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New Mexico State University

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Education summit to discuss education in New Mexico and Mexico

The Bi-National Rural Indigenous Education Summit, scheduled for Dec. 1 and 2 in Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico, will bring together educators from two countries to discuss the successes of educating indigenous and Native American peoples.

Eric Lopez of New Mexico State University's College of Education said the summit is the result of a smaller Chihuahua education symposium that faculty attended this summer in Creel.

"We're hoping to discuss what some of the best practices are in Chihuahua and New Mexico," said Lopez, who holds the Stan Fulton Endowed Chair for the Improvement of Border and Rural Schools.

Keynote speakers for the event include Teresa Gomez, the deputy director of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department; Nancy Martine-Alonzo, assistant secretary for Indian Education; Herman Garcia, an NMSU curriculum and instruction regents professor; Roy Howard, of Western New Mexico University; and Maggie George, director of educational equity and access with the New Mexico Higher Education Department.

Lopez said the first day of the summit in Chihuahua, a seven- to eight-hour drive from Las Cruces, will allow educators to discuss what successful informal or formal educational techniques are working. The afternoon session will allow for exploration of intercultural relational issues. The second day will be a wrap-up session to summarize the previous day's work and to discuss the next step. Each day the summit will break up into discussion groups to talk about the day's topic.

"Our goal is to build collaboration to enhance education," Lopez said. "This is an opportunity to build ties and communicate."

Lopez coordinated the New Mexico participation in the summit, assisted by Don Pepion, director of NMSU's American Indian Programs, and Everett Egginton, dean of NMSU's International and Border Programs. Egginton is co-principal investigator for an NMSU partnership with Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua for the Sierra Tarahumara grant funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by a Higher Education for Development (HED) grant.

Other participants in the event will include parents, staff and community and civic leaders. For more information call Lopez at (505) 646-1348.