Saturday, August 14, 2010

Some reflections on Mexico

I've spent most of the week traveling.  On Sunday in Boston, then Raleigh, then Sacramento, then Mexico for the last two days.  For most of the last two decades I have been a frequent visitor to Mexico and its universities.   Yesterday I had a lunch with two senior officials in higher education.   We were discussing how to get more universities in our two countries to connect.  One said they have great relationships with universities in many parts of the world including Brazil, Israel, Japan, Cuba - some of those have large Spanish speaking populations others do not.  Getting universities to recognize opportunities is not always easy.  But we will try again.

They lamented the dropped initiatives that the Bush Administration did with Mexico after 9/11.  I believe one of the failings of that Administration was their diminished attention to Mexico.  A week before 9/11 the US and Mexico (including one of my lunch companions) was negotiating how to deal with immigration issues - but that all ended.

In the evening I had dinner with one of my Mexican "sons."  Over the years my wife and I have established close relations with a lot of young Mexican students who have now grown into great professionals.  This one struggled through a doctorate but actually did a good dissertation.   He is also a lawyer and is defending a priest in a high profile case.   His big news last night was his engagement.  I had met the girl before.  She is wonderful.  He is a very fortunate guy.  

Finally there is the impression of the economy.  A couple of notions. First, the economic havoc of the US right now is not evident in Mexico.  It was once said that if the US got a cold, Mexico got influenza - that does not seem to be true.   Second, the exchange rates for the dollar are pretty widely varied.   The buy rates vary by more than 30 pesos.  That means a couple of things - there is pretty good uncertainty about the US economy.  News Flash - even the casa de cambios can recognize that.

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