The U.S.-Mexico Internship Exchange Program – as chronicled in previous posts (see Mexico MOU Signing Ceremony) – is a central pillar in the bilateral strategy to vastly increase two-way exchanges between our countries. The strength of our relationship and the excitement on both sides of the border to increase cooperation on exchanges encouraged us to try something new. We worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, and their academic and government partners to arrange a study tour for interested J-1 designated intern sponsors to visit Mexico City and Puebla, Mexico.
Our goal for this trip was to open up channels of cooperation for Mexican and American organizations, and to educate Mexican stakeholders about processes and opportunities within privately-funded exchange programs. A busy schedule of meetings with partners from federal and state governments, binational organizations, private sector, and academia led to new friends, new ideas, and palpable energy and enthusiasm around the U.S.-Mexico Internship program. Meetings with CONAGO, SENER, and CONACYT opened up possibilities of cooperation on a large scale. The J-1 sponsors met with some 75 Mexican university representatives in Mexico City and another 130 in Puebla to exchange important information and establish relationships.
This inaugural trip was exciting for me – I watched new partnerships being made that will measurably benefit both countries. The cherry on top was meeting Rodrigo, the General Manager of the extraordinary hotel and restaurant in Puebla, Casareyna. Can you guess which not-so-secret ingredient landed him the job? Yep, a J-1 internship!
|About Nicole Elkon|
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange
Nicole Elkon joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange in September 2021. Until June 2021, Ms. Elkon was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Human Rights First, an independent advocacy organization focused on human rights and the rule of law. Prior to her position as COO, Ms. Elkon was a Senior Advisor at Results for America (RFA), a non-profit organization focused on advancing data-driven, evidence based public policy at all levels of government. She also served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of ECA and was Director of the Office of Public Private Partnerships at ECA working to leverage strategic partnerships to enhance Administration foreign policy priorities.Read More
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