Presidents of all three Arizona public universities came together in Tucson Tuesday along with University Presidents from Mexico. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Board of Regents and the Mexican Consulate held a conference on how universities on both sides of the border are working together to make the region stronger.

Often when people think of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, they get angry but we were at a program that talked about something very hopeful, very optimistic about the relationship and a lot of it centers on the cooperation between Universities in Arizona and in Mexico.

Presidents of University of Arizona, Arizona State, and Northern Arizona came together with presidents of two universities in Mexico to talk about how their cooperation could build Arizona and Mexico into a prosperous mega region powerful in education, medicine and sophisticated manufacturing.

Dr. Luis Enrique Palafox Maestre of Universidad Autonoma de Baja California says his university teamed with ASU to teach students the type of English they will need to build computer chips.

And we recently opened a specialized undergraduate program in semiconductor and microelectronics and we are on the right way to develop a talent pipeline for the region.

UA President Doctor Robert Robbins says preparing for the future of the region should begin with strong education the way back at the pre-school level and strong cooperation among universities.

We’re at a disadvantage if we don’t leverage assets with universities in Mexico because there’s a limitation to how much we can do with our three universities.

Rene Huerta leads the work study program at San Miguel High School. He looks forward to when his graduates can tap into the partnerships between Universities here and in Mexico.

I think that collaboration will bring the opportunity to explore new ideas on both sides, things that may be happening here that may not be happening on the other side of the border, and vice versa.