Groningen Declaration Network Annual Meeting 2019

It is a great pleasure for me to greet you and to give you the most cordial welcome to UPAEP, to 
the city of Puebla and to Mexico, for the 8th Groningen Declaration Network Annual Meeting, to be held from April 24 to 26, 2019 at our university.

UPAEP was born in 1973 as a project of the Puebla society, led by a group of businessmen and 
students who in their time decided to make a difference and undertake, for the sake of university freedom and autonomy, a new project that crystallizes in what today is an institution committed to the search and dissemination of truth, which wants to be consistent with Christian humanism. Therefore, today as yesterday, it is committed to the training of professionals who are a factor of change and transformation in order to build the Common Good.

Our world demands from university students to act locally, with a global perspective. In this sense, UPAEP has been a pioneer in the internationalization of its university community, based on a vision of interculturality that entails the valorization of the national culture to share and enrich it with other cultures. In this line, and due to its spirit and international vocation, UPAEP has created partnerships and collaborative programs with internationally recognized institutions such as the University of Notre Dame, New York University, Oklahoma State University, MIT, Harvard University, and many more around the world, offering today a number of student mobility, teaching and research programs, as well as professional internships abroad, in addition to 84 double-degree programs at prestigious universities around the globe.

Puebla is a city with almost 490 years of history, founded on April 16, 1531, as a place of rest and replenishment between the port of Veracruz and the great Tenochtitlan, during the time of the Spanish colony. Being the fourth most important city in the country, after Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, with a population of almost 3 million in its metropolitan area, the city of Puebla combines history and pre-Columbian and colonial culture with development and modernity, being internationally recognized for its splendid gastronomy and hospitality and, more recently, as a "university city," due to the large number of higher education institutions that have been established in it and the number of students from all over the country and other parts of the world that reside here In addition, Puebla was recognized by the Wall Street Journal as the second most interesting city to visit in 2018 (leaving only the Faroer Islands in first position), in the article "Where to travel in 2018", signed by journalist Christian L. Wright.

Thanks to its strategic geographical location, the city of Puebla is an ideal venue to take and integrate the Groningen Declaration Network vision to all of Latin America, to make learning throughout life a global reality, since Mexico, being part of Mesoamerica, serves as a natural bridge between Latin America and North America and, due to its Hispanic origin, also with Europe. Finally, the innovative and technological vocation of UPAEP, together with the Digital Strategy promoted by the Mexican Government, make the moment ideal for Mexico to lead in Latin America the transformation towards a global education. Greetings with affection on behalf of the UPAEP community, hoping to receive you all in the 8th Groningen Declaration Network Annual Meeting, which we are preparing with enthusiasm to make it memorable.

Universidad Popular Autònoma del Estado de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico