Higher ed leaders talk education's role in bridging international divides
- University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings and University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves say education will be the key to strengthening continental relations between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
- The three North American nations share common goals on eradicating poverty, building productivity through education and strengthening infrastructure, and the leaders agree governmental regulations and bureaucracy often slow the speed of educational partnerships and discourage joint work.
- Energy, health care and information technology are shared areas where the three nations are increasing innovation and access, but challenges still exist for research and student exchange agreements.
Fenves said it is important for leaders to recognize "important problems take place in a societal context," and collaboration should be encouraged with other partners in the global society. Industrial partnerships between North American nations would offer limitless benefits across borders. But borders, given the current political climate, could soon transform from an opportunity to share success into a divisive international hot topic.
Colleges and universities are among the few organizations which can seek partnerships with government encouraging exchange of technology, human capital and knowledge base. If these three countries can demonstrate shared vision for making the world healthier, smarter and richer, the rest of the globe would certainly, and quickly, take notice.
- George W. Bush Institute Unifying North America through education