Exchange Program Brings Mexican Students to NYC

Nine students from Puebla, Mexico arrived in New York City on July 14, 2013, to participate in a bi-national 10-day leadership and skill-building program at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. The students attend the Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAE), and the program is part of a Mexican-American collaborative effort between the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at NYU Silver and UPAEP.

Launched with support from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, the CLAFH-UPAEP exchange program is based on participatory leadership to prioritize community needs, employ cross-cultural learning, and create shared responsibility for action. As more than 60% of Mexican immigrants in New York City are estimated to be natives of Puebla, there is a critical need for a bi-national approach to confront the distinct challenges of Poblanos in Mexico and in New York. To engage the socio-political environment and understand the complex factors contributing to increased migration to New York City, efforts to address the implications of transnational movement must stem from a two-country approach.

The student exchange program is part of CLAFH and UPAEP’s commitment to conduct joint research to examine social work and public health issues associated with migration between the United States and Mexico. Mexico, in particular, is an important global partner for New York City and the broader United States, and this partnership promotes NYU Silver's mission to advance global health research and multinational efforts to understand and address social and economic problems.

During the program, students took part in dialogue with leaders in New York City (scholars, directors of organizations, entrepreneurs, artists, etc.), visited significant organizations and neighborhoods and learned skills for assessing and addressing needs in their own communities. Participation in the CLAFH-UPAEP Exchange is an opportunity to foster social change with a bi-national lens. Students were encouraged to report positive local impacts from their experiences.