Quick Takes: UC Mexico Initiative

The recently proposed UC Mexico Initiative creates a partnership with Universidad Autonoma De Baja California Mexico, Increasing Political and Cultural Ties Between California and Mexico.

Student Exchange Program Will Improve International Relations and Cultural Understanding

Last year, Chancellor Khosla signed a memorandum of understanding with Autonomous University in Baja California President Felipe Cuamea Velazquez that is intended to strengthen university ties across the border and allow for, according to Khosla, a “meaningful exchange of ideas and resources between our students and faculty.” However, this agreement is not new; UCSD has had a long history of collaboration with sundry Mexican institutions. A couple of months later, UC President Janet Napolitano signed a five-year agreement with Leonardo Beltran, the Mexican secretariat of energy and deputy secretary for energy energy planning and transition, to allow for cooperation on addressing issues, such as renewable energy resources, that are faced by both countries.

As our world is becoming globalized and cultural flows are increasing, it is necessary for institutions to work together to improve the needs of populations on both sides of the border. While the effects of the initiative are yet to be seen, the UC-Mexico Initiative and other agreements like it will bring awareness to conditions individuals in Mexico face, considering that, as of 2011, 83 percent of the approximately 14.4 million Latinos, of whom make up 39 percent of California’s population, living in the state are from Mexico, and immigration rates are increasing.

Immigration continues to be a contentious issue, especially after President Obama passed executive orders deferring the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Although the initiatives are primarily focused on research, they will undoubtedly provide a perspective on how an easier exchange of ideas can benefit both countries. Additionally, students are given the opportunity to obtain skills, such as learning Spanish, and a cultural understanding less inhibited by a heavily guarded border.

— TINA BUTOIU News Editor

Multilingualism Should Be Prioritized With University of California Mexico Initiative 

Imagine an American high school student with an Italian father and a Spanish mother that was put in a European school system with a language curriculum of French, English and German every year since the sixth grade. Knowing multiple languages enhances curriculum vitae and helps young students to get in touch with other cultures, therefore helping them better understand the modern world we live in. The American system does not allow for the same cultural awareness, and it is far behind in terms of languages, as other countries at least learn English as a second language very early in a student’s education.

With Mexico emerging as a world power, it is becoming important for a border state, like California, to pay more attention to multicultural homes, especially those with Latin-American immigrants. Getting students to learn Spanish on a more consistent basis would strengthen the links between the United States and Mexico, just as the UC-Mexico Initiative plans to do.

The 2015 class of incoming freshmen will be the first in UC history with a higher percentage of Latino students than white students. The Los Angeles Times tells us that “28.8 percent of those admitted to at least one UC campus were Latino, compared with 26.8 percent white. At 36.2 percent, Asian-Americans again made up the largest ethnic group among admitted students from California. Blacks from California were just 4.2 percent.” This is evidence that the culture is changing in the United States, which also means there needs to be a change in the culture of education. In a new era of globalization, knowing several languages is an advantage that the United States has to enforce on students, not only in college, but at every level.