USC will host visiting artists and scholars from Mexico for one week or longer every year, with the first expected next year, under an agreement signed Thursday, November 17.
Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles Carlos Garcia de Alba and USC Vice President for Strategic and Global Initiatives Anthony Bailey signed the pact for the university to partner with the government of Mexico’s Cátedra México initiative.
USC will work with the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles to select candidates for residency on its University Park Campus and engage with students and faculty during their stay. The visiting artists and scholars will take part in the USC arts and humanities initiative Visions and Voices and engage with USC’s schools, museums and libraries. The initiative will also provide opportunities for them to collaborate with participants in USC’s International Artist Fellowship program.
“USC continues to be a key partner for us and there is tremendous excitement about the opportunity to work together on Cátedra México, an initiative that brings shared benefits to Mexico and our partners around the world,” de Alba said. “We look forward to further expanding our mutual relationship to benefit cross-border business and trade as well as boosting government-funded scholarships so that more students from Mexico, as well as Mexican students living in the United States, can pursue an education at USC in the coming years.”
USC President C. L. Max Nikias said: “I am thrilled that USC continues to build on the existing bonds we have established in recent years with Mexican academic and public institutions. The arts and humanities in particular provide fertile ground to cross international and cultural boundaries, and I very much look forward to the new perspectives our students, faculty and university community will gain from engaging with visiting Mexican scholars and artists in the coming years.”
USC’s bonds with Mexico have been on a steady growth trajectory. The number of degree-seeking students at USC from the country has more than doubled in the past five years while new partnerships with leading Mexican universities, including the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and Iberoamericana University, have enriched academic scholarship at USC and in Mexico.
USC also has in place several landmark partnerships with the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) — the Mexican equivalent of the National Science Foundation — including an agreement for USC to host postdoctoral fellowships for Mexican scholars to study at USC for up to two years. Eleven outstanding researchers were hosted on campus in the past year and that number is expected to grow.
USC first opened an office in Mexico City in 2005 to foster partnerships, engage alumni and attract prospective students. Nikias led a delegation of university leaders to the country in 2015 and earlier this year, Provost Michael Quick led a follow-up trip to Mexico City, where he helped to launch the call for the current cycle of CONACYT-USC-sponsored postdoctoral researchers.
USC’s broad-reaching academic partnerships with Mexican institutions have addressed several key topics, including drug abuse in Mexico City, aging and health among Mexico’s senior citizens and poverty alleviation in Yucatan. A number of collaborations have focused on arts and culture. Later this year, Mexican artist Demian Flores will stage an exhibition at the USC Fisher Museum of Art.
By Eric Abelev