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Many of the brightest minds to come to Arizona State University from Mexico gathered together earlier this month for “Cena Mexicana,” which translates to “Mexican Supper,” an event designed to build a community among ASU graduate students from Arizona’s closest international neighbor.
The event was co-sponsored by ASU’s Graduate College and the ASU in Mexico Office. Speakers included Enrique Vivoni, associate dean of the Graduate College; Paola Garcia-Hicks, the Office of University Affairs' director of Mexico and Latin America Initiatives; as well as Rocio Rodriguez, consul of cultural affairs for the Consul General of Mexico in Phoenix.
Attendees enjoyed a live mariachi band and an authentic taqueria. A Dia de los Muertos altar served as an engaging exhibit, combining elements of indigenous Mexican cultural traditions, in which deceased loved ones are honored, with modern elements dedicated to issues of importance among ASU’s Mexican academic community, such as threats of extinction to indigenous languages and cultures and violence against women.
"The Graduate College and the ASU in Mexico Office strive to support graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from Mexico in their accomplishments at ASU,” Vivoni said.
One aspect of support these offices are working to increase is the availability of information about funding opportunities for Mexicans to participate in graduate studies at ASU.
Currently, the Graduate College provides financial support to Fulbright scholars from around the world who enroll in graduate programs at ASU by supplementing tuition not covered by assistantships. Per the Graduate College’s agreement with CONACYT, the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, awarded doctoral fellows receive ASU assistantships in addition to the funding package provided by their fellowship.
Mexican Fulbright and CONACYT scholars attending this event were encouraged to be ambassadors in ASU’s Mexican community about their experiences in pursuing and receiving scholarships.
Students also received information about a range of graduate-level resources and funding opportunities for Mexican nationals, updates on efforts to identify leaders and founding members for the creation of a formal Mexican student association at ASU, and information on support services available from their nearest consulate.
Cena Mexicana was an overwhelming success, according to Vivoni, and plans for holding it again are already underway.