Columbia University and Mexico's National Council of Science and Technology, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) have established CONACYT-Columbia Fellowships to guarantee full funding for qualifying Mexican students who have been accepted to doctoral programs at Columbia University in identified common interest areas.
"CONACYT is well known for funding top students in the natural sciences and also economics and political science," said Henry Pinkham, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. "In fact, Columbia has already benefited for many years from the presence of excellent CONACYT-funded Mexican students in these fields. The new agreement will cement, formalize and extend our work to all the social sciences and the humanities. This is a significant improvement for both parties," he said.
The first participants will begin their studies in Fall 2006. While there is no limit to the number of students eligible for a CONACYT-Columbia Fellowship, program administrators expect approximately 25 Mexican Ph.D. students to receive funding at any given time. Many of the CONACYT-Columbia Fellows are expected to return to Mexico upon completion of their studies.
"The CONACYT-Columbia Fellowships will enable some of the brightest minds in Mexico to study and do research at Columbia University who otherwise might not be able to attend," said Thomas J. Trebat, executive director of Columbia's Institute of Latin American Studies. "This fellowship is a win-win situation. Columbia University will benefit from the presence of some of Mexico's top students, while the fellows will be accorded the opportunity to study at a world-class university and afterward bring that knowledge home for the benefit of Mexico."
"We will be looking to our Columbia University alumni base living in Mexico to help support and promote this program," said Shalini Mimani, assistant director of development for the regional institutes at the School of International and Public Affairs. "Approximately 500 Columbia alumni live in Mexico. We hope that they will spread the word about the CONACYT-Columbia Fellowships."
Under the partnership agreement, qualifying Mexican citizens will receive funding to cover tuition and living expenses for up to five years. Columbia and CONACYT will share roughly equal portions of the program's costs according to the agreement, which was approved by Pinkham.
CONACYT is Mexico's National Council of Science and Technology and its foremost agency supporting graduate education and research. CONACYT's international affairs director Efrain Aceves hailed the agreement as marking "a new era of expanded cooperation and partnership between Mexico and Columbia University." He added, "Mexican students benefiting from the CONACYT-Columbia Fellowship will contribute to the modernization of Mexico and fortify the already strong ties between Columbia and Mexico."
Those interested in applying to the program should contact Columbia's Institute for Latin American Studies at (+1) 212.854.4643 or email email@example.com. In Mexico, information is available at http://www.conacyt.mx/ or by calling CONACYT at (5255) 5322.7700, ext. 1514.