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Traditions and innovations from Mexico celebrated on campus

Published: 1 June 2014

The newly-appointed Mexican Ambassador to the UK officially launched the University of Southampton’s Mexico Weekend 2014; it was His Excellency Diego Gomez Pickering’s first official engagement in his new role.

He reminded the audience that the UK was the first country in Europe to recognise independent Mexico in 1823 and the port of Southampton acted as an important bridge between the two countries. "I am pleased to be here to launch your special weekend celebrating our culture, tradition, tourism, education and innovation," he says. "I also look forward to 2015 which will see even more events marking the many links between the UK and Mexico." The delegation from the Mexican Embassy also saw the work of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre.

The 2014 weekend started with a traditional Mariachi band playing near the Students Union buildings on campus and included a study day organised by the University's Lifelong Learning team, covering themes of migration and a film showing of Sin Nombre. Pro Vice Chancellor for International Affairs, Professor Mark Spearing says Mexican academics are becoming increasingly important at the highest level of research. "Many collaborations already exist between staff in Southampton and colleagues in Mexican universities; 123 joint projects are now underway, representing around three per cent of Southampton's research and at present, there are 105 Mexican students at the University."

Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test and a Southampton Politics and Philosophy graduate, was in the country five years ago, looking at an innovative recycling project. "Mexico is one of the world's most rapidly developing countries, with many connections but we need to foster more of them," he says.

Professor Clare Mar-Molinero, Director of Mexsu, the University's Centre for Mexico-Southampton Collaboration organised the weekend with PhD student Esteban Davis (from Colombia). She says she aims to strengthen cross cultural connections through the activities. "Our students who spend time as part of their degrees in the country always value the experience. We want to make more people in Southampton aware of the exciting country of Mexico and all its opportunities."

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