Warren Professor and HGSE Dean Ellen Condliffe Lagemann led a Harvard delegation on a visit to Mexico earlier this spring to strengthen ties with the education community in that country. Mexico's geographic proximity to the United States, its status as the second main U.S. trading partner, and its membership in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) make it logical for U.S. educational institutions to seize opportunities to extend and deepen the nature of education collaborations with Mexican institutions. "We are interested in helping to educate the next generation of education leaders in Mexico and in contributing to the generation and dissemination of usable knowledge that can support further education reform in the countries of NAFTA," Dean Lagemann said in a meeting with Mexico's Secretary of Education Reyes Tamez Guerra.
Accompanying the dean in this trip were Merilee Grindle, Mason Professor of International Development at the Kennedy School of Government, Carola Suárez-Orozco, Executive Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and HGSE Associate Professor of Education Fernando Reimers. The visit of the delegation was co-sponsored by the Fundación Esru, an education philanthropy in Mexico, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
Fundación Esru was founded by Amparo Espinosa with the objective of improving the quality of Mexican education. The delegation had several working sessions with Amparo Espinosa and two other members of the board of trustees, Julio Serrano and Manuel Serrano. Among the topics of discussion were a future grant from Fundación Esru to foster research in Mexican education at Harvard and high-impact education projects in which the university could collaborate with the Foundation.
Dean Lagemann also met with Alfredo Elias Ayub, president of the Fundación Mexico en Harvard, A.C., and with other Board members interested in education in Mexico, including Rene Solis Brun, General Director of Grupo Planeta; Gabriela Ramos, Executive Director of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; Enrique Tellez, Principal Partner of ZMDF Operadora; and Barbara Randolph-Rodriguez, Executive Director of Fundación Mexico en Harvard.
The Fundación Mexico en Harvard hosted a lecture by Dean Lagemann on the history of education research, followed by a reception for HGSE alumni and other Harvard graduates interested in education reform, as well as other distinguished members of the educational community in Mexico. Energized by Dean Lagemann's visit, a group of HGSE graduates, led by Mariali Cardenas, Ed.M.'00, committed to organize an HGSE alumni association in Mexico. One of the first objectives of the association will be to identify a critical mass of potential leaders of education reform and encourage them to apply for graduate study at Harvard. This objective was welcomed by Education Minister Reyes Tamez Guerra, who will ask all Mexican state secretaries of education to assist in this effort. The Director of the National Council of Science and Development, Jaime Parada, discussed Mexico's strategic interest in furthering the education of Mexican scholars at elite universities in the United States. Elias Ayub and other members of the board of the Fundación Mexico en Harvard plan to assist in this effort to address some of the challenges and opportunities in education emerging from the social and economic integration of Mexico and the U.S.
For More Information
HGSE News, Harvard Graduate School of Education