MEXICO - Health & Education
Rector, Anahuac University
Abraham Cárdenas González was born in Mexico City and attended Anahuac University. He was the Administrator for colleges in Dallas and Monterrey before being appointed Secretary General of Anahuac University in August 2006. Since then, he has moved up the ranks to Vice-President of Training, Academic Vice-President, and finally he became Rector in July 2012.
At the time of Anahuac University’s inception, education in Mexico offered huge opportunities for the private sector because the public education system was below standard. In 1954, we established a private K-12 school called Instituto Cumbres, with the goal of helping the country educate its future leaders. We devoted all of our efforts—money we collected with the support of a huge fundraising division—and gathered entrepreneurs, scientists, and education experts to start the school. We wanted to start a college in 1955, but we didn’t have enough students, funding, or land. It wasn’t until 1964 that we had the chance to purchase a piece of land that is now called Interlomas. With the help of donations from foundations and individuals, we began building a provisional university, which attracted people with a common idea to form a new generation of leaders. In 2014, it will mark our 50-year anniversary, which we are actively preparing for. Since 1983, this campus has rested upon 24 hectares. At the Mexico Norte campus, we have an additional 20 hectares. Our thought process was that Mexico is so huge that it is necessary to operate at two different locations. We have also expanded the number of high schools and K-12 schools across the city. In Mexico City, we operate 52 schools and two colleges.
We were very fortunate because our main benefactors and their children are alumni; we have a close connection to people in business, industry, and health care. Our tradition at Anuhuac has long been based on medicine; we fundraise with people in the healthcare sector, and we have developed a close friendship with many medical professionals. In addition, the school selects a handful of the main business people in Mexico to comment on how we should be teaching our students. We offer eight different degrees in business and economics. Another important department is tourism, for which we offer programs in tourism administration and gastronomy. We maintain the vision that many of our friends, benefactors, and main business partners work in the field of tourism. The university also has a vision to shape great entrepreneurs and business people through degrees in fields such as economics, international business, marketing, and business administration.
The competition has become very tough. Anuhuac University was initially successful because there was a large amount of wealthy families that could afford to pay private tuition at the time of our establishment. Most of the private universities in the 1970s and 1980s were doing well; more people were willing to pay for the private education that we could offer. Every institution grew significantly during that time. During the crisis between 1987 and 1995, we experienced some problems. After the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed, the high-income segment of the population started to dissipate. With the treaty, we began to see more balance in the economy of Mexico, and the social gaps were closing. Gradually, fewer people were able to afford private school tuition. At the same time, public education had a lot of room for improvement, and the government began to open technical universities. We followed suit, and over a period of seven years we enrolled approximately 15,000 students. One reason why the private education sector experienced tougher competition is because of the costs associated with ensuring quality, building facilities, attracting high-degree teachers, and paying the appropriate salaries. Although there is huge competition in Mexico, it is beneficial because each school is forced to aim for the best and introduce more options, new degrees, and different ways of educating young people.
MEXICO - Agriculture
General Secretary, National Food and Commerce Union (SNAC)