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EDINBURG, RGV – The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley has signed its first Memorandum of Understanding with a university from another country.

UTRGV president Guy Bailey joined Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas Rector C. P. Enrique C. Etienne Pérez del Río for the special MOU signing ceremony, held at UTRGV’s ITT Building on Dec. 3. The agreement paves the way for collaborative efforts between the two universities.

The event was hosted by UTRGV’s Office of Global Engagement, which oversees several university departments including the International Programs and Partnerships, International Admissions and Student Services and the Language Institute.

The MOU will promote academic interchange of faculty and students, joint research projects, exchange of academic publications, reports and other information, and collaborative professional development, among other activities as approved by both institutions, according to UTRGV leaders.

Bailey said the signing formally continues a relationship that has been in place for more than 25 years.

“Our institutions share much in common. We both have medical schools and both of our medical schools will be dealing with similar kinds of issues. There is a synergy there,” Bailey said in a statement. “Also, each of our universities have programs that are attractive to faculty and students. So faculty and student exchanges are very strong. Finally, many of our students have connections across the border. This is a great opportunity for us to build for the future.”

Pérez del Río, who became Autónoma de Tamaulipas’ rector in 2014, promoted his goal to graduate students with strong values, and who are qualified for the workforce.

The Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, based in Cd. Victoria, Tamps. has the highest enrollment in the state of Tamaulipas, serving about 40,000 students in 26 academic units, colleges and schools located in Reynosa, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Tampico, Cd. Mante and Valle Hermoso.

In addition to a medical school, it also has research and knowledge transfer centers.

“We have established three goals or three areas of action – academic quality, research and internationalization of the institution,” he said. “I am very proud to offer our university to you. We can do many great things together.”

The academic heads of both universities – Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Havidán Rodríguez and UAT’s Secretario Académico Dr. Marco Aurelio Navarro Leal – also spoke at the ceremony.

Navarro Leal spoke about the relationships between people on the both sides of the border. Family, economy and growth add strength to the region, he said. Collaboration among the universities will allow for more opportunities for students in growing sectors like technology and the emerging space industry in the region.

Research will be important in medical technology, in meeting both countries’ common challenges of maintaining clean air and water, Leal said.

“We need to start working together in terms of how we are going to prepare our students to face these new challenges,” he said.