Mexico undersecretary's visit formalizes relationship between ASU, neighbor nation for collaboration in research, education
The visit here from Mexico’s lead energy-reform planner June 23 underscores the key role Arizona State University will have in working with the United States’ southern neighbor to take its energy sector into the future.
Leonardo Beltrán Rodríguez, undersecretary for planning and energy transition under Mexico’s Secretary of Energy (SENER), met with ASU leaders and academics in Tempe before heading to Scottsdale to address the Arizona-Mexico Commission Summit 2016.
Beltrán (pictured above) is managing the most significant reform of Mexico’s energy sector in more than 70 years — a historic move that includes privatizing the state-run system.
“The energy reform is enabling us to take full advantage of our nation’s natural resources, infrastructure and talent,” said Beltrán. “And in talent, specifically, this opens a window of opportunities.”
The previous state-controlled energy-sector model was inefficient at integrating with other institutions to have its needs met, he said. But it took constitutional action and national consensus at many levels to change the system.
“It wasn’t a model that gave signals to the market so the education sector could pick up on those signals and determine needs, whether it be electrical engineers, petroleum engineers, geologists, electricians, etc.,” said Beltrán, who holds a master’s degree in public administration and international development from Harvard. “With the reform we can have markets, such as electricity and energy, cohabitating with the talent market.”
During the visit, Beltrán and ASU Provost Mark Searle signed a letter of intent to formalize the relationship between the university and SENER. The goal, among others, is for ASU to collaborate with SENER in developing the talent pool needed as Mexico’s reforms move forward.
“This is where Mexico turns to its associates and friends to see how we can reinforce, amplify and consolidate the institutional capacities that we have,” said Beltrán. “ASU has great and very important capabilities related to the development of the energy sector, and in particular in the fields of sustainability and renewable energy.”