Mexico and the United States have shared many historical,
cultural, and linguistic bonds, and since the signing of
NAFTA, our countries have become inextricably linked by
growing economic ties. Local and regional prosperity depends
largely on the global competencies of our future professionals
who are today's students and education leaders acknowledge
that higher education must take a more aggressive role in
offering students opportunities to gain international expertise,
particularly in our North American regional context.
Beginning in 1992, two landmark meetings, “Wingspread”
and “Vancouver” helped steer the direction of higher
education collaboration in North America. CONAHEC, the Consortium
for North American Higher Education Collaboration, and its members
recognize that the need for North American higher education collaboration
is greater than ever, and in conjunction with its 8th North American
Higher Education Conference held in 2002, CONAHEC and its host
institution, Mount Royal College, convened a Priorities Committee
of recognized higher education experts in North America.
Prior to the event, committee members conducted a study of issues
and trends in North American higher education collaboration since
the movement began in 1992 with Wingspread. From the study, the
committee drafted ten recommendations to further this important
regional collaborative agenda. The committee then solicited that
North American higher education stakeholders rank the recommendations
according to priority, as well as to suggest additional recommendations.
Based on the document produced, CONAHEC adopted the following
recommendations as the basis for our working agenda:
A proposal to the three federal governments
(Mexico, Canada and the U.S.) that they establish a permanent
North American Trilateral Commission to provide sustaining
infrastructure, strategic direction, and funding for a variety
of programmatic initiatives that foster North American higher
Further development of the existing Program
for North American Mobility in Higher Education to
facilitate and fund student and faculty movement at much higher
levels and with greater flexibility. The program is funded by
Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), the Fund for the
Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S.
Department of Education, and the Mexican Ministry of Education
(SEP). It was also recommended that the program expand its scope
to offer exchange opportunities for faculty and administrators.
Develop a mechanism that promotes quality
assurance of institutions and the recognition of course and
program equivalencies in a trinational context.
Create an incentive fund or collaborative
financial mechanisms to encourage and support collaborative
research in North America.
Develop guidelines and infrastructure to
strengthen and expand collaboration and partnerships
between the colleges and universities and the business sector.
Reinforce the importance of acquiring
a second and third language for all students in North
Develop a mechanism for promoting quality
assurance and recognition of certification of skills
for the professions and technical occupations in support
of North American professional mobility.
Review post-September 11th immigration
regulations in the three countries and determine the
impact on the future of North American mobility for faculty
Develop a trilateral proposal for the establishment
and growth of centers for North American studies to
advance scholarship and research on relations between Canada,
Mexico and the United States.
Find high levels of financial support to
enable CONAHEC to sustain and expand the electronic
information base and clearinghouse.
CONAHEC members and related organizations are encouraged to