Monday, July 09, 2007


President visits Mexico

EWU President Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo leaves today for a education mission to Mexico. This is part of his plan to eventually bring more diversity to campus, in part by attracting more international students.
Here's the article, from the Sunday Spokesman.
start something big.

Gregoire leads Mexico mission

Richard RoeslerStaff writerJuly 8, 2007

OLYMPIA -- Seeking broader horizons for both students and research, Eastern Washington University President Rodolfo Arevalo is slated to join the governor and business leaders Monday on an educational and trade mission to Mexico.
"We're looking at Mexico as another area where we can effectively recruit students," Arevalo said.
He said the number of foreign students at Eastern now is fairly small ¡V about 3 percent ¡V and drawn largely from Japan, China and Saudi Arabia.
The five-day Mexico trip is the latest in a series of international trips led by Gov. Chris Gregoire. In less than 2ƒ1/2 years in office, she has brought groups of government, business and education officials to China, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
"There are a lot of big markets out there for our products," said Holly Armstrong, spokeswoman for the governor. "And it does open doors when a business can say, ¡¥I'm traveling with the governor. Would you be willing to meet with us?'ƒ"
The trips pay off, she said, by bolstering the state's economy, including foreign investment and tourism. After Gregoire met with 11 aircraft parts suppliers at the Paris Air Show, Armstrong said, six of those companies set up shop in Washington. The trips have also spurred sales of the state's apples, wine and other products, Armstrong said.
Business groups pay their own way; taxpayers will cover the estimated $4,000 to $5,000 per-person cost for about two dozen government and academic officials.
On the trip, Arevalo and vice provost Earl Gibbons plan to sign a new partnership agreement with Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. The goal, he said, is to foster student and faculty exchanges, joint research and other sharing of ideas. The university plans to sign a similar agreement with another Mexican university in September.
Arevalo's migrant-worker parents came from a city in northern Mexico, eventually settling in Texas. He speaks fluent Spanish.
Arevalo said he's also interested in the trade aspect of the trip, particularly in the kinds of professional expertise Eastern graduates could potentially provide.
"More and more of our business and industry in the Spokane area is becoming more internationally focused," he said.
Among those businesses: Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which is sending public affairs director Susan Fagan on the trip.
The electrical-component company is already doing business in Mexico, with about 150 employees in five Mexican cities. Fagan said major clients include a large power company, as well as cement, steel, oil and gas firms.
"We've had customers there for more than 15 years," she said. Mexico last year became one of Washington's top-10 trade partners. The country's purchases last year included $128 million in Washington apples.
Other companies and institutions sending people on the trip include Darigold, Weyerhaeuser, the state labor council, Skagit Valley College, Tacoma Community College and the state apple, potato and beef trade groups.
During the trip, Washington State Patrol officials will also sign an agreement with the Mexican state of Jalisco's Secretariat of Public Security, Prevention and Social Readaptation to work jointly on security training.
The trip will be Gregoire's first trade mission to Mexico, but not her first foray into international relations with that country. Last year, then-President Vicente Fox took Gregoire up on an off-the-cuff invitation, visiting Washington and touring orchards in Yakima. The trip sent Gregoire's office scrambling to arrange a jet gangway to be trucked from Seattle to the Yakima airport for Fox's presidential jet.
On this trip, Gregoire will meet with President Felipe Calderon and Foreign Affairs Secretary Patricia Espinosa Cantellano.
Richard Roesler can be reached at (360) 664-2598 or by e-mail at

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