Mexico visit aims to enhance Yale’s profile

Yale is increasing its efforts to build ties with Mexico by sending a small University-sponsored delegation to the country this week.

Monday marked the first day of the group’s week long trip to Mexico, which the University and the Yale Club in Mexico organized to increase Yale’s visibility in the country and build the regional alumni network. The Yale delegation includes a handful of University admissions representatives and professors who are speaking at local universities in Mexico on topics related to their areas of expertise.

Yale President Richard Levin said the event will build on the successes of the University’s last visit to the country in May 2002, when a 10-member delegation of Yale officials and professors met with senior Mexican government officials, universities and alumni. Levin accompanied the group during the last trip to Mexico, but he will not attend this event.

“One of the goals at that time was to reinvigorate the Yale alumni infrastructure in Mexico,” Levin said. “This is the most action that Yale has produced since the 2002 visit. It is really a positive development.”

The event is primarily being organized by current Yale alumni club president Jaime Serra ’77 GRD ’79, a former Mexican finance secretary and former Yale Corporation fellow, University Associate Secretary Donald Filer said. Serra is spearheading the effort to increase Yale’s profile in the country — the professors’ talks will be covered by local media outlets in Mexico, Filer said.

“[Serra] had decided that it is a very important thing for him as president of the Yale Club to do all that he can to help his countrymen learn more about Yale,” Filer said.

The University also sent admissions officers from the college and the School of Management. Students in Mexico have showed an increased interest in obtaining a professional degree from Yale, Filer said, and interactions between prospective students and Yale representatives will likely increase interest in the University.

The program is part of Levin’s broader goal of making Yale a more global university and increasing its prominence overseas, School of Management professor Paul Bracken said. Bracken, one of the five faculty members on the trip, will give two talks this week entitled “Democracy and Big Business” and “Current Political and Business Situation in Mexico in the Context of Globalization and Private Equity.”

Members of the delegation will also meet with members of Mexico’s business community to discuss the ways in which firms are reacting to globalization and how private equity could integrate Mexican companies with other countries, Bracken said. The week has the potential to forge future collaborations, he said.

“Yale Week in Mexico goes beyond a one time drop in of faculty lectures,” Bracken said. “It’s a platform for innovation. This could lead to accelerated learning for Yale, Mexico, and for business.”

Other faculty members on the trip include Saybrook Master Mary Miller, Yale Diplomat-in-Residence Charles Hill, history professor Rebecca Tannenbaum and astronomy professor Charles Bailyn.

Reny Diaz ’08, a student coordinator for La Casa Cultural, said he thinks the trip will strengthen connections between the University and alumni overseas.

“I think it’s definitely a good idea,” Diaz said. “I would say that anything that is reaching out to Latin America and showing Yale’s presence there is something that is good for Latino alumni here.”

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