Ambassador Garza: “Mexico’s richness lies in its people, history, and heritage. When we share our countries and cultures with visitors, we strengthen our mutual bonds of friendship and understanding. ”
Mexico City, February 13, 2007 - U.S. Ambassador Antonio O. Garza, Jr. welcomed U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes to Mexico for a four-day visit, February 12-15. “The purpose of the visit is to share with the Under Secretary Mexico’s great cultural wealth and beauty and to introduce her to many of our U.S. government programs in Mexico that promote educational and cultural exchange between our two countries,” said Ambassador Garza.
Monday, in Mexico City, the Ambassador and the Under Secretary toured the Templo Mayor and the exhibit “Revelations” at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso. “Revelations” includes Latin American art treasures from the 15th to 19th centuries from museums in Mexico, North, Central and South America and Europe, and is jointly curated by U.S. and Mexican cultural institutions. Under Secretary Hughes and Ambassador Garza also met with Secretary of Public Education Josefina Vazquez Mota and discussed ways to improve and expand educational opportunities between the two countries. In addition, the Ambassador hosted a lunch with officials of the National Council on Culture and the Arts (Conaculta), its dependent institutions and Foreign Ministry officials involved with artistic and cultural exchanges.
In the evening, Ambassador Garza hosted a reception in honor of the Fulbright-Garcia Robles program and its Board of Trustees. Since 1948, more than 4,000 Mexican and American citizens have received scholarships under this program to pursue academic interests.
Beginning today, Ambassador Garza and Under Secretary Hughes are visiting the state of Chiapas to highlight U.S. government-funded activities there. The Governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero, is accompanying the Ambassador and the Under Secretary throughout their two-day tour.
While in Chiapas, the Ambassador and Under Secretary Hughes met with leaders from three indigenous communities to celebrate the first use of coffee processing equipment provided by the U.S. government (Click here to read Amb. Garza's remarks at this event and at the ceremony recognizing the Conservation Coffee Alliance). They also visited with local women who are members of Alternativas Solidarias (AlSol) that provides business loans and social services to indigenous women in rural Chiapas. AlSol receives technical assistance from the U.S. government and now serves over 9,000 women. Additionally, the Ambassador announced increased U.S. government funding for Senda Sur, an information and reservation center for ecotourism (Click here to read Amb. Garza's remarks).
On Wednesday morning, the Ambassador and Under Secretary Hughes will tour an exhibit by the American photographer Edward Curtis at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) museum in Tuxtla Gutierrez. They also will visit a photography workshop where the Under Secretary will announce a photography competition for local school-aged children.
Before departing Tuxtla Gutierrez, the Ambassador and Under Secretary will greet indigenous students and teachers from Chiapas who received funding from the Training, Internships, Exchanges and Scholarships (TIES) program to attend community colleges in the United States.
Ambassador Garza added: “Under Secretary Hughes will travel to Guadalajara on February 14th for the last part of her visit to Mexico. At the Mexican-North American Cultural Institute of Jalisco, she will meet with children in an English-language class and present a donation of books for young people and computer software for English language learning to add to the Institute’s resources. At the University of Guadalajara Center for Social Sciences and Humanities, Under Secretary Hughes will participate in a ceremony to inaugurate the North American Studies Center. Finally, Under Secretary Hughes will visit the Computer-Assisted Design Laboratory at ITESO University, an important university-business-government partnership.”