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From Letter of Intent to Memorandum of Understanding: Ever More Exchange Opportunities Between the United States and Mexico

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2015 at 3:17 pm.


A/S Ryan, Under Secretary for North American Affairs for the Government of Mexico Sergio Alcocer, and representatives of the Mexican Embassy

On Monday, March 16, Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan and Under Secretary for North American Affairs for the Government of Mexico, Sergio Alcocer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to officially establish the J-1 U.S.-Mexico Internship Exchange Program. This historic event follows the signing of the letter of intent to create the program on January 5, which was featured in my blog earlier this year.

A/S Ryan and Under Secretary for North American Affairs for the Government of Mexico Sergio Alcocer sign the Memorandum of Understanding

A/S Ryan and Under Secretary for North American Affairs for the Government of Mexico Sergio Alcocer sign the Memorandum of Understanding

It was an incredible honor to welcome over 60 representatives of the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Mexico, bilateral organizations, J-1 internship sponsors, private corporations, and current Mexican J-1 Intern participants.

This new initiative will expand academic exchange internship opportunities for U.S. and Mexican college students and recent graduates to develop a strong regional workforce and to further strengthen our robust economic partnership. Did you know that the United States is Mexico’s largest trading partner? In 2014, U.S. trade with Mexico grew 5.5% to $584.7 billion. In addition, 22 U.S. states count Mexico as a top destination for their exports.

Through the J-1 Internship Exchange Program, Mexican exchange visitors will experience life working and integrating into U.S. companies and communities for up to one year. Individuals gain invaluable skills that will help them become future leaders in their industry and communities while organizations are exposed to the expertise and perspective of the intern, helping to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

DAS Lerner speaks with J-1 Interns from Mexico

DAS Lerner speaks with J-1 Interns from Mexico

A number of Mexican interns attended the MOU signing ceremony, including Mariana Guzman who is currently interning in the Office of Congressman Juan Vargas and is focusing on educational legislation and reform in the United States. She aspires to work with youth to address issues of poverty and education when she returns to Mexico.

Roman Reyes, an intern at CNS Global, works on quality management systems analyses and strategic plan proposals for development. Roman’s goal is to encourage young people to become involved in policy programs and to empower the youth in Mexico to start their own enterprises.


DAS Lerner and J-1 Interns from Mexico

Our hope is for this Memorandum of Understanding to inspire our two governments as well as our partners in academia and the private sector to find innovative ways to increase internship exchange opportunities for young people like Mariana and Roman in order to build a stronger 21st century workforce for both our countries.

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants

About Rebecca Pasini

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Rebecca Pasini

Rebecca A. Pasini joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges in July 2023. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister - Counselor, Ms. Pasini has been an American diplomat since 1997.

Ms. Pasini previously served as the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs from 2021-2023. Other Washington assignments have included positions in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Office of Foreign Missions, and as a liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. She has also completed multiple overseas tours, including as Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan, and as the Consular Chief in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Other tours included Mexico City and Kuwait.

A Maryland native, Ms. Pasini has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, a master’s degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, and an undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College.