Other Discussions on Mexico

Science and the University

WAIS naturally has a preponderance of people in the social sciences, but others do research which has clear international implications; we therefore especially welcome those in the natural and geological sciences. Jose Sarukhan, who recently completed two terms as president of the University of Mexico (UNAM), is a specialist on biodiversity; his election as WAIS Fellow was warmly welcomed. We interviewed him in our TV program, and now the Stanford Report (7/1/98) has run a full-page account of his work as a scientist and as university president.

I thought of him when reading a report on Mexico. Mexico City is full of poverty and crime, but a Cultural Foundation has been set up to organize art exhibits in every district. I recall that some years ago I was taken to the Social Security Association (IMSS) to see a play. I think there was no entrance charge. The audience was middle class. My host described all the cultural activities of the Association. When I asked about unemployment benefits, he replied "That would cost too much." Because of shortage of funds, the University of Mexico is being forced to give up major projects, including the construction of new buildings. The amazing thing is that in Mexico, as in Spain, scientists do significant work despite all these financial problems.

Ronald Hilton - 07/03/98