A&M International to Host Border PACT Meeting Oct. 19-20

Texas A&M International University will host one of a series of regional working meetings of Border Partners in Action (Border PACT) Oct. 19-20.

Border PACT is a leading network of colleges and universities from the US-Mexico border region founded in 1997.

The Laredo meeting is one of four binational regional meetings dedicated to updating and developing a Regional Action Agenda to address the needs of each region. Laredo is part of Region Four, the Central and East Texas/Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas component.

"Renewing Our Efforts for Binational Academic Community Development" is the theme of the two-day conference. The Conference is being coordinated locally by Jose Garcia, A&M International vice president for finance and administration. The Conference will feature bilingual facilitators and simultaneous translation (English-Spanish).

The meeting will open with an evening reception at the host hotel, La Posada Hotel, from 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19.

Sessions will begin Friday at 8 a.m. with a breakfast at A&M International's Great Room with a welcome from Mayor Betty Flores, University president Dr. Charles Jennett and rector of the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Dr. Jose Maria Fraustro.

Friday's session will include an overview of Border PACT and presentation of mini-grants including results from a 1999 Mini-Grant project, "The Watershed-La Cuenca del Rio Program" by Dr. Michael Patrick, director of the University's Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development.

Other presenters will include Blanca Aurora Abrego Duclos, president of the Centro Internacional de Estudios de Rio Bravo; Carlos Villanueva Calderon, chief of the Nuevo Laredo Departamento de Desarrollo Regional de Educación; Joan Englehardt, coordinator of the South Texas Environmental Education and Research Center; Tom Miller, director of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center, and Karen Winch, director of the Academy of Global Business/Advanced Technology at United High School.

A lunch presentation will feature Webb County Judge Mercurio Martinez.

The closing afternoon sessions will focus on summaries of the Region Four Action Agenda, membership strategies and planning for Border PACT 2001 Regional Meetings.

Organizers believe that strong collaboration among border colleges and universities can achieve three objectives: 1.) increase the role of border higher education institutions to foster social change in the region; 2.) increase academic exchange opportunities for faculty and students and 3.) increase the sharing of institutional resources.

A&M International was one of the founding members of the network which is funded by the Ford Foundation and co-convened by the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC), the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (ANUIES).

In addition to its collaborative efforts, resources and services, the group has recently expanded its Border PACT Grants Program, funded by the Ford Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grants support US-Mexico borderlands collaborative projects among higher education institutions and borderland communities.

For more information on the Conference, please contact Elizabeth N. Martinez at A&M International, 956.326.2365. University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For information specific to Border PACT, visit the organization's web page at borderpact.org.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu