David Garza will be the first Latin American rector to hold this position within the U21 global network, which was founded in 1997.
By Rebeca Ruiz | CONECTA National News Desk - 04/25/2024 Photo Patricia Montaño, Tec de Monterrey

David Garza, Rector and Executive President of Tec de Monterrey, has announced his designation as the next chair of global university network Universitas 21 (U21) from May 2025.

Garza will become the first Latin American chair in the history of U21, which consists of 29 universities from 19 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Oceania.

The rector broke the news to the Tec community during a live broadcast from this city in the south of China.

“As well as being a great responsibility and a privilege, this is above all a great source of pride for our country, for our region, and especially for Tecnológico de Monterrey.

“I feel very proud of our institution for being given this great opportunity. It’s something that lines up very neatly with Tec de Monterrey’s internationalization strategy,” said the rector.


Watch this interview with Rector David Garza from Hong Kong (in Spanish):





The current chair of Universitas 21, Professor Shearer West (left), from the University of Nottingham, poses with her successor David Garza, from Tec de Monterrey. Photo: Patricia Montaño
Actual presidenta de Universitas21, Profesora Shearer West de la Universidad de Nottingham y el presidente electo, David Garza Salazar del Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Announcement boosts Tec’s internationalization

The rector explained that his appointment as the next chair of U21 strengthens the Tec’s internationalization efforts and presents an opportunity for bolstering international collaboration and promoting the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

“We’ve said that one of the priorities has to do with the institution’s internationalization efforts and gives us the opportunity to forge new agreements, projects, and initiatives.

“As we’re living in a world of major challenges: climate change, artificial intelligence, social challenges, and geopolitics, this an opportunity for learning and sharing best practices,” he added.

Garza emphasized that this appointment is an opportunity for the Tec to collaborate with universities of global prestige.

Moreover, these collaborations open up opportunities to promote student mobility and research for professors with foreign universities.

“We’re entering a phase in which the Tec has been recognized in the area of internationalization due to student mobility, and that’s going to continue.

“However, the moment has now come for the Tec to be recognized for being a more international institution,” said the rector.


“This is a great source of pride for our country, for our region, and especially for Tecnológico de Monterrey.” - David Garza


Making announcement at annual U21 meeting

As part of the process, Garza assumed the deputy chairship of this organization during the U21 Annual Network Meeting and Presidential Symposium held in Hong Kong from April 24 to 25.

From 2024 to 2025, the Tec’s rector will be Deputy Chair, and he will then be Chair from 2025 to 2027.

After 18 years of being a member of the U21 Network, David Garza was invited to join the executive committee in 2022.

“They invited me to join the executive committee in 2022, which gave me the opportunity to collaborate more closely with colleagues who are making decisions about the future of the network, projects, and initiatives that need to be developed,” he added.

“Why did they look to Tecnológico de Monterrey? It has to do with our participation in the student and researcher network, as well as our institution’s evident prestige.”

The U21 Annual Network Meeting and Presidential Symposium held in Hong Kong with the theme “Global Universities and the Workforce of the Future” brought together presidents and prominent representatives of the 29 universities in the network.

This event provided a platform for discussing urgent topics, addressing future challenges in higher education, and highlighting achievements.


New challenges, collaborations, and service

For the Tec’s rector and executive president, this new leadership position entails challenges, collaborations, and an opportunity to serve.

“It’s a position in which I’ll be performing a service that has to do with coordination and the best possible course for all members of the network to achieve our common goals.

“We’re going to be collaborating with other foreign universities on more challenging projects with even greater impact, which are chiefly global in nature,” he remarked.

One of the advantages of these collaborations is implementing practices in the Tec that not only benefit the student community but also make an impact on society.



“I’ve heard about ideas and best practices from elsewhere and realized that we can implement them at the Tec.

“I believe it’s going to be an opportunity for greater collaboration, an opportunity for greater international visibility for our institution, and an opportunity to learn about and discover best practices that we can incorporate,” he said.

What’s more, he explained that these opportunities transcend academia, as they are to do with global challenges such as sustainability, climate change, and technological progress.

“How can we contribute to capitalizing on opportunities and mitigating the challenges of these big dilemmas and opportunities that are coming to our world?

“By doing so with an impact that is not only local but also global, with the collaboration we’re going to have with different colleagues,” he said in an interview.


David Garza Salazar presenting the results of a roundtable on the strategy that U21 should follow for 2024-2027. Photo: Patricia Montaño
 David Garza Salazar presentando los resultados de una mesa de trabajo sobre la estrategia que U21 debe seguir para 2024-2027


Tec’s participation in global organizations

Besides this new appointment, Garza participates on the boards of other international academic organizations, such as the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The Tec is also a member of other networks such as the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), CINDA, La Triada, and the Hemispheric University Consortium (HUC).

Tec de Monterrey has signed agreements with more than ten Top 200 institutions and universities around the world and about fifty percent of its scientific publications are made in international collaborations.

“During our 80th anniversary, we said that Tecnológico de Monterrey was from Monterrey for Mexico, but the time has now come for Tecnológico de Monterrey to be from Mexico for the world,” said Garza.


“The time has come for Tecnológico de Monterrey to be from Mexico for the world.” - David Garza


About U21

Universitas 21 is a global network in which 29 leading universities from 19 countries around the world share a common goal: research, educational innovation, and student experience.

“It’s a very prestigious network that was formed in 1997. If you look at the members of this network, more than 85 percent of them are universities that are in the top 200 around the world.

“More than 65 percent of them are in the top 100 universities around the world. Although it’s a global network that focuses on internationalization, it understands internationalization in the broadest sense,” said the rector.

Here are some of the projects and events that this network has promoted:

  • Researcher Engagement Meeting - Co-creating the Future: Research-Intensive Universities in the Age of AI, Regional Alliances, and Knowledge Engagement
  • Early Career Researcher workshop, which aims to enhance international networking and encourages the development of interdisciplinary collaborative research.
  • Educational Innovation Symposium: Scoping the Future in Higher Education: Transition or Transformation?
  • Sustainable Micro-internships for students
  • Leaders of the Future Award for students
  • Real Impact on Society Award for students






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