaden and expand these activities as well as deepen our engagement with this important and growing demographic in the Hoosier State and the nation.”
Indiana’s ties to Mexico continue to expand economically, culturally and demographically. Mexico is Indiana’s second-largest trading partner; last year, Indiana exported more than $5 billion in goods and products to Mexico.
Additionally, according to data gathered by the IU Public Policy Institute, Latinos are the fastest-growing and youngest minority population in the state of Indiana. More than 429,000 Latinos live in Indiana, 75 percent of whom are of Mexican origin.
Since 1960, the nation’s Latino population has increased nearly ninefold, from 6.3 million then to 56.5 million by 2015. It is projected to grow to 107 million by 2065, according to the latest projections from the Pew Research Center.
These trends are reflected in the number of Latino alumni of IU. The university currently has 10,000 Latino alumni, including nearly 550 who are affiliated with Mexico and contribute to a thriving Mexico alumni chapter that McRobbie helped inaugurate during a trip to that country in 2016.
During that visit, the first by an IU president to Mexico since 1980, IU also strengthened a nearly two-decades-long relationship with UNAM, one of only a few university campuses in the world designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. IU’s relationship with UNAM dates back to 1999, when collaboration began between UNAM and the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at IU. The workshop was co-founded in 1973 by the late Nobel Prize-winning economist and IU Distinguished Professor Elinor Ostrom.
Recent IU-sponsored events have resulted in newer university and state connections with Mexico.
In January, IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar led a delegation of campus officials to Mexico who worked to strengthen connections with Mexican universities and research partners, with a special focus on collaboration in the health sciences, law, and engineering and technology. The chancellor’s visit was supported by the IU Mexico Gateway.
In March, IU hosted Roberto Salinas-León, a former senior Mexican government official who is now the head of the Mexico Business Forum. Salinas-León delivered the annual Patrick O’Meara International Lecture, during which he shared his insights about the future of North American partnership.
More than 350 IU students currently study abroad in Latin America, where IU’s successful overseas study programs originated. The first formal international study venture organized by IU was a program created by IU’s School of Education in 1939, in which an IU faculty member oversaw a summer of travel in Mexico that enabled future teachers to learn more about Mexico and its culture.
Founded in 1963, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies – originally the Latin American Studies Program – serves as an umbrella organization uniting Latin Americanists from all of IU’s campuses. The center, as part of the School of Global and International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, is a pivotal site for research, instruction and outreach focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. The center includes approximately 120 affiliated faculty in 22 departments and 11 professional schools at IU Bloomington and IUPUI who teach and/or conduct research on topics relating to Latin America.
IU’s Jacobs School of Music, one of the most comprehensive and acclaimed institutions for the study of music in the U.S., is home to the Latin American Music Center, which fosters the academic study, performance and research of Latin American art, popular music and traditional music. Its library has one of the most complete collections of Latin American art music in the world.
Reports as the trip to Mexico City progresses will be available at a blog site, IU Goes to Mexico 2018, and through official IU social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.